Imagine this scenario – You are experiencing growth within your team and need to recruit. You post a new vacancy on social media, share it within a few groups and contact a couple of recruiters to widen your options. You start receiving the first applications and you invite and interview a number of applicants. You make an offer to the best one and after some negotiation you get the candidate’s approval. You prepare the welcome pack and make sure that on the first day of your new recruit, you block a couple of hours on your calendar so that you give the necessary attention to the newcomer and possibly post a photo on the company’s social media page.
So far so good, but then what? Majority of the clients I work with are great in following the above processes, but often stop there. I notice that some of them think that recruitment stops there. It’s like the main goal has been achieved, the right person has been recruited, the branded welcome pack has been handed out, the photo has been posted on social media and added to “The Team” section, so no need to do anything else.
A common issue which is raised by candidates I interview weekly who are seeking alternate employment boils down to internal communication, or the lack of it. There tends to be a trend in these cases – after the first couple of months (sometimes even weeks), when the honeymoon period is over, they are left on their own, having to figure out what the previous person in their role did or how they used to work, because at times not even a proper handover is given and no one else knows anything about those tasks. Other times they are even expected to have some sort of supernatural powers whereby they are expected to do the work of two in view of “cost-cutting strategies” – and that’s when they realise they are actually replacing two people who left and not one.
One might find it easy to blame employees when such issues are raised at an exit interview or set targets are not achieved. But as they say – it takes two to tango. It is useless promoting an open-door policy when you are not seen as an approachable manager by the team reporting to you. It is unreasonable to introduce lucrative bonuses at the end of the year to instigate your team to work harder, but then fail to pay out despite targets have been reached. So why do employees leave or start seeking alternate jobs just after a year of employment? What makes an employee who initially chased that same job a year ago, seek alternate options?
What can be improved?
Constant communication with your employees is usually the easiest, cheapest and most effective solution in such instances. Keeping a good professional relationship with your team is one of the best proven retention tools available. Like any other relationship, both parties need to invest their time in it to make it work. Problems usually start to arise when one part feels they are investing more than the other part, when a number of promises are constantly not being kept, or when the feeling of being valued, recognised and respected by your own employer fades away. Employers want results but employees need to feel part of something, they need to know that their efforts are being appreciated and that their career is progressing rather than regressing.
Up till a few years ago, an annual individual catch-up was enough to evaluate the end of year results and discuss the plans for the upcoming year. Things are changing and business models with an old mindset that says “We’ve always done it this way, so why not continue this way” will fail. If these business models do not change their approach towards their employees, their employees will.
An important figure of the 20th century once said “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” (Einstein). If you’re not changing, you’re not growing.