National career search and talent acquisition expert Chris Czarnik offers his insight into best practices in employee retention and recruitment, as first explored in his session at this summer’s AEM’s Second Annual Workforce Solutions Virtual Summit
There are 9-1/2 million less people in Generation X – Americans born between the mid-1960s and the early-1980s – than in the Baby Boomer Generation – Americans born between 1946 and 1964. Compounding the situation, there are some 10,000 to 15,000 Baby Boomers eligible to retire every single day in America.
“What that means is, in the next 8-1/2 years, there will not be enough breathing human beings in the U.S. country to fill all the jobs that will become available,” said Czarnik. “With the options jobseekers have, for the first time, there is a real equalization of opportunity and power between employers and the people who are looking for jobs with employers. Recruiting and retaining talent is going to be much more difficult.”
The cost of losing employees
Nowadays, the competition by companies to find great people and keep them “is extremely competitive and expensive,” observed Czarnik. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it costs between 25% to 35% of any employee’s annual wages to lose them and recruit a replacement.
He recommended companies “think about the employees you are trying to get just like the customers you are trying to get. You have to speak directly to them.”
To do that, personas – a clear idea of who your potential employees are – must be created, stressed Czarnik. To accomplish this, get sales and marketing people involved because “someone who is new to recruiting people based on creating a persona will find it overwhelming.”
Sales and marketing know how to do it, he explained. They are skilled at identifying the type of person who might buy from their company, and they tailor their sales message directly to those people, increasing the odds of selling to them.
Question to ask
Czarnik asserted that everything needed to know about how to recruit great people is “already in the people that work for your organization, but you have no idea how and why they came to your organization. Surveying them will provide a wealth of information.”
He advised asking the current best employees hired in the last 18 months such things as:
- Why did they come to your organization?
- What did they know about your organization before they found you?
- Why do they stay?
- What were their commonly held (but false) preconceived notions about your organization and industry?
- Why did they believe they could leave one industry and be successful in your company in a completely different industry?
Create job adds that generate attention
Do not try to get happy people to leave their job for more money, warned Czarnik. “The war for talent cannot be won with money.
“The people you are fighting for, especially 18- to 27-year-olds, are not necessarily in the job they want. They are in a job they could get. The focus should not be on people who are unemployed, but on people who are underemployed. Their skills, abilities and talents are not aligned at all with the kind of work they are being asked to do.”
Nowadays, job ads need to be “created to get people’s attention and let them know they can transfer from one industry to another,” continued Czarnik. “You have to invite people in.”
He advocated getting rid of the education and experience requirements in job ads because “this keeps people from applying.
“Because we need talent, you have to accept people from different industries who might have the mechanical aptitude or the ability to do the kind of work that you have. Job ads need to tell them that.”
Strategies to retain employees
Discussing retaining employees, Czarnik observed that many organizations worry about job openings, but they do not always spend enough time nurturing employees they have hired. With younger generations now switching jobs roughly every 3.5 years, it is critical to keep workers engaged and challenged to stop the cycle of reoccurring openings.
In addition, he highlighted some strategies for holding on to employees:
- Great retention starts with being much more particular about the person you bring into your organization.The military has a saying: “If you need it bad, you’ll get it bad.” Many companies, because they have such difficulty hiring people, are now considering people they would never considered several years ago.
- Make a concerted effort to improve manager-employee relationships within your organization.Nationally, the top reason people leave their jobs is a poor relationship with their direct supervisor or manager.
- Advise all supervisors and managers that every question that comes to them be answered not only with what they want the employee to do but why they want them to do it.Especially in the case of Millennials – people born in the 1980s or 1990s.
- If your company does not currently have a buddy system for new employees, establish one, counseled Czarnik. A buddy system is a great aid in onboarding new employees into the workplace.
Focus on the first 90 days
He proposed checking with new hires within the 30- to 60-day timeframe. Ask them what kind of work they do outside of work or what their hobbies are at the moment.
“This is a great way to realign people to a different type of job before you lose them out the door, as most employees will not tell you they are unhappy,” he continued. “They’ll just leave.”