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Oct 15, 2014

Addressing attraction and retention was cited as the top business challenge for 52 percent of employers in a recent HireRight survey.

Attracting quality talent and keeping them is vital, for obvious reasons, but employers are frequently shooting themselves in the foot by not following through on promises they made in the recruiting and hiring process.

“The average worker today stays at each of his or her jobs 4.4 years according to the most recent available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the expected tenure of the workforce’s youngest employees is about half that.”

Retention is going to be a really big issue

This quote from consultant Jeanne Meister refers to Millennials, the fastest growing segment of the workforce. Experts predict that by 2020, over half of the workforce will be comprised of Millennials. So as the number of Millennials entering the workforce increases, turnover will likely follow.

In other words, if retention is an issue now, it’s about to become a really big issue.

It makes perfect business sense to increase retention efforts, but it is also vital to identify the current practices that are driving employees away, not the least of which are unfulfilled promises. Here are three of them:

1. Lack of training

When your job ads, recruiters, and hiring managers all rave about each step of the way training, employees aren’t expecting to be handed a manual and wished the best of luck.

Neglecting to offer the training that you promise does a couple of things to sabotage your retention efforts.

  • First, you’re setting employees up for failure. No one wants to be crappy at their job. No one wants to feel clueless, or be seen as unqualified. Given the chance, your average worker wants to excel, but without the proper training, that can’t happen.
  • Second, the organization has immediately established that they will not be living up to the expectations that they set forth. This immediately creates distrust between employer and employee. It’s no small wonder that 25 percent of American workers do not trust their employers.

2. Policy changes

Like many of us, I waited tables through college. When I started with the company, I was told about their very generous week of paid vacation after one year.

For the service industry this was in fact very generous, and I considered it a real incentive for my dedication. As the end of my first year with the company approached, my excitement grew.

One month before I was eligible for my week of paid vacation, they retracted the benefit.

This policy change was beyond disappointing. I became bitter, disengaged, and downright angry. I now viewed this position as the dime-a-dozen job that it ended up being.

While such changes are a necessary evil in business, they are often handled very poorly. Those hired while this policy was still in effect could have been made still eligible, or some other incentive could have been offered in its place.

Needless to say, I did not stay with the company for very long after that. A recent survey revealed that 86 percent of companies expect recent financial market changes to affect employee benefits in the next year. In order to keep these cuts from impacting engagement, they have to be handled thoughtfully and fairly.

3. Shady recruiting

When an employee signs on they are told about the flexible hours, the optional overtime, and the raise they are going to get in just six month’s time. Before they know it, they’re working an 8-6, 50-hour week and now it’s “Oh, we meant you’ll be eligible for that raise in six months.

It’s not long before they look around and realize that this job looks an awful lot like the one they left to take this position.

Be sure that your recruiting team is part of these changes so they know what they can offer candidates, and what they might need to become more transparent about. If the requirements of a position are going to change drastically, it needs to be a discussion, not a situation in which good employees are steamrolled.

No employees expect their job or their employer to be perfect, but they do expect them to be honest. In fact, honesty and transparency were considered the most preferred company attributes for surveyed job seekers.

Establishing yourself as an honest employer can have drastic effects on your retention rates.

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