We are continually contacted by client companies and others to discuss the difficulties they experience in finding and retaining talent in virtually every market sector around the world. To add to the difficulties, it is a situation that is unlikely to improve in 2018.

Better economic times, low unemployment and technological innovation feed directly into this supply and demand imbalance. But how to fill the jobs that are being created and that are necessary to continue to drive progress is a question that is keeping company leadership awake at night. Compounding the problem is Baby Boomers entering retirement and taking their valuable experience and skill-sets with them, followed by Millennials who seem to be less loyal and long-term in their employment desires.

As we have all seen, pay and benefits are no longer enough to attract and keep good employees. Instead, companies must offer the kind of career and workplace culture that fulfill their ethical, social and personal needs in both their work and personal life.

So, where do you start? We recommend that companies begin before the need to seek and retain new employees. It starts with the company brand, ethics, culture and social mission. And once the recruitment process begins, your team—not just Human Resources—need to all be involved from the first point of contact through the entire employment, on-boarding, team connection and work.

It also means your employer branding gets worked into the equation and creating new work environments that meet the need to grow professionally and to more quickly integrate into a company. And, it means helping all employees find a suitable work-life balance, be it through telecommuting, a compressed work week or any number of other strategies.

Companies that feel compelled to rush through the hiring process to fill positions often find that they have made a poor selection decision. The financial cost of a bad hire is easily calculated by summing up all recruiting and selection costs and time invested into the process by HR and the hiring managers. Above that is the adverse effect on the company’s culture. Poor performers lower the bar for other employees, and bad habits become the “new norm.” This detracts from the company mission and adversely affects company culture, it also requires a reset of resources and unacceptable and disconnected behaviors of some team members to make the recalibration of one or more departments.

There is one more point to emphasize: Once you have a well-thought out process with team involvement at every touch point, we always recommend to client companies to conduct a review of the process every six months—with the talent acquisition and on-boarding team and with the new team member. There are four simple questions to be asked:

1. What worked well and why.
2. What didn’t work well or, in your view, could be improved.
3. What would that improvement look like and how would you recommend we make this change or modification.
4. What would the new process look like and how can we best make this change going forward.

Like new product development or other areas of a business, the talent acquisition process requires exceptional planning, execution and continuous improvement by your team. Dedicated, focused, well-thought out plans not only through the selection point, but going beyond through one’s employment, on-boarding, frequent check-in meetings to ensure their expectations and the company’s expectations are being met, and make corrections, where necessary, all contribute to a much higher probability of an excellent hire. The probability is high that the new team member will feel a part of the team and will appreciate the time and attention that has been devoted to them.

Hedley Lawson, Contributing Editor
Managing Partner
Aligned Growth Partners, LLC
(707) 217-0979