This is a follow up to my last article Are We Ready to Hear the Real Reason for Turnover?
Now let’s go into more detail about old practices that need to change in all phases of people engagement.
Are we ready to face all the reasons we may be losing “great” people? (All of these reasons cost organizations thousands or millions of dollars by the way.)
1. Candidate experience:
Yes, some “great” people quit you, before they even join. You may have just missed your super star.
a. The job ads are boring and old-fashioned in the first place, it is hard to feel enthusiastic even if it looks like a good match. Most of them list similar requirements like any other job. They are mostly written with the mindset that they are the only ones choosing who to hire instead of trying to make it attractive for the candidates. Some of them still do not mention anything about the reasons why their organization is a great place to work. Why would that candidate want to choose you? Show some good facts.
b. The job applications are still very long, time-consuming, and have ridiculous repetitions. Even when they ask for a resume, the online forms do not always populate the fields and ask candidates to refill them. These usually take hours and oops, you lost some of the“great” people again.
c. Some applications forms still do not accept many new email ids that do not end with the common .com,.edu,.org extensions. These platforms or online forms should always be up-to-date. The organization immediately looks like old-fashioned.
d. Even if you receive thousands of applicants, it is important to get back to candidates. It is so easy to send an automated email nowadays with a kind note honoring them to be interested in your organization.
e. The candidates are going to have an opinion about your company by just applying. They may think highly of you or not and share it with others. The same people may be your clients too. So treat them as you would any good prospect you want to attract.
a. The longer time you take to find the right candidate, the better the chances of having less turnover rate. You will save a lot of money and time in the long run.
b. It is understandable to use software to search for certain keywords on resumes when there are thousands of them to pick from. However, this may also eliminate many good candidates. It may be more beneficial to use some assessment tools out there to see if they are a good culture fit besides being a good job fit.
c. The interview process and what you ask during that time are crucial. People can make up stuff about their skills but it is very hard to fake questions about their passion in life, the purpose of joining this company versus another; what attracts them to this job ad; where they see themselves in five years, etc. It is important to capture their values and understand how they see themselves contributing to your team. It is equally important how the work environment will benefit them as a person.
d. One of the best things to do is to give the candidate a chance to talk to people in the office. We all have a sense of the culture as we walk in the hallways of an organizations. Candidates should be able to ask questions to those who already work there. I know this is hard for many because they do not trust what their people will say. Well that is a sign that you need improvement in your culture so that your people will be selling this position with pride. This also helps to ask the opinion of others in your organization about the candidate.
e. We keep hearing companies giving huge homework assignments to candidates like asking to prepare a presentation on a very specific topic in 24 or 48 hours. This needs to be illegal. With so many smart candidates answering and sharing their intelligent ideas, it seems like organizations are using this to solve their own internal problems. Then they reject the candidates. How invested the candidate will feel at this point? This is not fair at all. They are not people yet. Do not ask them to take on heavy tasks like this.
a. It makes a big difference how a new person is welcomed (or not) during their first day at work. Is the desk ready? Is the computer and email ready? Is there someone who is going to show her around and have lunch with her on her first day?
b. We need to think how we want to make this person feel on their very first day.
c. When nothing is ready, people feel they are not respected and not even wanted. Makes a huge difference how the first day goes.
d. An email from the supervisor welcoming the new person on the job sending it to everybody in the office is a great example of making someone feel they belong.
e. I never forget my first-day at one of the companies I worked for. It became apparent that this would not be the best place to work even on day one!
a. The culture of the company will make these “great” people feel motivated or not at their jobs. This is a huge subject that we will not go in detail now.
b. Culture is dependent on values, how people communicate, how much trust people have towards each other, transparency, and basically “how things are done” in a work environment.
c. People might be a great fit for the job; they may also have other skills to share. It is very important not to restrain them with very strict job descriptions but give them some space to do other tasks they may like.
d. Training, self-development, funds for education, having fun, flexibility, trust, purpose, leadership style, autonomy, and many other factors that we cannot cover here will make them either happy or unhappy.
e. It is very important to create a transparent environment where people can tell what is not working for them before they feel like there is no hope and they have to quit.
a. It seems like we are not always ready to hear why exactly people want to leave. I am so surprised that exit interviews are still not a “thing”. We make assumptions about why people leave and take precautions on false beliefs. We need to really understand why someone wants to quit. That is the only way to reduce turnover in the future.
b. Biggest assumption is they leave to make more money at their next job. Of course that might be a very valid reason but many times that is not the only one or real reason why they quit.
c. We need to prepare an exit interview to collect and understand the underlying causes of everyone leaving our organization by creating an environment where they will still feel safe to tell the truth and leave in good standing.
These changes are easy to make once the leadership team understand the higher stake of losing great people.
We just have to be brave to look into what is not working in our culture to have a win-win situation for everyone. Sometimes it might hurt our egos to realize we have done mistakes or have been an ineffective leader but that is how we all learn moving forward. Repeating the same mistakes over and over again has a much higher cost for all of us.
Employee engagement boils down to looking at everyone as a human being:
Would you want yourself or your daughter/son to be treated the way you treat your candidates and your people?