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Four tips to help clients retain staff

Hiring new staff can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, not to mention the investment of time and money which goes into training them. So the last thing employers want is for their staff to leave.

This raises two questions for the recruitment sector: how can we make sure our clients have reasonable expectations of the candidates we send them and; how can we support them in getting their staff to stay?

We take a look at four steps we believe we as recruiters should be communicating with our clients to help them with the recruitment process and subsequent successful employment of the right candidate.

What makes someone a good fit?

It may sound self-explanatory, but the key to retaining staff is ensuring positions are filled by the right candidates at the outset.

Some of the questions we as recruiters should be asking about candidates during the recruitment process include:

  • Are they right for the culture of the company you are recruiting for?

  • Is the candidate likely to be offended by the behaviour or attitude staff members or workplace practices of the employer?

  • Does the candidate share the values of the organisation?

For example, in a workplace where staff regularly swear, someone offended by swearing simply will not fit in with the culture, regardless of how good they are at their job. It is these details which may seem unimportant at the interview stage, which will determine how likely a candidate will work with other staff.

This means recruiters need to understand the culture of a workplace before they put candidates forward. You cannot expect them to change who they are for an employee.

How well do you know your candidates?

During the recruitment process, it can be easy to focus on your client’s list of what technical skills and experience they want from candidates while disregarding who they are as an individual.

We have already talked about staff being the right cultural fit. This can include someone being analytically minded rather than being a creative thinker, or someone needing flexible working hours to be able to do the role.

I have found that psychological assessment techniques can be invaluable in determining which staff would thrive in particular workplace environments. Psychological assessments look at, among other characteristics:

  • Cognitive ability

  • Personality

  • Work style

  • Motivations

  • Values

Identifying these things makes it easier to recruit people who are going to fit in with your client’s team and thrive in their working environment.

Are they being offered the job they want?

So you have a shortlist of candidates for a position. The question now is what is your client offering them that will be enough to entice them to join their organization?

At Davidson, when candidates register with us, we ask them a series of questions – known as the 11 Factors – to discern what they are looking for in a role and working environment.

We start with questions about the role itself and whether this is the kind of work they actually want to be doing. Will they be happy performing the required tasks? Will it provide them with sufficient opportunities for growth and carer progression? Is the work-life balance they are seeking likely to be found in this role?

Then we delve deeper asking candidates about their expectations from the workplace culture and team.

As recruiters, we know the days when candidates accepted a job simply because the pay was higher than anywhere else are long gone. Flexible working conditions, work-life balance, job satisfaction, room for career development are all strong factors in a candidate’s decision to accept a position.

My experience has shown me that maintaining a positive company culture and ensuring recruits like the work, the team, the products and the ethos of the company is essential to building a successful workforce. Do your clients know this?

What makes a client an attractive employer?

Clients wanting to attract the best talent need to understand that all the promises in the world don’t mean a thing to a new employee. Actions always speak louder than words.

It is critical that clients understand they need to walk the walk. If they promise flexible working conditions, they need to offer flexible working conditions to keep that employee.

I find it helps to think about a client’s company from a staff member’s point of view. What makes them attractive as an employer? What do they offer that makes people want to work for them and keeps them happy in their jobs?

Do they offer conditions that make working life easier, such as:

  • Subsidised childcare

  • Flexi-hours

  • Free gym membership

  • Discretionary bonuses

  • Days off for birthdays

A client would do well to be clear about what they have to offer as an employer. Compiling a list of their best qualities as employers will help to make them a much more attractive and long-lasting prospect for candidates.

If you’re serious about attracting and retaining the best people for your clients, a lot of the success will be down to how honestly and openly you can communicate with them.

By taking the time to identify the right people for your client, and encouraging clients to be open in their thinking about what they want from their workforce, you are setting them up for success. This can only be a good thing for your client, the candidate and your recruitment agency’s reputation.

Tom Hitchcock is Practice Leader, Projects & Operations at Davidson and a member of RCSA.

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