The Road to Retention: Hiring Right
When a new employee doesn’t work out, it’s tempting to conclude the individual lacked certain qualities necessary for success in the position. However, it may surprise you to learn that Robert Half International research has found most top executives blame themselves - or, to be more specific, their hiring procedures - when a new hire leaves the firm.
Indeed, an excellent way to manage turnover is to re-evaluate your company’s hiring practices and policies to ensure the payroll professionals you bring on board are well suited for success within your organization. Following are some guidelines:
Avoid overhiring. Many companies hire too soon, only to face layoffs when workloads ease. When a vacancy occurs, suppress the urge to fill it immediately. Instead, evaluate workloads to determine if you need to hire a replacement, outsource the function or distribute duties among remaining staff. Using temporary professionals allows you to address immediate workload issues while evaluating your department’s ongoing needs.
Identify the necessary technical and personal skills. For each position, create a job description that includes core competencies and duties. The skills you’re seeking may have changed dramatically from those the last person in the job possessed. Also contemplate what “soft” skills a person needs to excel in the position. Perhaps you require someone who is at ease with constantly changing priorities and works effectively in a charged, interactive atmosphere. You may interview a payroll clerk who exceeds all of your technical needs, for example, but who works best in a quiet, deliberate work environment. Will this person excel in your company’s boisterous atmosphere?
Be realistic. Overstating the responsibilities of a particular job may convince a desirable candidate to accept it, but the employee isn’t likely to stay long if the projects are not what he or she was promised. It’s best to be candid about the firm, the position and the opportunities, both short and long term.
Ask your employees. Studies show individuals hired on the recommendation of someone already with the company have a high rate of retention. Current employees know your company and are unlikely to risk their reputations by suggesting someone who isn’t a good fit. You may also consider offering bonuses to encourage your staff members to submit referrals.
Rehire a former employee. The advantage of rehiring former personnel who left under favorable circumstances is that you know exactly what level of work to expect and that they fit well within your company’s work environment. So, as much as possible, remain in contact with ex-staff members and take opportunities to interact with them at industry events or when traveling for business. Some larger firms even establish or support alumni groups, through which former employees can maintain strong ties to the company.
Make compensation competitive. To attract talented professionals, your company’s salaries, raises and benefits should match or exceed industry standards. Other effective recruitment tools include stock options, profit sharing and equity incentives that make your employees stakeholders in the firm’s success.
Provide progressive extras. Consider offering nontraditional benefits and perks that address employee’s concerns regarding quality-of-life issues. Programs such as flexible work schedules, telecommuting, educational assistance, parental leave and additional vacation time can help you attract and retain the best people.
Start off on the right foot. Make sure newly hired employees are fully aware of their duties, as well as the company’s organizational structure, goals and long-term objectives. You may want to pair the individual with a seasoned employee who can provide insight on everything from the company culture to helpful contacts in other departments. Continually evaluating your firm’s orientation program by soliciting feedback from those who have gone through it will ensure the process remains an effective way to help staff hit the ground running.