To Win the Hiring War, Focus on Retention Blog Feature


Denise Miller

By: Denise Miller on April 6th, 2021

To Win the Hiring War, Focus on Retention

Hiring well is only half the battle. Retaining top talent is where the war is won!

Finding the right person to join your team can be a challenge. Surprisingly, the real battle may be retaining that talent once you find it. Add a global pandemic, more employees working from home, less personal interaction with coworkers, managers and company leadership, and the fight is on to retain top talent.

Employees stay with organizations because they’ve built an attachment or positive connection to the organization. Find ways to help them connect to retain the talent you worked so hard to hire.

Start Building the Connection before Day 1

Proactively manage the time between offer acceptance and day one working for your company by filling this critical transition time with messages that helps them build attachment to your team and begins to loosen the bond with their old team. Some ways to do this might include:

  • Reach out to them on the day they plan to give notice to let them know you’re looking forward to them joining your team.
  • Send them a handwritten welcome note signed by their new team mates.
  • Have their new team make a fun welcome video so the candidate can start putting names and faces together prior to arrival.

Make the Most of Time Spent Onboarding

Onboarding can and should be so much more than training the new hire on process and procedures. Be sure to include planned opportunities for conversations to build connection:

  • To your culture—share stories that demonstrate your culture in the day-to-day activities of the team.
  • To their career development – talk about their career aspirations. Begin to build the basis for career mapping that can be further developed during upcoming performance evaluations.
  • To their feedback—let them know their feedback matters. Include polls and surveys as part of the onboarding to gather their thoughts on what went well and what suggestions they may have for improvement. Taking action on their feedback helps them see that their feedback matters.

Regularly Conduct Stay Interviews

A stay interview is a purposeful conversation to find out what is important to the employee and how your organization can engage and motivate them. It’s not another meeting or an informal chat in the breakroom. It’s not part of the performance appraisal process. It is a planned conversation to find out why they work for you, what drives them to come into work each day, what motivates them to build a career with you and even what may cause them to leave. Stay interviews are powerful tools to help you retain talent.

According to Gallup research, over half of exiting employees say that in the three months before they left, neither their manager nor any other leader spoke with them about their job satisfaction or future with the organization. In addition, the research showed 52% of voluntarily exiting employees said their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving their job.1

Benefits of a stay interview include:

  • Builds trust and increases communication
  • Continues to build a connection
  • Shows your employees you care about their thoughts and feelings
  • Gives you good insight and information to make positive changes within your organization

Begin stay interviews early in an employee’s tenure to avoid costly turnover. First-year turnover continues to plague organizations.

Over 1/3 of interviewees that exited their organization did it within the first year. Three in four employee turnovers are preventable.2

The ideal time to begin stay interviews with new hires varies by organization. Think about the people you’ve lost in the first year. When did they leave? If, on average they left within six months, do your first stay interview about 30-45 days before that.

Invest time in stay interviews and you may not have to invest it in recruiting replacements for your top performers.

Want to learn more about stay interviews? Visit our website and reach out to learn more!

  1. McFeely, S, and Wigert.B (2019, March 13) This Fixable Problem Costs U.S. Businesses $1 Trillion. Gallup.
  2. Work Institute 2020 Retention Report

Denise Miller

Denise Miller is a Senior Human Resources Consultant with PathShare® HR Services. She is a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Certified Professional and holds an additional Talent Acquisition specialty credential allowing her to help GreatAmerica customers be more successful within their hiring process. Her certification with the Activity Vector Analysis (AVA) allows her to assist in assessing talent for behavioral fit within the role they are being considered. Denise regularly conducts Professional Selling Skills® sales training classes to help support consultative selling skills. Prior to joining the PathShare team in 2013 Denise spent 10 years in a sales role at GreatAmerica working directly with dealers in the office equipment industry helping them grow their customer base.

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