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  • Nicky Webster-Hart

How can you retain your talent?

Ask any CFO/FD and they will tell you how important talent retention is. The cost of repeat hires, onboarding, training and recruitment fees can often be one of the biggest costs for a business, never mind the disruption to teams, time lost on projects. With a candidate led marketplace and an estimated 1million plus vacancies in the UK, how can you retain your talent?

Recruit effectively

Be very specific in what you are looking for in terms of skills, experience and qualifications. Understand where the gaps are in your organisation and make sure succession planning is covered. Always consider the big picture - can this new hire grow into another role further along, is there a career pathway or are you looking for someone who has this role as their career and needs in-depth experience? Identify what your organisation needs, both now and in the future.

Partner with a good recruiter who understands the sector/function

Recruitment is costly in-house. There are advertising costs, time spent to sift through all manner of CVs and applications, remove the many irrelevant applications and then the time it takes to spot that talent within the application. If you are going out direct to the market to source your talent, you'll need to factor in the time to do this, and then manage the initial interviewing/screening of each potential, whilst trying to gauge that all important candidate fit to culture. Then there is the proper management of candidate data and ensuring that you are doing it in a compliant manner. All of this is time consuming and costly. Partner with a specialist recruiter, who has experience and knowledge of the specific sector you work in, or the business unit you are recruiting for and they will already have access to talented candidates. They will add value to your recruitment process, acting as the key communicator, an extension of your department and represent your brand effectively, whilst keeping the candidates engaged. They will know which candidates are seriously looking for their next opportunity and who is window shopping, meaning that they'll save you time and money spent chasing time wasters and candidates who are likely to ghost you.

Make sure your candidate matches the culture of the team

This is important, it is not all about skills and experience - talent and potential are key; skills can be taught. Experience may matter but to identify those candidates most likely to stay with you, it is about personality fit. You could have the best candidate on paper but it doesn't tell you what they are actually capable of (did they write their CV, or did someone else do it for them) and most important of all, do they fit with your culture and ethos? Are you party people and like to socialise - an introvert who doesn't like to go out won't fit in well, regardless of how good they are. Do you have an expectation that everyone is in the office? What is your offer on flexibility and work life balance? Where do you expect your employees to work, what sorts of hours and what about annual leave? Are you a stakeholder business, with interconnected teams and a number of people to please, or is the business structure pretty flat. Is the culture reflective and calm or high-paced role and very changeable. Take some time to identify the type of candidate personality that will thrive at your business, this will help you find the best candidate match and support your talent retention rate too.

Make sure you are paying the market rate

This is particularly relevant as recruiters are seeing businesses who want the best hires but are not prepared to pay the best salaries. One of the biggest reasons for not retaining talent is underpaying staff. Know what the market rate is for your team, go out to market regularly for salary research and pay them at least the market rate (and if they are really good, overpay). If the culture of the business fits and they are slightly overpaid for a role, there is very little reason for them to leave. (For example, if their market salary is £50k, the cost to recruit a replacement will be £10K - £15K (although with Auxeris you would only pay £7.5k) plus the time loss and inconvenience of training and onboarding new talent, it makes financial sense to overpay your team with a salary of no less than £50k and even as much as £55k).

Ensure you have a good onboarding process: First impressions count

Your talent is the right cultural fit, you pay the market rate (or a little higher) so you need that first experience with your organisation during your onboarding/training process to leave a lasting positive impression. Want to fix your talent retention rate? One of the biggest fail rates of employees, particularly executive hires in the first six months of any role is due to onboarding. If you don't continue to make the effort to communicate with your future employee, help them to bed into the company, get to know all of the nuances and get them settled, you are at risk of them leaving before the year is up. Your onboarding process should begin as soon as the candidate has accepted offer. Take time to perfect your onboarding process, ask for feedback and make sure that it reflects your organisation and is overall a positive experience. We all learn and process information in different ways so allow flexibility and time, particularly if you have hired for potential, you need to deliver training that meets their learning needs. Have them meet with their future team and colleagues, keep them updated with company newsletters and emails. Invite them to a social event to help them to get to know people quicker and assign them with a mentor in the business.

Make sure you deliver on your promises - nail your EVP

Talented people leave jobs because it isn’t what was promised. Don't over promise and underdeliver. If you stated a job was four days a week in the office, do't expect your new employee to be happy to receive an email with no warning that they now have to work in the office five days a week. They will be applying for new opportunities before close of business. And in a candidate driven market with so many opportunities available to them, they do have plenty of options to consider. Failing to deliver can also result in those new hires leaving and you may get bad reviews on sites such as Glassdoor and be tarnished with a bad reputation. Provide realistic and obtainable goals and rewards, make sure what was offered can still be achieved and see if you make it better. Tempting as it may be, do not promise something that you cannot or it’s unlikely you can ultimately deliver. If you have to retract a perk or promise, make sure it is for a great reason and that you have considered the potential fall out. They haven't called it "The Great Resignation" for no reason. You need to focus on your EVP (employee value proposition) and identify what it is that employees want.

Make sure you provide support and wellbeing for your hires

Not everyone works, learns and operates the same way and remember someone from a different background may need support to feel included. It’s good to ask new hires what you can do to support them as they transition into your organisation. Looking after your team should always be a priority and is key to talent retention - what more can you do? Is one day a week WFH and cakes on your birthday really enough? Revisit your D&I policies or better still, bring in an expert to help you make sure you are an inclusive workplace. Overhaul your recruitment processes to remove any bias in place. The more inclusive a business, the higher the talent retention. Talent boost the bottom line and future proofs your business.

Trust your employees

It's the best way to drive employee engagement. Trust your team - if you trust them enough to employ them then trust them enough to do their job without micro-managing. If one thing COVID has taught us is that employees can do their job remotely and with little management if they are trusted and supported. Benefits such as work from anywhere, flexible hours, unlimited annual leave, work abroad, are great levers to further drive trust and employee engagement which in turn, leads to great talent retention. When you understand where your employees do their best work, allow them to go ahead and do it. You will have a more productive team and better results as the outcome.

Personal development/career progression

Reward and recognition are powerful tools and let’s face it, we all like to be recognised for the hard work we do and rewarded appropriately. Whether it is a simple ‘thank you’, a ‘shout out’ on LinkedIn or perhaps a promotion or pay rise, these are all positive factors in a workplace. Personal development should not be overlooked either, ask if there is a course which your team member may want to take which they feel would benefit their role or their personal development? Is there a part of the business they would like to work in, or a team they would like to work with? Can they shadow another part of the business and learn the skills. Identify what talent you have within your business and what their future might be. Talent mobility is a great way to identify future potential and to move people around into other roles in the business. It is also a good way to retain your staff.

We Grow With You

Putting all these factors together gives you the best tools to retain talent. We’re Auxeris recruitment, powered by recruitment specialists who are experts in their area. We'll partner with you on your recruitment needs. We can help you shape your recruitment practises, identify the ideal talent and culture fit for your business and all for a lower fee at 15%. agency. Find out more about us and get in touch today to see how we can help.

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