human resources

Opinion: Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent Needs Re-invention

Photo by  Birgit Lengert  on  Unsplash

“It’s impossible to get better at hiring if you can’t tell whether the candidates you select become good employees. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. You must have a way to measure which employees are the best ones.

Why is that not getting through to companies? Surveyed employers say the main reason they don’t examine whether their practices lead to better hires is that measuring employee performance is difficult. Surely this is a prime example of making the perfect the enemy of the good, ” Peter Cappelli states in his article, “Your Approach to Hiring Is All Wrong” In the May June 2019 issue of the Harvard Business Review

His article covers a lot of ground on both the recruitment and retention fronts, that I see from the “other side of the table”, as we help job seekers strive for positions in these roles in their job search.

Its not uncommon to see the poorly prepared job descriptions that Cappelli describes, are designed to get more people in the funnel. Yet, its clear that the tools to screen massive numbers of resume are not yet sophisticated enough to tease out the most talented candidates for interviews.  “We don’t know whether any of these [new systems] actually lead to better hires, because few of them are validated against actual job performance.” Cappelli continues.

Cappelli states that there is more hiring at all levels than ever before and that “the root cause of most hiring, therefore, is drastically poor retention” He references LinkedIn data to support the notion  “that the most common reason employees consider a position elsewhere is career advancement—which is surely related to employers’ not promoting to fill vacancies”.

From my side of the table, limited interest in existing employee career development, grand but empty values statements holding up an unhealthy work culture, poor management skills, and workplace bullying are also profound and common complementary drivers of poor retention. A culture of “great bosses” would go a long way to fostering retention.

John Rampton describe it well in an INC Newsletter, “As much work as you try make your company attractive to talented people, the truth is employees might be leaving because of their bosses. In fact, research has shown people tend to quit their bosses, not companies. If you can cultivate an environment where employees feel rewarded and gratified, you'll already be ahead of a great deal of other bosses out there.”

Just imagine the impact on retention, if every employee’s work meant: a sense of engagement in what they are doing; mutually determined ongoing professional development; supervision designed to the help the employee be successful in achieving goals aligned with both the company’s aspirations and the employees long tern career plans; genuine interest in the employees life and well being, a culture of  connectedness, playfulness and humour without losing focus on the seriousness of the work that needs to be done… and along with a competitive salary and benefits.

Cappeli is right. We need to find better ways to mend our sometimes broken systems in recruiting and retaining  top talent.