Hire, Train, and Retain- How to Attract and Keep Top Talent

by Aug 6, 2018

So, you have yet another job posting on Indeed for yet another open position. The last employee barely made it to a year and you are wondering… What is it that you are doing wrong? What is it about your company that keeps employees from staying?   The truth is, it isn’t you. Well, it isn’t just you. In this highly competitive work environment, companies all over are trying to identify ways to attract, train and most importantly retain the talent they bring on. After all, you have spent a great deal of time and money bringing in these new hires. Turnover costs can vary significantly and encompasses many factors such as job, location, pay levels and more. According to the Center of American Progress, cost of turnover can range anywhere from 16% – 22% for jobs paying less than 75k a year. This includes the cost of advertising, screening, hiring a new employee, onboarding, management time, training, lost productivity, lost engagement, customer service errors and cultural impact.  Yet, there appear to be those companies that seem to have this hiring and retention thing down to a science. How exactly are they doing this? Well, it comes down to having a system that not only works but can be duplicated. With a focus on effective hiring and training, retention no longer becomes a problem. So, let’s dive right in.   Hiring:   To oversimplify things, hiring is the practice of finding, evaluating, and establishing a working relationship with future employees, interns, contractors or consultants to solve a problem. With a specific problem in mind to solve, there should be specific results and a proven ability by the applicant to solve those problems. Knowing this, however, many employers fail to be specific enough. Yes, I said specific enough! Having very broad job postings, requiring many years of experience – even degrees for which the positions do not require – takes away from finding potential applicants with the skills, both hard and soft, that is needed. Create a system for how applicants will pass or fail the interviews. Now that may seem hard, but it doesn’t have to be. The reality is not every applicant will be a good fit for your organization, and your organization will not fit every job seeker. The best thing for both parties is to identify that early and often. By having a systemized approach to moving forward in the interview process, various company representatives can administer the interviews, you reduce chances of favoritism, and more importantly, you hire for what you need rather than how you feel at that time. Once you’ve made an offer to the ideal candidate, you must have an onboarding process. For many small businesses, this is an oversight. Frankly, many are hiring because they needed employees like yesterday. There is no structure to the process…new hire documents are outdated, and the employee manual from years ago has the old company logo. I get it, there is no time and we need these positions filled now. Remember, your company is a reflection of you, and your people are a reflection of your company. You want to create an internal culture that invites job seekers to want to apply to be part of your team. Be the employer of choice in your industry! By creating an onboarding process that not only shows employees they’ve made the right choice, but makes them feel it as well, you validate their decision, and provide them with the necessary tools to hit the ground running. Here’s a quick recap!
  1. Be specific in your job posting: What skills (hard and soft) are needed to be effective in this role?
  2. Talk about the role and the culture of the organization: Are you energetic, fast-paced or more relaxed and friendly?
  3. Create a systematized approach to passing and failing the interview: Not only does this tremendously reduce waste and time, you increase the likelihood of job satisfaction for the employee and ROI for the business.
  4. Have a structured onboarding process: A systemized onboarding process allows the employee to get a feel for the culture and quickly get things into high gear.

The reality is not every applicant will be a good fit for your organization, and your organization will not fit every job seeker.

Training:   What do you want out of training for your employees? Honestly, take a minute and think about it. I’ll wait… If you don’t know it’s okay for now, however, it can be detrimental to your training process (or lack thereof). Let’s first differentiate between training and development. According to SOLS Training is any learning activity focused on acquiring specific knowledge for skills required for a job or task. Development, on the other hand, is the continued expansion of skills, knowledge, and abilities aimed at long-term growth and career advancement. So, going back to your goal. What is it that you want your new hire or employee to learn in order to do his/her job effectively? How will it contribute to the organization? We know that 70% of employees believe training could help them become more focused on the job and that’s what we want (Udemy). Having a plan and identifying the business impact of your training is step numero uno! With the company’s goal in mind, and the employees at its aid to reach them, be keenly aware of what you want that contribution to be. Not all employees will come into the organization with the same skill set. Therefore, identifying the skills gap – where the employee is and the desired level – you can more clearly define your objectives. Layer your training: Having a layered approach ensures that you are covering all bases. Having the aim of the employee, customers, and business in mind while also focusing on the right skill-set and employees at the right time. In addition to teaching various skills at varying times, integrate technology! There are a vast number of technological resources at your disposal to teach and train your employees, so use them. Evaluate: How do you know if your training is truly effective if you don’t analyze the results? Review your measurable objectives and the result of the employees: Have they met their goals? Where did they fall short? What worked well? Take the time to assess the impact that training has on the organization, the culture, and the employee themselves. People like to feel like they are contributing to something greater than themselves, while also growing as a result. If the employees feel good about what they are learning and doing, the impact to the organization will be greater.

Evaluate!                              Evaluate!                                  Evaluate!

Retention:     You’ve hired, trained, and now you want to retain this talent you have worked to develop. You did not work this hard to continuously see great talent walk out of the door! We’ve talked about culture, and I cannot stress it enough. While we want to attract, train and retain good employees, let’s talk about bad ones for a second. We all know the saying a rotten apple spoils the barrel. In the workplace, it is no different! One bad employee can be cancerous and create a toxic work environment for other employees and the company. Identify the bad apples and work to correct the behavior immediately. In some cases, removal of the employee altogether may be necessary. Now, that we have that out the way, let’s move to keeping the good apples. Understand that humans inherently want to feel good. We feel good by contributing and helping others. I know it may not always seem that way, right? But it’s true. One way to better retain your talent is to help create projects where their efforts are going towards a great mission. Even greater than the mission of the company. Let’s say you are a non-profit that feeds the homeless. Your staff is more likely to see the direct impact of their efforts and the population that the non-profit serves – and studies show that 93% of nonprofit employees are engaged at work (Work for Good). However, a receptionist in a payroll company may not immediately see the impact of the work she does, and that of the product the company provides. To better reflect this, ask clients for testimonials. The company can also fundraise or offer the employees the chance to volunteer as a company with a local charity. All these efforts show that the company works as a collective to achieve a common goal! Education and tuition reimbursement are another retention tool. Create a tuition reimbursement program or offer certification credits for continuing education courses. This shows your employees that while they are working in your company and helping the company to achieve its goals and grow, the company also wants them to achieve their individual goals and grow as well! In addition, well thought out benefits package not only helps to attract but also retain top talent. According to a Glassdoor Survey, 4 in 5 employees want benefits or perks more than a pay raise. When considering an employment offer, applicants will look carefully at the benefits package, including but also beyond health coverage. The benefits can range from the following:
  • Health insurance
  • Paid vacation
  • Employee discounts
  • Gym membership/wellness programs
  • Diversity programs
  • Flexible schedules
  • Tuition reimbursement
While every company is unique, creating a benefits plan and offering perks to your employees significantly impacts that retention rate. Bringing it all together:   Ready to add rock-star employees to your team? Ensuring you’re optimizing every part of your new employee process – from hiring to training to retaining – will make the process easier for everyone involved and develop more loyalty from those you bring on board. Be specific in your job postings – what is the problem you want this person to solve? Have a systemized interview process that everyone is comfortable with so you can move through the process quickly and efficiently. Once an offer is accepted, have a developed onboarding process to get new employees established within the organization, and continue to train them. Finally, retention is all about employees feeling appreciated, accepted, and challenged – so create a benefits package that keeps them engaged and happy at work. Now that job posting you have seems more like a great opportunity than a drag, doesn’t it? Keep these key things in mind, and you will absolutely enjoy the process of growing your team.

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Stephanie Fortune

Stephanie Fortune

President - Fortune Business Consulting

Hi, My name is Stephanie Fortune! I am passionate about helping small and medium-sized businesses empower themselves and their employees while working to achieve their strategic goals! By reviewing your unique business needs, we implement HR, Commercial insurance and payroll solutions that are right for you!