3 Strategies To Retain Your
Top Talents in 2021

by Freya Scammells

How To Optimize Employee Retention


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30 JUNE 2021
Do you recall a time when you hired someone only to find out within a few months that they weren't going to stick around?

Maybe their learning was too slow. Maybe they were just bad at keeping track of time.
Maybe some management staff had already clashed with them.

Your recruiting, onboarding, training, and compensation have taken up a lot of time and money. But you still know there’s no way it'll work. Letting them go will be costly for all concerned. And then, a few months later, the inevitable occurs: the employee jumps before being pushed.
Everyone loses. Let’s leave the calculations for another time. But after including both direct and indirect expenses that disastrous hire has, conservatively, cost your company in excess of $100k.

Certainly not an unreasonable figure in the A.I and Machine Learning sector!

Improving retention can, therefore, be one of the most productive things you can do for your business.
Effective and intelligent planning can save you (and, possibly, the dissatisfied candidate) a lot of financial, social and emotional heartache. It will help you identify and employ the best candidate for the job.

Here are 3 very effective strategies to optimise employee retention:

📌 To get better applicant shortlists, stop employing contingency-based recruiters

Instead of engaging one (or more) recruiters on a contingency basis, engage one on a retainer basis instead. The former involves paying a recruiter only if you end up hiring one of their candidates whilst the latter is paid a percentage of their fee upfront.

Research shows that contingency recruiters fill only about 20% of listed vacancies. Such recruiters are not necessarily incompetent or lazy but are competing with other recruiters. As a result, they will not be fully committed or focussed and devote only a small percentage of their time to successfully completing their task.

Retainer recruiters, on the other hand, have some financial security from the start and be better placed to devote more time and effort on your behalf - they will be invested in delivering for you. You will not, therefore, have to settle for a good candidate out of a mediocre field. Instead, it is highly likely that you will find the strongest candidate every time.

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📌 Involve candidates in the decision-making process to determine their level of commitment

As a rule, job seekers perceive their involvement in the hiring process to be limited to submitting a CV, talking to a recruiter, and attending an interview. Credentials and expertise help you determine their qualifications, but are they a good indicator of whether they are excited about the job? It is possible to get an applicant who accepts the job because of the greater pay or title but leaves after a few months because they miss their former job.

You'll be able to tell who is serious about gaining the job and who is just putting their name up on the spur of the moment if you make them jump through a few hiring hoops during the application process.

With the candidate, conduct a behaviour evaluation and competency quiz.
The results are not only educational and enlightening but can also accurately reflect the candidate’s true level of effort.

The amount of time and effort invested in these activities can reveal a lot about a candidate’s personality.

📌 Behavioural Questionnaires should be used prior to the interview stage

Most companies recruit people based on their talents and experience, and fire them if they don't perform well.

So, before you offer a position to a candidate, why not research into their personality type?
Few companies actually perform behavioural research.
And even if they do, it will invariably be as a last-minute addition - far too late in the process to be beneficial.

One creative use of this technology is to evaluate your best achievers in comparable or identical tasks and build a Benchmark Profile against which future prospects may be measured.

How long will a new employee stay if they're an introvert who prefers to play it safe whilst your top employees are highly engaged, creative, and self-motivated? Alternatively, how will natural extraverts (who need like-minded colleagues as much as they need oxygen) fit into quieter, lower tempo, more subdued environments?

Inconvenient and costly hiring mistakes are rarely resolved once the new employee begins working.

It is therefore both sensible and financially pragmatic to intelligently evaluate your hiring strategies and set yourself and your recruiters (and candidates) up for inevitable success.

Here at ReflectionX, we can help you make the very best decision. Our executive search, headhunting and strategic recruitment expertise as well as our talent acquisition are all at your disposal.

Get in touch today!

About the Author

Freya supports the tech talent toolbox arm of Reflection X where she is coaching technologists to achieve their full potential. With over 10 years of experience within the Tech and AI recruitment space, she has been from working closely with thousands individuals and leaders during hiring processes while partnering with very early stage start-ups all the way to some of the top AI Labs in the world.