Be Honest with Potential Employees

Potential Employees

False expectations with potential employees at the recruitment stage, are a key cause of early attrition, claims Ron Eldridge of great{with}talent. An honest debate around the 12 factors of employee commitment can increase the ‘likelihood of engagement’.

Be Honest with Potential Employees

The great myth, perpetuated by the assessment industry, is that if you recruit highly competent people, they’ll enjoy their jobs and they’ll stay with your organisation. But when CIPD figures show that one in four starters leave within six months, something is seriously wrong.

Is it your recruitment process? Too many organisations take a confrontational, aggressive approach to recruitment. It’s a mix of interrogation and sales pitch – demanding that candidates prove their worth.

Some use ability tests, personality questionnaires and assessment centres to pre-sift numerate, detail conscious or socially confident people. But just because your star candidates are the brightest or the most socially skilled, it doesn’t mean they’ll be engaged.

If those who succeed in landing a job find that aspects of the work fail to meet their expectations, they’ll feel dissatisfied and resentful. Quite simply, people will leave if there’s a disconnect between the expectation of what the job will entail and the reality of the workplace.

Yes, objective assessment and selection tools can give an indication of a person’s ‘potential’ to be good at a particular job, in terms of the abilities and preferences required. But there is a difference between ‘person-job’ fit and ‘person-organisation’ fit (or the ‘likelihood of engagement’).

Objective assessment tools cannot predict the latter at the selection stage, no matter what test providers might tell you. This is because the cultural experience of an organisation is inherently subjective and can differ widely from individual to individual.

Interview-based Approach

Assessment and selection tools still add value in helping to filter your candidates but your staff retention process must start during the recruitment process. Talent is scarce in today’s market and organisations need to give themselves a competitive edge by truly engaging high calibre candidates as early as possible.

Once you’ve formed a shortlist, the best way to ascertain whether a candidate will be engaged by working at your organisation is to have an open and honest debate about what is important to that individual – and whether you can satisfy it. This approach could completely re-position the way your organisation is perceived in the recruitment space, giving you a competitive edge.

Selection interviews have long been used to assess whether applicants have a cultural fit with an organisation and whether they’ll integrate into the team. However what is needed is a new way of structuring these interviews.

Each candidate needs to be given a realistic expectation of what it would actually be like if they came to work at your organisation – particularly what it would be like in their department. There may be an overriding organisational culture. Whilst the culture of the IT group, for example, will differ from that of the sales and marketing function.

Valuable employees, such as graduates, will welcome this because they are increasingly looking to find employers who can satisfy their demands. In most cases, graduates are interested in personal growth, career progression and work-life balance. Those are key ‘commitment factors’ for them.

If you cannot satisfy those drivers, you are handing the recruitment battleground to your competitors. Even where you are successful, your more ambitious and talented graduates will leave sooner rather than later.

What Makes People Committed?

At great{with]talent, we’ve developed a model which highlights 12 key factors that underpin employee commitment in organisations.

Read The Twelve Factors of Employee Commitment.

These are the factors that influence whether or not your employees will stay with your organisation. The key point is that the importance of these factors varies from individual to individual (and from group to group).

Demographic Differences

Many organisations assume that employees are similar, rather than different. They then adopt a blanket one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to retaining their staff.

However according to our new research study, One Size Does Not Fit All, different demographic groups of employees have different needs and priorities. If you want to maintain the commitment of your employees, you need to adopt a much more flexible approach to employee engagement, one that takes into account the gender, age, ethnic, educational and occupational differences that exist.

For example, according to the research, women express higher organisational commitment and lower intention to leave than men. The importance of work-life balance and concern for corporate and social responsibility also increases with age.

Indian, Chinese, Pakistani and black African employees place higher importance on career progression than white British people. While employees with a degree-level education place higher importance on work values linked to challenge and advancement and the least satisfied with their jobs are machine operatives and those in customer service roles.

Open Approach

These differences serve to show that a blanket approach to employee engagement won’t work. A better approach is to have an open and honest debate with each employee at the recruitment stage around each of the 12 factors of employee commitment.

For example, a candidate may only want to work 37 hours a week because they have a young family and they want to spend time with them. Therefore they’re not going to ‘fit’ an organisational culture of presenteeism where you are expected to work a 50-hour week.

At a practical level, if the candidate buys into an honest portrayal of ‘the way we do things around here’, they will join with a more realistic expectation of achieving the things that are important to them.

In order to satisfy the range of needs and priorities which will be expressed by different groups, you also need to have flexibility within your organisational structures, processes and opportunities.

That way, instead of losing a quarter of the people you recruit, in the first six months, you’re more likely to retain your employees long enough to get a decent return on your investment.

Reducing your early attrition rates by just 10 per cent would result in:

Significantly reduced recruitment costs;
• A greater return on investment from your Learning and Development budget because more of the people you have invested in will stay with you;
• Improved bottom line performance, due to less employee ramp-up time and disruption to teams;
• Increased employee satisfaction, as attrition usually impacts negatively on those who stay with you.

So, start your retention and engagement plan early. Use your selection interviews to identify those people who are capable of finding satisfaction with you, because their needs are matched by what your organisation can offer.

Contact great{with}talent and try their free psychometric tests called FindingPotential.


(Article originally published in The HR Director.)

(Main image from American Data Search)

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