Getting Ahead Recruitment August 25, 2022

Struggling to hire and retain talent? Here’s what you can do about it.

Is your business struggling to hire and retain the people you need? Here’s your solution.

Ahead of her upcoming Vistage talk, we spoke with co-founder of Quarsh Lucy James to find out why most businesses approach their hiring process the wrong way - and how they can do it better. 

“What we’ve found over the years is that companies can improve how they recruit - but they choose not to,” Lucy explains. “And they choose not to because it’s difficult, time-consuming, and much easier to send over to HR and let that be their problem.” 

But the problem, according to Lucy, actually lies with the chief executives.“If the chief executives get recruitment right, then everything else is a lot easier.” 

The way to get recruitment right is by having in place a strong recruitment strategy. Read on to find out how.

Sign up here for Lucy’s Vistage talk ‘Recruitment as a Strategy’ on September 14th.


The dangers of neglecting your recruitment strategy 

So, what happens in the absence of a robust recruitment strategy? 

“This might sound patronising, but you don’t hire the right people,” Lucy says. 

Far too often, businesses hire too quickly or hire based on technical skills and neglect to measure candidates against how well they fit into their business’ culture.

“You then end up with somebody joining who doesn’t fit well into the team,” Lucy explains. “And it’s like a little thorn in a well-oiled machine that makes the whole thing start to clunk.”

As a result, the whole team starts to lose performance - creating a ripple effect throughout the company and causing the entire company's performance to drop, too. “All down to hiring the wrong person in the first place.

“And whose fault is that?” asks Lucy. “It’s often not the candidate’s fault, but the fault of the person that hired them.”

Not only that, but letting that person go can have a long-term impact on their future career and financial stability. “There’s a shadow cast over them, as far as their future employer is concerned. We have a responsibility to do better.

“Good recruitment means that everybody wins.”


The key to hiring the right people

Getting your recruitment strategy right is about two key things working together in harmony: your employer branding and your process. 

Your employer branding is how your business presents itself to the general public. It includes who you are and what you stand for as a business. It also needs to be authentic, realistic and truthful, according to Lucy. 

Then, there’s process. This includes how you’re going to work out what type of person you need, how you’re going to find them, how you’ll target them, and how you’ll hire them effectively.

“And, quite often, we forget to join those two together,” Lucy adds.

When a business starts its hiring process without having considered who it is and what it stands for, this can cause a level of discomfort for the candidate. 

This is because they might have an impression of that business based on its online employer branding that its hiring managers, office environment or job advert don’t quite align with. As a result, they’re more likely to skip applying for that role, perform badly during their interview or even decline your job offer. All because of that level of discomfort. 

“Even if the hiring manager wants to hire them, the candidate might think: ‘I’m not sure. I don’t feel safe here. This isn’t somewhere that feels good.’ And they’ll say no,” Lucy says. 

“So, if we imagine we’ve done that the other way around and we’ve thought about our culture and process from the very beginning. And the interview goes well and the person you meet is fabulous and everything feels great all the way through, it’s much more likely that you’ll get a yes from them - even if it’s less than their salary expectations. Because they feel safe.”

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It’s not just about hiring

But, it isn’t just about hiring. Once you’ve hired the right people, how do you keep them? 

“Recruitment and retention are two sides of the same coin,” Lucy says. “If you get recruitment right, then you can often retain people properly, too.

“It’s, again, one of those things that people don’t think about because they think it takes too long or it’s too difficult. Rolling out a programme of this sort takes about six months and it takes continuous effort.” 

But it’s key to retaining your most valuable employees.

Quarsh has identified nine levers to retention, Lucy explains:

  1. Culture
  2. Management skills 
  3. Motivation and engagement 
  4. Training and development 
  5. Employer branding
  6. Environmental and social governance 
  7. Wellbeing
  8. The basics
  9. Data

And a great way to start thinking about these things is to run a wide-ranging cultural engagement survey, says Lucy. 

“Consider running a cultural engagement survey that has 100 different questions and a number of different topics - from ‘how do you feel about your managers?’ to ‘what motivates you?’ and ‘how do you feel about your working environment?’ And so on.”

Then, you can look at all the data you’ve received back from employees and determine what your business needs to do more of and what you need to focus on. And then do something about it. 

“There’s no magic bullet, no magic answer,” Lucy says. “It takes conscious effort.”


Final thoughts

“Recruitment and retention don’t just happen by accident,” says Lucy.

To successfully attract and retain the right people, you need to make a conscious effort and make it a company-wide responsibility. 

“It isn’t just the problem of HR. In fact, recruitment in particular isn’t an HR problem at all,” says Lucy. “It’s a strategic problem.” 

Recruitment and retention should be part of your business’ strategic agenda. 

“By far, the best thing to do is to focus on what you need, recruit really well, and then focus on your ability to deliver their role in the best possible way.”

Thank you to Lucy for taking part in this interview. 

To learn more about how to recruit and retain employees in today’s marketplace, tune in to Lucy’s Vistage talk on September 14th

image via adobe stock by Freedomz

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