Hiring top talent is hard. Retaining it is just as hard. In fact, many of the challenges faced are the same during both parts of the process.
The good news is that this means that there are solutions that can address both problems simultaneously. Let's talk about how to address the challenges specific to both and then discuss how to significantly reduce them for both attraction and retention.
There are multiple challenges companies face when they seek to attract top talent in the current environment.
Finding an employee who already has the skills and experience you need is becoming more challenging; it can feel as if the pool of talent is shrinking and the number of companies competing for it growing.
Remember that when you interview a candidate, they are also interviewing you. You need to make sure that your hiring process is as straightforward as possible from the candidate's perspective.
Make sure that your job descriptions are clear and accurate. An inaccurate job description can result in you hiring the wrong candidate who then leaves (or has to be fired) after a few months. Make sure that the person conducting the interview is familiar with the job description. Keep your process consistent between hires.
So, how about retention?
There are also specific challenges to retaining employees and reducing turnover. Given the cost of new hires and the value of institutional knowledge, you need to keep your employees as long as possible. Here are some obstacles to retaining employees.
If your employees are not engaged in their work and dissatisfied with their job, they are more likely to quit. Employees want a well-defined career path, good training, and a healthy work environment. They also want recognition.
Keeping engagement high helps both reduce turnover and increase productivity.
Any kind of negative experience will have an employee looking for an exit strategy. This might mean bad management (or a management style incompatible with their work style), overwork, or excessive bureaucracy with HR.
Building a strong company culture can help you keep your employees from these kinds of negative experiences that can lead to early departure as well as other issues such as presenteeism.
Finally, there are a number of challenges that affect both attraction and retention.
If you don't offer your employees a competitive salary and benefits, somebody else will. You need to try and keep your salaries within a competitive range. Good benefits can be hard to afford, but partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO) can help.
Also, work on making your company stand out from the crowd.
Many younger employees no longer see themselves as staying with a job; instead, they hope to gain experience and then move on to something with a higher salary and better benefits.
You can tackle this by offering a good salary and benefits, good training, and promoting from within when possible rather than hiring an outsider.
Competitive Benefits as a Solution
Good employees expect good benefits. Many small companies are only able to offer inferior or reduced benefits, often at a high cost. A study by the Society of Human Resource Management in 2018 showed that 72% of companies increased benefits to retain employees and 58% to attract new talent.
However, with healthcare costs rising constantly, it can be very hard to offer these competitive benefits and make your company that "better alternative." At the same time, if you offer the benefits employees ultimately want, you can avoid being a "stepping stone."
Providing competitive benefits also helps with employee satisfaction, and while it cannot address the skills shortage on its own and only you can fix your interview process, it can attract those skilled candidates that seem to be becoming ever more scarce.
Unfortunately, many small- and medium-sized companies find those great benefits packages simply cost-prohibitive.
The solution is a professional employer organization (PEO). By partnering with a PEO, you enter into a co-employment arrangement where your employees are partially "employed" by the PEO (who does not control your hiring, firing, work conditions, etc). This allows your employees to be enrolled in the PEO's benefits plan. You gain access to a plan which contains thousands of worksite employees which brings down premiums and allows you to get a better benefits package for a lower cost.
Benefits are key to attracting and retaining good employees and overcoming the challenges associated with them. Offering a great benefits package requires that you partner with a PEO to access economies of scale and expert negotiation that helps you be competitive and stand out from the crowd.