Small Changes and Large Rewards in Recruitment

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By Jane Terepocki, CHRP

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.” —Lawrence Bossidy, former COO of General Electric

Without a doubt, HR professionals sincerely desire to bring the best they can to their organizations. We are at our core “people persons” and hold multiple keys to unlocking organizational people potential, with recruitment being first on the ring.

Recruitment is vital, as hiring the right or wrong people can make or break any organization. No matter the past successes and ongoing challenges, every organization can elevate their recruitment processes. Some things are simple and others more complex. However, small changes can reap big rewards.

Core Costs of Poor Hires
Studies from PRNews Online show that a full 45 per cent of new hires are only fair to marginal performers, and that is a costly figure. The cost of a minimum wage bad hire alone, according to the Harris Poll, is cited to be $4,500—with costs running anywhere from 20 per cent to 200 per cent including:

  • loss of productivity;
  • lost time and cost to recruit and train another employee,
  • negative impact on employee morale; and
  • negative impact on client solutions.

While studying information from exit interviews may reveal areas of improvement within the organization to help, there are obvious advantages to finding solutions at an earlier stage.

Thinking Outside the Box
Higher pay may pay off. The Container Store pays employees 50 to 100 per cent more than other retailers, and hires three per cent of all who apply; their foundation principles of “one = three” has shown them that you “get what you pay for.” Their logic is simple—by choosing the best candidate, they get three times the productivity of a good employee, thus affording the ability to extensively train, develop and empower them.

See Both Sides of The Story
Walking the talk and talking the walk is another point of focus—particularly in our social media driven age. Do you know what your employees feel about your company outside of the company run surveys? It’s important to know, because these days, any prospective employee certainly does; a quick search of the Internet can show the prospective employee the pros and cons of working for your company.

Sites such glassdoor.com provide comments from current and former employees, while also ranking companies and often providing information about CEOs or other senior managers. Whether or not this information aligns with the organization’s stated vision and mission statement (i.e. your story), most certainly impacts hiring potentials. Regardless of calibre and credibility, there will always be disgruntled employees, but if the overall information is consistently negative—low wages, bad management—you may have a problem attracting “star” employees.

Hone Your Language for Impact
Following up on the impact of narrative, ask yourself if the titles and descriptions of the roles you seek to fill are working for you as well as they might? As is known by those in HR profession, many organizations opt for titles other than human resources, ranging from human capital to people potential at LuluLemon. Prospective employees who are looking for somewhere forward thinking to work will search the wording in your website and job descriptions.

Do your titles and job-posting language reflect the reality of the day-to-day workplace? Does this carry over into every aspect of your organization’s presentation online and in life? A look at Google’s website shows the following—you can be serious without a suit, you can make money without being evil, and you don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer. These few encapsulated beliefs deliver a strong message—the company vibe is relaxed, the bar for results is high, and only “star” candidates need bother applying.

Onboarding for the Long Game
You have hired your star employee what is next? How robust is your onboarding program? In short, onboarding, not to be confused with orientation, is the period during which a new hire can be expected to become fully proficient in their new position. A survey of sales professionals found that it takes new sales people eight to 12 months (or more) to gain proficiency comparable to their tenured —yet employers spend less than two months onboarding those new employees.

The employers who experienced the greatest satisfaction with their onboarding programs used programs two times longer than the average company and these programs were comprehensive and highly structured. While these programs can be complex and take time to develop the following ideas are simple to implement and have long lasting effects:

  • Create a checklist to ensure the new has everything they need, including a computer, a desk and a working phone when they arrive;
  • Genuinely welcome them—prepare a welcome package and take them out for lunch on the first day;
  • Assign a “buddy” from another department to help them integrate into office life faster while introducing them to different facets of the organization; and
  • Align hiring with a strong value on values—people who have colleagues with similar values at work tend to be happier, work harder and stay longer.

The value of the latter is indisputable. As per a former employee, “It was one of those things where I told people I only planned to be there for one year, but the culture, the team, and being surrounded by intelligent, ambitious people kept me there for five years. “

Putting People Power First
Once the HR recruiter has correct hiring processes in place, well-designed orientation plans and a strong competitive pay structure the stage is set for developing the employee. However, from the CEO to the C-suite to the frontline managers, it is vital they understand what HR has always known – that the power to lift their company above the competition lies in their people.

Jane Terepocki, BA, CHRP is an HR consultant specializing in the areas of recruitment and training.

(PeopleTalk Winter 2015)

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