Bringing in talent starts at pre-hire and ends—or rather, begins all again—at rehire
By Marcus Mossberger
In the human capital world, organizations often look to create workforce strategies that address everything from hire to retire. It is a sentiment that is well-meaning, but one that frankly does not account for newer tools, resources, and trends that are contributing to the experiences of baby boomers (as they begin their mass exodus) and Millennials (as they begin their ascent into leadership roles). According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey, this group of workers, who are already emerging as leaders in technology and other industries, will comprise 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025. Understanding the characteristics and expectations of this and other generations, and how they fit with the cultural elements of your unique organization, should be the first point of emphasis as you develop your workforce strategy.
In order to get to know prospective employees better—meaning beyond how they represent themselves during the interview process—talent assessment tools have evolved to help organizations identify the behavioral DNA of current high- performing employees. These assessments leverage predictive analytics technology in order to develop performance profiles that identify core behavioral characteristics of top performers. This performance data reveals what makes outstanding employees unique so that organizations can hire candidates with similar qualities. Organizations can then use this knowledge to ensure they are evaluating future employees against the same set of characteristics as their best employees, before they even start the recruiting process. By having all candidates take the same assessment, organizations are then able to compare how well they “fit” within the organization from a cultural and behavioral perspective (as opposed to simply evaluating job seekers on experience or education related to the position). According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 27 percent of employers said a bad hire cost them more than $50,000. Adequately assessing a candidate’s fit is not just imperative for creating an ideal work environment, it has real cost implications as well.
Why Behavorial Fit is Important
A few months ago I struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to me on a flight. I quickly learned that she was a nurse, which piqued my interest as I spend most of my time working to improve employee performance and engagement in the healthcare industry. She mentioned that she was an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse, but occasionally she was asked to “float” to the medical surgical (Med-Surg) unit. I noticed that she rolled her eyes when she mentioned Med-Surg, so I asked her if she disliked being asked to float to that unit.
She explained that in the ICU she normally had one patient, which enabled her to get to know that patient and their family on a personal level. After all, not all patients are alike. Everyone responds differently to treatments and medications, and a nurse that can take the time to understand the nuances and unique characteristics of a patient, the better they can ensure the best care and best outcomes.
She went on to share that when she floats to Med- Surg, she ends up with five or six different patients with a wider variety of conditions and needs—not to mention more family members, which can significantly influence the interactions. She said she just didn’t like the ceaseless changes as current patients were discharged and new patients were admitted.
So, just like a patient is not a patient…a nurse is not a nurse. If she had taken an assessment prior to her hire, her manager would have known that she would be much more effective (not to mention happier) in the ICU than in Med-Surg. Matching each individual’s unique strengths, behavioral characteristics, and preferences inevitably results in lower turnover and increased employee engagement. And at the end of the day, the equation is pretty simple: happy nurses equals happy patients.
You’re Hired! Now What?
Making sure you are hiring the right individuals is just the beginning. Enhanced onboarding systems allow new employees to easily file new hire paperwork, take virtual “tours” of their organization, watch welcome videos from senior executives, and, in general, get a head start on acclimating to their new position well before their first official day of employment. At the same time, a new employee’s manager can receive an onboarding report based on data collected from the previously mentioned assessment, giving them clues into how to engage that employee in a way that reflects their unique characteristics.
The onboarding experience is the first real impression a new employee develops about their new employer. According to the Aberdeen Group, 86 percent of new hires decide to stay (or leave) their new employer within their first six months of employment, and 69 percent of them are more likely to stay longer than three years if they experience well-structured onboarding. Everyone has experiences that demonstrated the inherent challenges of HR, IT, and the hiring manager clumsily piecing together all of the paperwork, system access, policy education, personal introductions, and other elements that contribute to this first impression. Today, employers have access to tools that provide a tailored experience with structured, sequential steps through all of these different elements, resulting in these new employees getting up-to-speed and productive faster than the typical six months.
Once the right individuals are hired and onboarded, managers need to begin focusing on retention. Average worker tenure is changing drastically from the past. According to Bersin by Deloitte, employees today will have 11 jobs by the age of 45, and job tenure for under 35-year-olds is two and a half years. Organizations need to begin planning for this switch.
The fact is that while many employees buy the notion that the grass is greener at the company across the street, they frequently—and quickly—learn that it isn’t. It may have appeared that way from a distance, but when actually in it, the weeds become more noticeable. This frequently results in the boomerang effect: the employee returning to their previous employer.
I once worked for an organization that was vehemently against any rehires since senior leadership felt that the employee’s perceived lack of loyalty couldn’t be overlooked. But let’s face it: Lack of loyalty goes both ways these days. The employment contract between employee and employer has changed. We recognize the temporary nature of projects, the need for flexibility in working from remote locations, and the benefit of experiencing a variety of industries and positions. And in reality, the number of independent contractors versus full-time employees is expected to increase dramatically over the next five years. MBO Partners projects that one in two American workers will either move to independent work or spend at least part of their working hours as self-employed professionals by 2020.
Forward-thinking organizations are leveraging offboarding solutions that make the exit process informative and effective. The goal is to maintain a good relationship with the individual, despite their decision to seek out another opportunity. This can be achieved by leveraging alumni networks and social tools that enable the company to maintain regular communication with the previous employee. Some may return as contractors, while others may never return. But even if they don’t come back, providing them with a positive experience as they leave can influence how they describe your organization to family, friends, and other potential employees in their direct network.
So this whole process actually begins at pre-hire and it doesn’t really end at retirement: It begins again at rehire. Organizations with sophisticated human capital practices will enable the appropriate infrastructure, systems, and process to support this new paradigm. Others will find themselves in a lawn full of weeds.
Marcus Mossberger is human capital management strategy director at Infor