Attracting and retaining people – Myths, magic or mayhem?

| October 15, 2018

It’s no secret, but it remains a mystery to many, why attracting and retaining the best people for your workplace can be such a time consuming, unrewarding chore.

I’m sure as business owners, departmental managers or Human Resource professionals, we’ve all been down the traditional path* of staff recruitment.

The traditional path generally looks something like this:

Recruitment process = ASF x BHM x 6 weeks x HTWO

This model represents:

ASF (A S**t Friday) – this is when your best employee comes in late Friday afternoon to tell you that he/she is leaving.

BHM (Bl**dy Hell Monday) – this is when you turn up on Monday morning faced with the prospect of having to go through the laborious process of finding and hiring another (really good) staff member – along with all the other important things you have to do.

The six or more weeks it takes you replace this person look something like: $ expenditure, Time wasted, Distracted from important tasks, decreased Productivity.

HTWO – When you’ve finally achieved your aim (and hired the new person) you ‘hope they work out’.

This traditional recruitment process mayhem is a recipe for undue stress, workplace disruption and distraction from the important goals and KPI’s of your business.

But there is hope … we need to dispel the myth that this is ‘just the way it is’. The magic is that it all pivots around a number of key concepts of ROI (Return on Investment).

In recruitment terms, you need to hire high ROI team members – people who represent a profitable trade, they bring more value to your organization than they cost.

Next, is the Success Factor – low turnover of high ROI team members – make it attractive for people to stay – retaining high ROI staff is critical.

Thirdly, re-allocate high ROI staff from unproductive tasks/areas to productive tasks/areas.

Fourthly, (some) turnover of staff is good (new ideas, new energy, new skills), too much (turnover) is a demonstration of an unhealthy environment in which people do not wish to remain.

Finally, do not attempt to select the perfect candidate for the position. First ‘select out’ those that you know cannot do the job then pick ‘the best from the rest’.

These key concepts, of course, require a thorough examination of the way in which you go about the process of attracting and retaining the best staff.

I will focus in this article on but a couple of these important issues.

The first being selection.

The first and most important point is to have a good pool of people to select from. The more applications you have for the position the more likely you are to hire the best of the bunch.

If you only have one or two applicants, the chance of making the best decision for your business is highly restricted. Remembering that the principle of effective selection is to ‘select out’ those candidates you know cannot do the job.

Now, of course, your job description will shine a guiding light on the qualities you are looking for in the best candidate, but following the SHIFT formula* will also help:

S – Smart (quality track record, skills & competencies, open to training, reliability)
H – Hard Working (refer to progress made in CV)
I – Good Interpersonal skills
F – Fit (Person to the position to environment) – personality profiling will help
T – Tenure (Leopards don’t change their spots – if they have turned over lots of jobs in the past there is a reason.

Remember that it is also important to avoid replicating yourself. As a practitioner for over twenty years of MBTI TYPE personality profiling, I have seen many circumstances where the manager or HR professional ‘likes’ a candidate because they demonstrate the same personality characteristics as themselves.

What happens, over the long-term, is that the team becomes centric around the personality type of the manager. This ultimately is dysfunctional as it negates diversity and fosters groupthink.

It goes without saying that you have at your disposal many selection tools to assist with best practice. These include, selection criteria, reference checks, social media, resume, interview questions (that probe for good values) and personality profiling, to name a few.

Having gone to all the trouble, time and expense to recruit and select this new person, you now need to ask yourself a number of important questions:

What are we currently doing to encourage high ROI staff to stay with us?

What are we currently doing to develop the skills and competencies and qualifications of our high ROI staff?

Do we really know what the career aspirations of our high ROI staff are? If yes, how did we find out? If no, how can we find out?

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Stephen Chong

Stephen Chong is a personal development coach, speaker and author. He focuses on the essential envisioning and goal-setting skills that bring out the best in executives, managers and staff in the modern workplace.