No business can afford unnecessary turnover. With unemployment nearing an all-time low, filling any position may take longer than expected. And it's costly. While the exact cost of hiring or replacing an employee varies, a recent report found that replacing an employee costs an average of 33 percent of the person's annual salary. So, if the employee made $45,000, that is replacement cost of $15,000.
For many small and midsize businesses (SMBs), keeping the talent pipeline full requires a system of "re-recruitment"--continually wowing and investing in your employees, as you would a prospective new hire. Creating a culture of re-recruiting requires understanding your team's needs, treating them well, and reinforcing your company mission and culture every day. In this way, recruitment is a never-ending process, not something that starts with a vacancy and ends with a hire.
Re-recruitment also improves retention, thereby reducing future hiring costs. It also creates a more engaged workforce and improves productivity. As disengaged workers cost U.S. companies billions, prioritizing engagement could save you money, and improve your culture. It will also improve your position in the race for talent. Here is how to take an ongoing, systematic approach to attracting the talent you need and keeping the talent you already have .
- Change your mindset
In today's competitive job market, it is too risky to wait. A growing number of companies are hiring skilled workers, even if they don't have a job opening. Then, they work with the candidate to design his or her role.
Mary Massad, division president of Insperity, a professional employer organization (PEO) that offers businesses full-service HR solutions , believes business owners and leaders should always be evaluating outside talent . The hostess at the restaurant where you are dining could have the dynamic personality your company is seeking, Massad explains. So, change the way you think about recruitment. Always keep it top-of-mind, and encourage your team members to do the same.
- Get real about culture
At a recent panel discussion in Chicago, sponsored by Insperity, Howard Tullman, executive director of the Kaplan Institute at Illinois Institute of Technology, explained that culture is about more than foosball and ping-pong tables. Real cultures are built on clear missions and core values. When people quit, it is not because "the ping-pong table was warped or something." It is because their values didn't align with the company's values, he said.
What people really want is to work with other talented people, and to do work that makes a difference, he said. So, be sure to clearly define your mission, values, and culture, and articulate them to prospects, as well as your team.
- Listen to your team
Employees want to do meaningful work--and they expect their employers to provide the resources to make that happen, Tullman said. Consider what your employees need to get their job done. It's as simple as asking, whether in person or via a survey.
You should also ask your team what they value when it comes to benefits and policies. Checking in, and making adjustments when possible, demonstrates you are listening. According to a recent survey, 83 percent of employers cite retention as the chief objective of their benefits package. Tailor your benefits to derive the most value for your employees and your business.
- Maximize engagement
By working as hard to engage and impress your hires as you did to get them in the door, you will keep them longer, Massad explains. Beyond benefits, you can invest in your people by emphasizing internal mobility. A formal internal job posting program will allow workers to apply for openings before you recruit externally and demonstrate your commitment to advancing people's careers.
Massad notes that, at Insperity, they coach managers to take pride in their team's professional growth and to use it as a benchmark for their success as leaders. "A team member applying to another job in another department is not perceived as a negative. It is a positive, because it shows you are constantly thinking of how to keep your best employees."
- Lather, rinse repeat
Re-recruitment is a constant process. The more standards and templates you can implement, the more sustainable it will be. Be sure to think in terms of tangible actions, and when possible, document a measurable outcome. Monitor your retention rate on an ongoing basis to help you see what is working and what is not.
This is a lot for a small business owner to do alone. An HR support provider, or PEO, can help entrepreneurs design and implement re-recruitment programs, such as setting up an internal job posting system or customizing a benefits package that reflects your staff's needs. A PEO can also identify additional ways to maximize engagement, such as implementing new collaboration tools or rethinking your performance management cycle, Massad says.
The key to your business success is people. Using an ongoing process for recruitment and re-recruitment will help your business find and retain the talent your future depends on.