October 20, 2021

You Can’t Out Recruit Bad Retention

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Out of sight, out of mind. That’s the new reality companies are facing in the all-remote world.

Sure, hiring is a challenge. But so is knowing when employees are unhappy when you can’t see their body language. When you don’t have those informal check-ins.

Or when you don’t realize how badly you botched the onboarding process until it’s too late.

Jeff Smith and James Hornick will be back for the latest 600-second tirade in Episode 30 of The 10 Minute Talent Rant, “You Can’t Out Recruit Bad Retention”

Episode Transcript

The 10 minute talent rant is live. I think so at least. We had some special challenges earlier, but we’ll get through it. Anyways, I’m James Hornick. I’m joined by Jeff Smith and we were on the clock. The 10 minute talent rant is our ongoing series, where we break down things that are broken and the talent acquisition and hiring space, maybe even pitch a solution or two or three or four.

Before we dig in, all of our content could be found on talentinsights.hirewell.com. This week’s topic: you can’t out recruit bad retention. Nope. Cannot. All right, so let’s lay this up a little bit here. I saw a post on this somewhat recently LinkedIn, because you know, I just can’t stay off LinkedIn.

It’s kinda my thing. Someone was talking about how it would be a good idea to start tying recruiters to one-year guarantee periods. That way they’re more invested to guarantee the long-term success of their placements. I laughed at it the first time. And I’m laughing again. Yeah. So great. So now I have to do- now to do my job and finding people then your job in training them, onboarding them, retaining them, you’re off to do the employee engagement, frankly.

Maybe if you report to me, you being whoever’s hiring people, that then it’s possible. But I mean, the idea is just absurd. Yeah, we’ll get into it further. We’re having a- backing things up, we’re having a great year, tons of hiring happening. We’re hiring a ton, we’re replacing a ton, but there are some fall-offs and it’s not just with our clients. It’s everywhere.

Everyone I’m talking to. It just seems like the amount of people not hitting their first 30, 60, 90 days or even six months or whatever it is, it’s just kind of at an all time high. It might just be effectors, more hiring going on, but it seems like everyone’s in the same boat. You know, the great resignation as the kids are calling it.

I don’t even think it’s- I think it’s this plus that. I think these are kind of two somewhat unrelated things but we have some thoughts on how to fix it, what company should do. Why don’t we first kind of talk about the actual problems and what’s causing it? So Jeff, what do you got? Yeah, so market’s hot.

Number one, like you said, there’s market conditions that make that easy to state the obvious. I think the one thing that isn’t obvious and something that everybody should think about is so just because let’s say in the best world of worlds, you found that person. Slam dunk, every cliche you could possibly think of. Their inbox, isn’t drying up.

It’s not like they just magically stop getting solicited for new stuff. They’re definitely getting hit up every single day and the reason I know that is because I’m the guy hitting them up. Full stop. And if I’m doing it hundreds and hundreds of other recruiters are doing it. So. It’s as easy for me to just sit and just ask like, “Hey, I just saw that you moved, how is the first 30 days going?”

If the answer is not great, Bob, there’s a problem. Yeah. That’s still, that’s the hack. The recruiting hack, hit up everybody 30 days after they start their job. Anyways, onboarding is, I think onboarding is always an issue before everyone was remote, before COVID and everything else. But I think it’s even more magnified now.

And there’s kind of a couple of levels to this. So one, there’s so much niche hiring and so much expert level hiring going on kind of across the board and all skill sets. And I think there’s a lot of, a lot of hiring managers or people, organizations where you want to kind of mentioned this, that have that idea that we made a great hire, hired someone so senior, they don’t need training.

They’re they’re good to go. They’re ready to hit the ground running. We want to hire someone who’d be good to go hit the ground running. That is the whole point of this. And it’s a killer mistake to believe that people who are experienced don’t actually need further training. No matter what level they come in at, there’s always going to be a gap between the organization they had worked with previously and what you’re doing.

There’s always things that are missing. Let alone needing it, which I would argue is necessary in every single hire, but wanting it. Nobody in the right mind wants to just walk into something and just start freewheeling it for the most part. Humans like being appreciated. They like to feel wanted.

They do. They like to feel like they’ve got a little bit of a runway to get themselves assimilated. And the flip side too, is that I think that out of sight out of mind is a real thing. I think that most of the time when you realize there was a problem with someone not digging their new job when they first started or something missing, a lot of it came from informal conversations, ran into him, read their body language,

if you got lunch with them, maybe you’ve met them at happy hour and people are a little more open to kind of chatting when they’re in a formal environment. Well all that stuff’s gone, all just kind of chance meetings and informal meetings and stuff aren’t there anymore. Like you’re missing a lot of your best kind of feedback opportunities.

So, yeah. And it’s not like we’re sitting here preaching- like I struggle with it. You struggle. Like we’re all remote. I mean, this is not, it’s not like it’s not happening to us either. So third thing that we were talking about was this has really exposed a real deficiency in learning development training internally.

So once onboarding is complete and that has like some semblance of good vibes and you get to that 30, 60, 90 day mark, like where do you folks go? What’s the path upwards? I mean, the second new hire sniff out that development solely rests on their shoulders alone is the second they’re going to respond to that InMail. Not saying that like people don’t have to take initiative, but when you’re in a larger organization or even mid midsize organizations, you have to have some sort of articulated path to getting from point A to point B.

And if you don’t have that, the next best step for somebody is just to answer that email. Selling the dream and delivering the nightmare as they call it. The reason why we bring all this up is because these are the things we can’t fix for you. Like I can’t manage your team’s day to day work. I can’t run your touch-base chats.

You’re not hiring me to run your employee engagement. The idea that I can make your star employees stop taking calls after you’ve invested zero time into their onboarding is garbage. This isn’t stuff we can do and initial orientation, it’s crucial, especially in the remote world, kind of like we said, out of sight, out of mind.

I guess one note I want to say because we’re coming up on fixes here in a minute because there are some ideas we have for you. We do have a client that had this issue and they found a kind of an interesting way to solve it. So these are things that can be addressed. But anyways, anything else you have to add on to this Jeff?

And I mean it was a simple solve, I will say that. Look, when people are remote as they are predominantly now, like everything is magnified. So the second somebody gets irritated, they have that outlet to go and look. We’ve all been there. I mean, it’s okay. We can talk about it openly. I think it’s just, you don’t have that face to face like you said to smooth things over and people can just say, screw this. They can keep interviewing and you’re none the wiser. And those are the two key points to why all of this structure in the onboarding and then like subsequently learning development makes so much sense and is so important. All right let’s get to fixes,

the good stuff. Yeah. We have a bit of time left here. Jeff, what can employers do to ensure new employees don’t leave in the first few months? Yeah, so set a regular cadence check-in, especially the first few days and weeks. I think people forget that first week of like paperwork and good vibes, ice cream, puppy dogs.

It’s like, ah, I’m just going to let- no. Check in, make it a point to talk to them every day. Again, they’re sitting at home and maybe they feel like they’re not doing a lot. I find that on my team, it’s kind of like, they come from other recruiting environments and they’ve got this full desk and then it just like preset button.

Jarring right. Ask them point blank, are you happy? Do you feel like you have enough support? What else can I do? What concerns do you have? And is it the role that you’ve expected? I think that again, articulating what the 30, 60, 90 looks like during the recruiting process and following up and walking that walk is

super important. So do something to train. Take that time and nothing says the wrong job like sitting by yourself at home and waiting for instructions. Right? Next fix, like I said kind of previously, one of the biggest downsides of remote is you don’t have, you can’t just go to lunch on a whim.

Can’t go to happy hour in a whim, can’t get coffee, can’t like just have kind of informal chats. And that’s really, those are where you really found out some of the gems of things are going well, things aren’t going well. This isn’t possible for everyone, but if you’re in the same city, make it a point to try to do as many get-togethers as you possibly can, both one-on-one with people.

Try to grab coffee, grab a lunch or just make sure you’ve got some sort of like company outings and whatnot, because it’s in those kind of more informal settings- if you’re a management it’s part of your job now. It’s a bigger pain in the butt we’re not all in the same location but it’s invaluable.

So, yeah. And doubling down on that, it does promote more inclusivity, like the great term of our day. The more you are opening up these forums to the entire company as a whole versus the any perceived clicks, whether or not that’s real or unreal, like having that structure to those meetings and those meetups, those chats, those coffees is really important.

Last one, and this one’s big. Hire someone- dedicate someone to this. Take all that money you save by canceling your office lease or downsizing and don’t just think it’s like- put that towards someone who can actually focus on this issue specifically. Spending some, like I know everyone hates adding overhead but it pays for itself in this kind of case.

So having someone actually hone in on both your orientation, your retention, all those other kinds of things, it’ll save you so many hassles. We have a client that did this specifically. They had zero issues before the pandemic with retention or close to zero, it kind of spiked or having issues

everyone else did. They put someone in charge of it, went away. Anyways, we’re short on clock. That’s a wrap for this week. Thanks everyone for tuning into the 10 minute talent rant, part of the talent insight series. Which is always available for replay on talentinsights.hirewell.com as well as YouTube, Apple podcast, Google podcast, Spotify and Amazon.

Jeff, it’s a pleasure as always. Everyone out there, we’ll see you soon. See ya!

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