High turnover rates can be extremely expensive for any business or organization, so having quality hires that are in it for the long haul can save you a lot of time, energy, and money.
So let’s look at four principles of building a high-quality team of employees who last.
Where to find the right candidates
Where does the search for top-quality long-term talent begin? We’ve already created a full article talking about this exact thing, so we’ll try to be brief here and not repeat ourselves too much. (If you want to read that full article, though, here’s a link.)
There’s a two-prong strategy that works really well: creating a robust and generous employee referral program (which encourages your employees to become unofficial recruiters) and providing networking opportunities, such as sending your employees to conferences (which gives those employees a place to practice their recruitment skills). On top of this, social media sites like LinkedIn can be great if you know how to maximize their effectiveness, and of course we’re firm believers in using staffing agencies to tap into talent pools.
There are a lot of great places to look for qualified candidates, and the best approach is to use them all in tandem.
How to assess candidates to identify the best ones
There are several things you’ll want to address when making an assessment about a candidate. There’s a great article on TalentLyft that lists four major factors to consider: skill level, experience, salary, and cultural fit.
So how do you assess candidates to learn more about these things? Firstly, inspecting their resume is a good place to start. There’s a great piece on how to analyze a stack of resumes from the University of Mary Washington (https://adminfinance.umw.edu/hr/employment-opportunities/best-practices/screening-applicants/how-to-evaluate-resumes-and-cvs/) so we won’t get too deep into it here. The resume is typically the first point of contact between an employer and a potential hire, so it’s the first place you’ll look to see if any candidate seems like a match.
In this phase, you’re mostly looking for skills and experience. Keep in mind that not all experience is relevant, and some candidates are better at selling their experience than others are. And some areas of expertise are better honed outside of your industry than within it. This means that someone with two years of experience in your industry (with additional years of experience outside it) might be better qualified than someone who has ten years of experience in your industry. Try to focus less on the numbers (years of experience, for example) and more at the substance of this experience. Not all experience is created equal.
Your next step will be the job interview, and the questions you ask here should be based on how confident you are that the person is a good fit. If you think you found the perfect candidate based on a great resume, the questions you ask should be designed to confirm that this person is indeed as perfect in reality as their resume makes them seem. If you have a lower level of confidence, you’ll need to ask some tougher questions. Sometimes, candidates who seem weak on their resume end up being phenomenal in person.
And this is where cultural fit comes in. How will this person mesh with your organization? Do their values align with those of your organization? If you’re unclear about what organizational culture is or why it matters, we created a resource that should be of great help.
Remember, you’re building a team here – no single employee is an island. One of the skills that people often miss is the skill to work well with the particular people you currently employ. A good cultural fit will fall into place like a puzzle piece, while a poor one will create problems for the team.
One last thing that shouldn’t be overlooked is that an overly stressful interview process can actually weed out the wrong people, so you need to take this into consideration when you’re trying to create a good interview strategy. The last thing you want is to create a process that rejects some of the best candidates based on irrelevant skills. Be careful.
How to handle the issue of compensation
We can’t stress enough that your compensation needs to be both reasonable and competitive. While offering a higher salary will increase your expenses, it could cost you even more to lose the perfect candidate to your competitors. If you’re in a particularly competitive industry and you have a great deal of competitors who are doing phenomenal work, you’re undoubtedly losing business to them. Hiring a great candidate at a generous salary will be better for your organization than hiring a mediocre candidate at a mediocre salary. That just makes sense, right?
Of course, one of the best ways to get ahead of this (and set the tone of that conversation as early as possible) is to simply list a salary range in the job description.
How to craft a positive onboarding experience
While you can breathe a bit easier once you’ve hired a great candidate, your work isn’t done. Now comes employee onboarding. The onboarding experience can shape an employee’s decision about whether they’ll be making this employment opportunity a long-term career or just a steppingstone in a much greater path.
A good onboarding experience should accomplish a lot of things. First, it should give the new employee a feel for the company’s mission statement and practices. Next, their training should feel robust while also leaving room for continued growth and learning in the future. Additionally, that person should feel like their voice matters in the organization. On this last point, we think that offering small-group sessions with company leadership is a great practice, so long as you make it feel like a welcoming party rather than an inquisition. Handling this the wrong way could have a new employee rushing home to update their resume.
If you want to know more about onboarding, we recommend this interview with James Silliman, Cofounder of Keystone Medical Group.
At every step outlined above, you need to treat potential hires as human beings rather than as company resources. A bad interview process can leave a sour taste in the mouth of an applicant, and if this becomes frequent, word will spread in your industry. Clumsily handled compensation conversations can be a bad experience, and stingy salary offers will show applicants that you care more about your bottom line than about your workers. An awkward onboarding process can turn even the most optimistic hire into a dour doubter.
It’s in your best interest to treat others with grace and compassion, even when those people are job applicants at your organization.