9 Ways to Acquire and Retain the Best Talent

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You need to hire and retain the best talent in your industry—but 64% of workers try to find a new job after spending less than two years at their current one!

This means you have to keep employee retention top of mind, and you must be prepared to hire new ones if your efforts fail. Because if you aren’t prepared, a quick fix replacement could cost your company 30% of that bad employee’s first-year earnings.

That can be a ton of pressure. So, we’ve put together a guide with nine ways to help you acquire and retain the best talent at your business.

PC: Breezy

5 Ways to Create a Healthy Work Environment to Prevent Job-Hopping

Aside from looking for new opportunities and growth, your employees will be more likely to job-hop if they have:

  • Dissatisfaction with compensation and/or benefits
  • A lack of recognition—especially when they exceed goals or expectations
  • Disagreements with management
  • Conflicts with company culture
  • Bad experiences with coworkers
  • Dysfunctional processes or systems

But these are all typically bigger picture issues, and not specific tasks you can quickly correct. So how can you flip the script to make sure your valuable employees want to stay?

1. Provide access to learning and training opportunities, such as mentorship connections, coaching programs, internal and external seminars and conferences, and more.

You can do this by allocating a certain amount of money per employee each year for a conference, or covering the cost of a professional workshop of their choice.

2. Recognize and reward your employees for their accomplishments, especially when they go above and beyond what’s asked of them.

These rewards could be anything from the professional development opportunities we discussed above, to things like:

  • Extra benefits
  • More days off or working remotely
  • Gift cards and free subscriptions
  • Team parties or free lunch

Related: 28 Ways to Reward (and Retain) Your Employees

3. Hold monthly one-on-one meetings where employees can freely ask questions and voice concerns. Take their feedback seriously, and follow up promptly with results when any research or investigation is required.

4. Conduct regular performance reviews with a focus on identifying internal candidates for transfers, promotions, and raises. 81% of employees say they prefer quarterly reviews over yearly to get more feedback on their performance.

5. Always be intent on bringing in the best hires who will fit in with your company’s culture. Because a bad one can be significantly more costly than leaving a position open—and it can dramatically change your office environment for the worse if the new employee causes trouble for the established ones.

The key to is to be intentional about building a team of employees who are self-motivated, aligned with your company goals, and who can adapt and grow as your business does.

9 Ways to Acquire and Retain the Best Talent

1. Offer competitive salary, benefits packages, and advancement opportunities.

Today’s workers are willing to jump jobs for better pay. Make sure your job postings are very clear about compensation, as well as what prospective employees can realistically expect in terms of advancement.

2. Optimize and maximize your employer branding.

Are you putting in the same amount of time and effort marketing your company as a great place to work as you are marketing your products and services?

Not only should your marketing team promote your salaries, benefits, and advancement opportunities, they should also promote any awards your company receives, like:

  • Mentions of your company on “Top Ten” lists
  • Positive media coverage
  • Philanthropic efforts
  • Corporate mission
  • Examples of your company culture in action

All of these opportunities will need to be things you instruct your marketing team to be on the lookout for.

You should also regularly review your company’s applicant and employee reviews on online job sites, and make sure that you’re addressing—and responding to—any negative feedback.

PC: Papirfly

3. Standardize your interview process.

Nearly 70% of companies cite a broken interview process as being the biggest reason for a bad hire, and companies lacking a standardized interview process are five times more likely to make a bad hire than companies that have one.

Your company can hire the wrong people when you:

  • Ask candidates empty questions that don’t gauge their ability to complete a task
  • Fail to properly communicate your company’s culture or job requirements
  • Do a poor job of evaluating interviews

Here’s a snapshot of what your interview process should look like:

1. All team members involved in the hiring process should know what will be covered in it’s different parts, which may include:

  • Screening 
  • First interview with a recruiter/hiring manager
  • Feedback
  • Peer interviews
  • Review
  • Final offer

Give each team member a candidate evaluation form to use during their portion of the process.

PC: Medium

2. Far too many interview questions are predictable, and don’t really help you know whether an applicant will succeed or fail at the job.

Instead, craft a blend of problem-solving tasks that will give good insight into an applicant’s skills, character, and personality by asking them to:

  • Consider situational-based scenarios
  • Collaborate on a small task
  • Adapt to different constraints and conditions that would appear in their role

Your problem-solving tasks also need to be the same for each candidate at each stage of each interview so you can accurately compare them.

For example, if you ask an entry-level communications candidate to edit a mock press release, you need to do the same with the other candidates. 

3. Not only should your interview questions be well-thought-out, but you should also consider what kinds of answers you’d like (and not like) to hear for each one.

For example, if you ask a candidate “where do you work best,” you may not want to consider candidates who answer “open spaces,” if you know your office doesn’t have any.

4. The more relaxed candidates are during their interviews, the more likely they are to act like themselves—which accurately helps you determine if they’re a good fit.

Spend a few minutes at the beginning of each interview letting the applicant open up via a little small talk or by asking the candidate some non-essential, lighthearted personal questions.

4. Take a hard look at soft skills.

Nearly 90% of HR professionals say that when a new hire doesn’t work out, a lack of soft skills is to blame. While it’s important to focus on a candidate’s hard skills and experience, 92% of those same professionals say that hard skills are less important than soft skills that can’t be traditional taught, like:

  • Communication
  • Leadership potential
  • Compatibility with your company values

Consider using pre-screening online assessments, like Koru, to test if the candidate has those skills.

PC: LinkedIn

5. Put value on references.

References are key, not only for verifying resume details, but also for providing anecdotal information about an applicant’s work history, skills, and personality.

If you’re on the fence about a candidate during the interview process, references can help you verify or alleviate any concerns you may have about making a hiring decision.

References you should value include previous employers, colleagues, or advisers. If a resume only includes friends, family, or teachers, it may be a sign that the applicant needs more work experience.

6. Trust your gut when considering candidates.

Even if a candidate's resume and references look great, if something doesn’t feel quite right during the process the applicant might not be a good fit for your organization.

Always share any doubts you have with the rest of your team after each interview. If they mention the same concerns, you’ll want to reconsider the candidate.

7. Include team members in the recruiting process (and the candidate pool).

Not only can your team members help you refine job descriptions for open positions, weigh in on applicants, and refer great candidates—they can also be great candidates themselves.

You may be surprised by what your people can do. Whether they’re being promoted, making lateral moves into new roles or newly created positions, or transferring from one team to another, internal candidates are great because they already know your company’s culture.

Internal candidates can also lower your:

  • Hiring costs
  • Onboarding time
  • Turnover

PC: GetApp

8. Cultivate pools of qualified applicants.

While it’s never a good idea to rush in a new hire, waiting too long can cause you to lose high-quality applicants to other companies. You can keep your open position count low by stockpiling candidates for your high-turnover, hard-to-fill, and future positions.

You can do this by:

  • Saving the qualified resumes of candidates who have applied for past jobs
  • Hiring interns and helping the most qualified ones develop into future roles
  • Inviting people to send in their resumes even when a position isn’t currently open

If your company operates like a sports team, and is always looking to develop a roster of top talent that it can keep on the bench, you’ll always be ready to send someone into the game when you need to.

9. Make sure your onboarding process is effective.

Once you’ve made the hire, the work definitely doesn’t end there.

The first 90 days of that new employee's time with your company is crucial, because you have to make sure your new hire is:

  • Educated on your industry
  • Comfortable with the team
  • Feels heard
  • Knows who to ask when they're in need
  • Understands what they're doing well and where they can improve

Giving your new hire a tentative schedule and a chosen co-worker to help orient them the first day will be key, as well as preforming weekly checkups their first month to make sure they've settled in.

Be sure to also introduce them to their tasks gradually, so they don't get overwhelmed. Start with the simplest ones first, and make sure they understand them before moving on to more detailed tasks. 

Related: 9 Steps to Get First-time Sales Reps Up to Speed ASAP

Always Keep Calm During the Hiring Process

Rely on your interview process, not panic, to drive your hiring decisions. Only then will you be able to create a cohesive work environment that retains employees.

Managers spend 17% of their time supervising poorly performing employees, when they should be spreading that number across their entire staff. That’s why your long-term goal should always be to take time to find the right candidates for the right positions, so you can spend more time focusing on your business.

Related: How to Hire a Marketer: 4 Tips for Creating a Job Description [Plus 7 Interview Questions]