READ Part 3: Stop Wasting Time, Money and Effort On Recruitment

Loyalty has gone out the window! So in order to avoid wasting time, money and effort on recruitment you need to engage and develop your people. It was not that long ago that people would simply follow in the footsteps of their parents and expect a job for life. They were grateful for the job, would work hard and be very loyal to their employer. However within a generation that has all changed. These days people are demanding that employers meet their needs or they will simply go elsewhere! Loyalty can’t be assumed it needs to be earned.

In the UK there are now lots of roles that are proving very difficult to fill due to exceptionally high demand and lack of skilled people. Many businesses are also experiencing an ‘Induction Crisis’. This is the jargon term for when new starters leave within six months of starting due to lack of support or the job is not like they expected. If this happens you are not only back to square one but far worse off because of all additional costs like lost recruitment costs, wasted salary, wasted training, lost productivity of the new employee, lost productivity of the team and lost opportunities due to managers having to fill the gaps. You also increase the chances of other people leaving because there is more pressure on everyone due to increased workload.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. This is the last article in the three-part series on how to avoid expensive recruitment mistakes, and it addresses how to keep your people once you have made a job offer. The other two explore job analysis and the selection process. They are available here:

How To Avoid Expensive Recruitment Mistakes

  • Tips for Managing Risk in Recruitment and Selection

Many managers still oversell positions and don’t tell the truth about the role. They also think that once they have made an offer to the candidate their job is done. This could not be farther from the truth. Highly effective managers make a point of letting job applicants know exactly what the role entails and they engage their new recruits even before they start. This can range from inviting them to team meetings to drip-feeding them useful information about the company, its benefits and the opportunities that lie ahead. You don’t want to bombard them, so it’s about judging the right amount of engagement, depending on the seniority of the role and the length of their notice period.

  • Have a list

There nothing worse than turning up at a new job and finding everyone in a tizzy with no-one to show you around. I’ve also heard of people on their first day discovering they have no computer because their new manager forgot to inform the IT department soon enough. The list goes on and on. In fact the key point here is that there is a list of things that need to be done in advance of a new starter arriving. As many regular readers will know, I love checklists and there are now a few new items that you can use and analyse to make sure you are able to keep the people you want. If you don’t already have an ‘Induction checklist’ just send me an email and I’ll send you a copy of one I’ve developed over the years, based on practical client experience.

  • Have a plan

Once you have completed all the items on your Induction Checklist you should also have a simple Induction Plan for their first three months. This essentially gives new starters clarity of what they will be doing and what is expected of them. In summary it needs to outline what they will be doing for:

      • The first week: day by day, in AM and PM blocks. For example familiarisation with the building layout, KPIs for the role, who to meet and any key procedures or training that may be required.
      • The second week: key tasks and simple objectives that will need to be completed.
      • The third week: additional tasks or projects as required plus enquiring if they have any recommendations / ideas on improvements. New starters are a great source of ideas because they have a fresh pair of eyes.
      • The fourth week: develop a set of SMART objectives with action plans for next two months (up to end of probation period).
      • At the end of each week the new starter should have a meeting with their line manager to review progress, discuss insights and address any questions. It provides a great opportunity for the line manager to emphasise strengths, explore issues and coach on any traits to develop (see more on this below). This vital meeting is often missed by busy managers and that can make a new recruit feel neglected and question whether they should stay or not.

Month two is mainly about completing the objectives set in week four. At the end of week eight it is important to provide feedback on the likelihood of completing probation by discussing evidence of completing objectives and improvements on the traits to develop.

Month three is about providing evidence of meeting job requirements, KPIs and fulfilling the job description. At the end of week 12 you should be having a feedback meeting that confirms probation or if it is clear that there is not a good fit and that it is best to let them find a better fit elsewhere.

Again, if you would like a copy of an Induction Plan Template please send me an email.

Nobody’s perfect

During the analysis phase of pre-recruitment (see part 1) you need to specify the skills, strengths and behaviours you believe the ideal candidate will require to flourish and enjoy the role. It is very rare to actually find the ‘perfect’ person so it’s about best fit or closest fit, not necessarily ‘exact’ fit. This means that there are always some areas to develop during probation period or in the first 6 to 12 months. By using a robust and tailored assessment tool you can not only identify what you need and select the candidates with the best fit, you can also identify what development points they have.

At the click of a button our clients who are using the Harrison Assessment approach get a unique report that provides coaching questions and exercises to develop the new employee. It identifies the two key traits that will improve the performance of the new employees according to their specific needs. The report is written in a way that a line manager can use in order to provide support and coaching during their probation.

Know their expectations

When you take on a new employee it is very useful to know what they expect from their work. While you may be able to tease it out during the interview, it can be quite difficult because most people don’t even know this for themselves. A practical short-cut is to use the Harrison Engagement and Retention report. This is yet another report that is available from the original data-set used to screen candidates against job requirements and identify development needs. This report provides details of the following sets of expectations:

  • Development
  • Appreciation
  • Remuneration
  • Communication
  • Authority
  • Personal
  • Social
  • Work Life balance
  • Manage their expectations

Once you know their various work values and expectations you can have regular discussions about them to ensure they are being met. We call this ‘Engagement from the inside out’ because this report also provides insights that line managers can use to have meaningful discussions with the employee. It not only identifies ‘wants’, it also highlights ‘supporting’ traits. For example, if a supporting trait like ‘Wants Challenge’ is low, it may well undermine the very thing the employee actually wants, i.e. ‘Advancement’. This enables managers to explore why ‘Wants Challenge’ is low and help the employee to see that their advancement may be dependent on how willing they are to attempt difficult tasks or goals. This helps individual employees to support their own engagement factors and be more responsible for fulfilling them.

Engagement begins at the beginning

It may sound obvious but the way you engage with job candidates from the very beginning will influence how long they will stay with you. You also need to keep them engaged during the recruitment process, and ensure you have a well-structured and engaging induction experience. Some managers are naturally good at this but most require training and support. Many of our clients are now using Harrison approach to do a thorough upfront analysis of the job role, create a robust job focused assessment, and identify the key engagement factors to ensure that they recruit and retain the best people.

When new recruits feel that their needs and aspirations are being acknowledged, when there is a good fit with what they enjoy doing and the requirements of the role they will be highly engaged and loyal to your business. This means you won’t waste time, money and effort on recruitment because it will be giving you a great return on investment.

If you would like to know more about this approach, or see some samples of the reports mentioned above, please get in touch with me at

Remember . . . Stay Curious!

With best regards,

David Klaasen 

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©David Klaasen – 2014