3 Ways to Hire and 3 Ways to Retain the Best Employees


3 Ways to Hire and 3 Ways to Retain the Best Employees

By Bruna Martinuzzi, American Express, Entrepreneur

Hiring and retaining talented employees is an essential part of any company’s growth and profitability. Even so, it’s safe to say that many companies don’t know where to find such talent, how to get them to join their companies and how to keep them from leaving.

Competition for the best in any field is fierce. Check out these ideas to help you bring on board and retain the stars you need for the success of your business.

The Hiring Process: Do It Right

1. Leverage the power of diversity.

Diversity hiring is a rising trend in recruitment. A diverse workforce can help lead to stronger financial performance and greater innovation. What’s more, employee diversity is more reflective of the wide range of diversity in the customer demographic. So, a diverse workforce may strengthen customer relations and help retain customers.

While diversity recruitment may focus primarily on gender and racial or ethnic talent, diversity also includes sexual orientation, gender identity and potential untapped talent among the disabled and veteran population. Let’s also not forget age diversity, which can be of valuable help with the baby boomer customer population. Smart companies widen the net to capture the hidden talent in the wide diversity of candidates.

To catch the best in the large pool of diversity, consider using recruitment services such as ZipRecruiter, a U.S.-based online employment marketplace that uses AI to connect employers to job candidates with the right skills and/or experience in a matter of hours.

2. Take advantage of social media as a recruitment tool.

To get more exposure to the largest number of top talent, consider going where they are. Many people have more than one social media account, but it can be time-consuming to post jobs on each of the social media outlets.

A few companies make this process seamless through their social media network integration.

ZipRecruiter, for example, provides an extension which allows employers to automatically distribute job postings to Facebook and LinkedIn users, right from their account.

3. Manage first impressions.

First impressions are key in any encounter, whether it’s personal or professional. The same applies to interviews. A 2016 survey of 1,031 U.S. office-based employees conducted by software company Mattersight Corporation explored the role that first impressions play in the hiring process. The study reports that 80 percent of respondents said that, all things being equal, they would choose one job over another based on the personal connections formed during the interview process.

You may lose the opportunity to bring on board a top performer by not carefully selecting who does the initial screening. In busy companies, the first screening contact may be the job of a junior level employee in HR. The person may go through rote questions and not have the depth of experience to manage the personal and emotional aspects of the interaction. Choose carefully among your interviewing staff to select the persons who know how to create rapport. These are the team members who are most likely to start building an emotional bridge to connect with desired candidates during the interview process.

The Retention Process: Keep Doing It Right

1. Provide employees with opportunities to gain new experiences.

Highly talented employees became that way by honing their talents and keeping their skills up- to-date. These A-players look for new experiences and challenges to grow their skills and to build excellence. They certainly didn’t become highly talented by staying stagnant.

So, if you snagged one of these top performers, it may be essential to give them greater opportunities to grow within your company rather than see them leave for greater opportunities outside the company.

There are many ways to do this, through on-the-job education, exposure to up-to-date technology, external education opportunities, working on different task forces or projects that help expand their skills, secondment to other departments within the company, promotions, continuing exposure to great challenges, and coaching and mentoring.

It also means making it easy and open for top performers to network with the general managers and higher-ups in the organization and not be hemmed in by line managers.

2. Allow flexibility in their work schedule.

The way we used to work, burning the candle at both ends, may no longer be attractive to most employees today. For one thing, the ever-increasing number of millennials entering the workforce may resist a workaholic culture.

To retain your best employees, pay attention to work/life balance issues. Flexibility can be a game changer. Instead of a rigid, conventional work schedule, wherever it’s feasible, allow employees to work remotely, from home. You can also offer flexible hours, part-time work or contract-, project-based work.

Being flexible can help your most valued employees improve their well-being and enjoy their work and personal lifestyle. This may well be a sure-fire recipe for employee retention.

3. Show your appreciation for talent.

You may view top players as people who are intrinsically motivated and don’t need praise. Thinking along those lines may result in your top guns feeling unappreciated over the long run and looking elsewhere.

While glib, perfunctory praise may not work well with this group (or any group, for that matter), thoughtful appreciation can go a long way in letting these employees know how valued they are and how you care about continuing to have them on your team.

One way to do this is, for example, is to focus on an aspect of their contributions that was particularly helpful and comment on it by asking them questions on their thinking process and on what sparked their ideas. This intellectual curiosity about their talents and approaches helps cement relationships and can provide motivating fuel for a long time.

Employees today have many options. To be successful and beat the competition in attracting the most qualified candidates, businesses need to keep up with the rapidly evolving recruitment solutions. Retention practices also need to be spruced up. Chances are your competitors may already be doing this. Don’t be left behind.

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