5 Tips for Recruiting and Retaining Employees
However, while every organization has different needs and capabilities, my 15+ years leading human resources and corporate wellness programs have taught me that there are key steps that most mission-driven organizations can take to strengthen their recruitment and retention efforts, especially for employees just entering the workforce.
Here are five of the most important and broadly applicable tips I would recommend:
1. Remember that mission-driven organizations have an edge.
As a mission-driven organization, hiring can sometimes feel like you are competing with one hand tied behind your back against employers who can often offer higher pay, better benefits, or more perks. However, most of us want to do meaningful work that has a positive impact, and especially for many younger employees, that can often be a high priority. Obviously, you need to be competitive with other employers on pay, benefits, and other factors. But don’t underestimate the advantage that your purpose-driven work provides in recruitment and retention, and don’t hesitate to highlight that as a core part of your value proposition.
It is no secret that most employees value work-life balance and want to work reasonable hours with non-work time respected. However, for some employees, just having firm boundaries between their work and non-work time isn’t enough. For example, a parent with young children may be perfectly happy to work 40+ hours per week, but they may need to leave at 3:30 pm to pick up their kids, take a late meeting by phone from the car, and log back in for an hour at 8 pm. Giving employees flexibility in when and how they do their work can help make joining or staying with your organization a viable option for people in a wider variety of life seasons and can give you a leg up over employers with more rigid schedules.
3. Embrace hybrid work and tailor it to your team.
COVID has permanently changed the state of play around remote and hybrid work. Most employees in jobs that can be done remotely like the flexibility to work from home, which can create tension with managers and leaders who see the benefits of in-person work. I would discourage resolving that tension with a binary “all or none” decision and instead look to design norms around hybrid work that are tailored to your team.
For example, maybe your team has a few key meetings per month where everyone being in the same room is especially valuable, or there is a day each week when collectively being in the office can foster a stronger team culture. Creating aligned, flexible expectations around when people can work remotely and when they need to come into the office can help not only keep employees happy but also help you build a recruitment and retention edge over less flexible employers, while still ensuring that people are together in person at the times when that is most impactful.
4. Don’t just tell people they are valued, show them.
One of the most important drivers of a workplace that people want to join and want to stay in is ensuring that employees feel valued and respected for the work that they do. One of the most obvious (and important) ways to make people feel valued is to ensure they have a fair compensation package that rewards good performance. However, feeling valued is about a lot more than just money. Especially for employees who are earlier in their careers, one particularly important step is to take the time to understand where they want to take their career and help craft professional development opportunities that align with their goals.
5. Be intentional about exit interviews.
Departing employees, even those who are leaving on good terms for other opportunities, can be a crucial source of candid, actionable feedback. Be intentional about holding exit interviews, and treat them as meaningful two-way conversations rather than a perfunctory survey or checklist. If you don’t have a forum to hear honest perspectives about why people are leaving, how can you build a culture and system that helps persuade more people to stay?
Whether your organization is rapidly growing, already mature, or anywhere in between, the cliche that “your people are your great asset” is common because it is true. Taking intentional steps to attract, keep, and develop the best talent can take your team to the next level.