If there’s one thing we can take from the recent revelations about Paul Flowers, it’s the sheer impact a hiring howler can have. While The Co-op Bank circles the drain, investigations around its less-than-reputable ex-chairman are sure to give it the final flush. The cost to the brand is set to be considerable.
I tend to view a brand like fitness: it takes an age to build, but one catastrophe and all the hard work is lost. One of the most fragile aspects of a brand is the people who form it. They’re our point of difference, the face of the business: they become the brand. The longer they’re in place, the more value they bring. As recruiters, it’s our responsibility to not only source and place, but determine what will make them ‘stick’.
It’s an HR headache as old as time. There’s no debating that businesses that see high churn suffer the consequences: the cost of re-hiring and on-boarding, decreased productivity and a domino effect on business culture and customer service. Tenured employees drive greater value than those walking through a revolving door.
But. Determining retention drivers isn’t as simple as it seems. We all know the failsafe options, but I keep seeing managers placing all their eggs in one basket, only to wonder why they don’t see the results. I did a recruitment drive for one business that couldn’t understand why its all-singing-and-dancing benefits package was failing to shake the ‘Teflon’ reputation of the company. Attraction was significant: staff turnover stubbornly stuck at 40% annually.
Delve a little deeper and it seems money really can’t buy happiness, as disgruntled employees pointed to a lack of career development, insufficient training and a culture that rewarded big numbers over productivity. For those at the bottom end, it was a dog-eat-dog environment that wasn’t worth the benefits.
We need to recruit to retain, creating a job value proposition that reflects the long-term objectives of the business. Those who recruit in haste will repent at leisure. Then, we must build a culture of retention that supports growth and career opportunity and offers meaning to employees. Offering accreditation, recognition, financial incentives, progression and investment in development are paramount. After all, the process is two-fold. When we retain the right staff, we retain our customers.