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How to hire sticky employees

A couple of years ago, PwC conducted 19,000 exit interviews within their organisation and one of the questions they asked was; “What was your reason for leaving?”. The four most common answers were:

1. Limited career/promotion opportunities

2. Supervisor lacked respect/support

3. Compensation

4. Job duties boring/no challenge

These findings supported those of a Gallup poll, which looked at the views of employees from 44 organisations and discovered an almost identical top four reasons for employees voluntarily leaving.

Obviously, staff retention is a key function of a company’s HR department, but knowing the main reasons employees leave, there are steps that recruiters should be taking, to not only hire staff well, but to hire staff in a ‘sticky’ way, so they stay for the long term. This puts the recruiters in a strong position to demonstrate their meaningful contribution not just to staff attraction, but staff retention, raising their profile within the organisation they are working for.

HR professional, Kazim Ladimeji, director of the Career Cafe, lists the top four reasons for employees leaving and gives four corresponding actions that recruiters can take during the recruiting process, to help counteract those issues.

1. Limited career/promotion opportunities. Recruiters should check that the candidate’s career development and advancement expectations are closely aligned with what the organisation is able to offer. Can the company meet the career development needs of the candidate? If the answer is no, then this candidate may be a risky hiring prospect, who might be likely to leave prematurely.

2. Supervisor lacked/respect support. Recruiters should develop job descriptions with detailed manager profiles, so the employee can see their potential supervisor’s management style and team culture and see if it will be a good fit. Ensure that the candidate’s preferred style of being managed matches up with the manager’s preferred style of management, as a mismatch could result in an early voluntary exit by the employee.

3. Compensation. Recruiters should be concerned by candidates who are singularly focused on remuneration, because, if, as a subsequent employee, they become dissatisfied with their pay, the fact that they place more value on this than other offerings, such as culture, training and career development opportunities, means these other perks will not serve as retention devices. A ‘money fixated applicant’ will be much more vulnerable to premature departure than a candidate who holds other values dear.

4. Job duties boring/no challenge. Recruiters should obviously encourage line managers to produce comprehensive job descriptions that accurately reflect the duties, responsibilities, scope of the role, flexibility and key contacts, in order to provide an all-round feel of the role. It is a good idea to use Realistic Job Previews (RJPs); this is a process where you give the employee a view of both the positive and negative aspects of the job. The use of RJPs leaves the employee better able to cope with the stresses and strains, leading to improved job satisfaction.

Ladimeji believes today’s recruiters can add greater value to the organisations they work for, by placing an emphasis on hiring ‘sticky’ employees, who are selected to not only be good, but to actually stay for the longer-term and enable the employer to fully realise the investment they have made in the new recruit.

Nigel Phillips

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