Happier Employees and Better Retention in Three Simple Steps


Reduce the Headaches of Turnover, Starting with the First Interview.

Simple changes during the Interview & Orientation phases can dramatically reduce your turnover, in addition to lowering training costs and boosting morale (and thus productivity!).

We currently in a Candidates’ Market, like it or not.  The philosophy that “the employer writes the check so employees should comply and be happy” no longer applies in terms of retention and securing top talent.

The incredibly fast pace of the Healthcare industry, ever-changing compliance and regulatory standards, mergers, and now a global pandemic converge to make hiring and retaining employees the perfect storm.

The average unemployment rate in 2020 is 3.5 %, the lowest since 1969. “Voluntary” employee turnover is also up almost 8 % from 2017 to 2019. These figures illustrate a costly and challenging situation for owners, hiring managers, and human resources.

The bottom line is that Employees have the power, especially in industries with a skilled talent shortage, such as healthcare.  They have options, and they know it.  Employees are no longer leaving to retire or relocate. If they are unhappy and feel that there are greener pastures elsewhere, they are quick to move on.  This creates a considerable strain on any organization, including costly forced overtime, executive burnout, lowered morale, and ultimately – more turnover!  A recent study revealed the top preventable factors that cause employees to resign:

  • Lack of Career Development
  • Poor Work-Life Balance
  • Manager Behavior
  • Compensation and Benefit
  • Well-Being
  • Job Characteristics
  • Work Environment

Top 3 Ways Recruiters Improve Retention via the Screening Process

photo of woman working at her desk with the focus on computer screen1.  Screening for “Red Flags”

Thanks to the magic of the Internet, one can get a snapshot of most applicants with a quick search of social media platforms, online articles, and other resources.  While it is critical to follow state and federal non-discrimination guidelines, it is also possible to get a picture of someone’s interests, background, and perhaps find a fib or two on their resume using technology.  Screening for red flags has never been more accessible. 

Tenure is critical as well, and we interview potential Candidates as to why they left previous employers, conduct online research, and call references to verify that the “reasons for leaving” are (or are not) reasonable. Then, using our best judgment and twenty years of Recruiting experience, we decide whether they might be a long term fit for our Client.

2.  Screening for Motivation

There is a vast difference between an employee who posts their resume after a bad day, or to “see what is out there,” vs. someone who has carefully considered their professional goals and the pro’s and con’s of looking for a new position. If we are not convinced the Employee is “in it for the right reasons,” their resume will not reach our Clients.

Candidates often give themselves away by applying multiple times to multiple jobs within a short time.  Using our Job Posting and CRM platforms, this is easy to flag and typically shows a Candidate who is making rash decisions rather than carefully considering her or his career goals.

3.  Big Picture Education

We spend a great deal of time getting to know the Employer, i.e., our Client, including on-site visits, observing and asking questions about company culture and the job itself.  We want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly.

What are the challenges? What does the career growth path look like? Management structure? Training and educational resources?  Work/life balance?  Overtime? Call required?  Management style?

Once we have a clear view of the “big picture” at the Employer, we educate our potential candidates on the company and its culture, job duties, benefits, expectation, and any other factors that should contribute to their decision. 

We do our part to mitigate risk and turnover, yet often see Clients run into pitfalls during the Interview and Orientation process that leads to increased turnover. 

Top 3 Ways Employers Can Improve Retention on the Front End

1.  Don’t rush the Interview Process.

Yes, you needed that person yesterday, but a few more days to make sure it’s the right fit are well worth the wait.  #1 advice for Employers and Hiring Managers to reduce turnover is to spend more time with the Candidates during their on-site interviews.

A top Candidate will want to get to know you, meet members of your team, and feel you have thoroughly vetted them and vice versa. Even an hour of your time is invaluable, and too often, we hear from Candidates that the Owner or Manager only spent fifteen minutes with them. 

Job-seekers are suspicious of short interviews and on the spot offers.  It is human nature to want things we cannot have, and so a slightly longer interview process will net you better employees (and retention!).

A few recommendations to draw out the process a bit, and ensure everyone has time to ask questions, evaluate pro’s and con’s and provide a happy ending:

Extensive sourcing and vetting by a Recruiting Firm or Human Resources.  If you are only relying on Candidates that apply to your job posting, this can quickly become a retention issue.

Phone Interview + On-Site Interview OR On-Site Interview + “Shadow” or “Meet & Greet” with the Candidates’ potential new Team.      

If these are not available, increase your Face Time (pun intended) via a smartphone chat, Skype or Zoom. 

Video chat and webinar technology opens up a whole new pool of candidates. These technologies are more cost-effective than the expense of flying a Candidate to an on-site interview (flights, taxis, rental car, meal per diem, etc.!). 

The current job market dictates that Employees must feel valued and supported by Leadership and their Team to stay long term.  Spend that extra hour or two getting to know them and answering their questions on the front end, and you will save tens of thousands of dollars in reduced turnover.

2.  Avoid Generic Compensation Offers.

An exceptional Candidate will receive several offers, so it is wise to consider their requests and flexible solutions.

Clients often make offers based on “their standards” without taking time to consider what it takes to bring top talent on board.  If your offer is way off-base, he or she may decline without any negotiation.

To hedge against this, our firm keeps the communication lines wide open to ensure that if an offer is presented, both the Candidate and Client know where the other party stands in regards to compensation, benefits, and conditions of work.

We realize that some organizations have strict internal salary metrics, scheduling requirements, union oversight, etc.  However, in this competitive market, smart Employers know when to compromise to seal the deal.

As an Employer, you must ask yourself, “what costs me more???”

Adding a small sign on or relocation bonus or another $1/hour to the pay rate? Approving an extended vacation in the first year that you would usually prohibit?  Allowing a bit of flexibility in scheduling?

OR – Losing a great Candidate and having the job go unfilled for three, six, or twelve more months?  What is the cost of hiring the wrong Candidate because they immediately accepted your first offer, then having to train and replace them in the first year because they were not the right fit?

3.  Pay Attention to your New Hires

Female manager leading a meeting with employees at conference tableFirst impressions are everything

We frequently see Candidates sign their offer letter and receive zero communication from the Employer until their first day.  Failing to keep in touch sends the message to your Employee that they are just filling a seat, and that you are ambivalent as to their presence.  

To get off on the right foot,  carve out time to check on your new hire and make sure their questions are answered before they start.  This simple step shows a present and supportive leadership style, which will inevitably increase morale and retention.

The most common complaints we hear from placed Candidates in their first year are:

  • “Not enough training/thrown into the fire.”
  • “My Manager never talks to me.”
  • “Don’t have the resources needed to excel in my new role.”
  • “Don’t know where to go for help with questions.”
  • “Other people are unhappy too.”
  • “Working longer hours than stated in the job description.”
  • Leadership should set aside time to sit down and speak with their New Hires at least once or twice a week during their training period.

Ask how your new hire how they like the position, what tasks do they enjoy most, and which job duties are not their favorite.  If the direct manager is not available, he or she should assign a senior team member as an ambassador to the new hire.  This makes the newbie feel welcomed, and the security of a go-to for relevant questions. 

Opening a regular dialogue for ALL feedback creates a precedent that your employees can speak with you about questions or concerns.  The alternative is an employee who is isolated and fearful, and will most likely cause chaos and low morale before inevitably resigning.

Learning new business protocols, computer systems, and navigating company culture can be overwhelming even for the most seasoned of employees, and ignoring your New Hire is a great way to send them back to the job boards and, ultimately, out the door.

We strive to provide insight and encourage retention through communication and mindful management.  Wishing you continued growth, success, and good fortune in your endeavors.

Photo Credit:  Raya Al-Hashmi (@RayaonAssignment)


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