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Hiring Advice Engaging your workforce 4 ways SMEs can improve employee retention through better hiring practices
4 ways SMEs can improve employee retention through better hiring practices

4 ways SMEs can improve employee retention through better hiring practices

One of the most pertinent topics on the minds of both HR professionals and business owners is the ability of their organizations to retain top-quality talent. High turnover means increased hiring and training costs while at the same time valuable talent is lost to competitors. Thus, here are 4 ways that SMEs can improve their employee retention strategies through better hiring practices in order to retain talented staff.

1) Job description

Employees become dissatisfied and unhappy for a variety of reasons such as; insufficient remuneration or a general sense of dissatisfaction with their current job. Often, hiring managers tend to overlook the importance of providing employees with a clear and concise understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

This situation is usually seen in SMEs where a combination of low budgets, unrealistic expectations and general lack of understanding result in poorly written job advertisements with extremely vague job descriptions.

This usually results in a situation where both parties i.e. employer and employee possess wildly different expectations and on the long-term, the employer feels that the said employee is not performing well while the said employee has little to no understanding of what is required of him/her.

Thus, this issue can be nipped in the bud by taking the extra effort to craft a well-written job advertisement. Ideally, a well-written job advertisement should clearly state the title, job description, responsibilities and expectations. Thus, this gives candidates a good sense of what will be expected of them and allows them to decide if your organization is the right place.

2) Adopting and honest and open policy

Unscrupulous employers may choose to deliberately misrepresent themselves in order to appear more attractive and appealing to a larger pool of candidates. However, this behavior is more than likely to hurt rather than help the organization. Firstly, the employee will quickly realize that he/she has been deceived and will leave within a short span of time with little-no-notice.

Secondly, the said employee will also spread negativity to other members of the organization and this can lead to a building sense of dissatisfaction which on the long-term may see staff members resign en-masse. In the worst case scenario, the employee may even take legal action against your organization for deliberate  misrepresentation which will not do you any favours.

Instead, employers should speak frankly and openly during the hiring process which gives candidates a good idea of what is expected of them and also what life would be like in the organization. Also, employers need to be candid about the obstacles faced by the organization and also any challenges that he/she may face. Most candidates would appreciate such candor and this can later prevent candidates from feeling that they have been misled or cheated.

3) Screening candidates

As mentioned in our previous article, a great work culture goes a long way in helping an organization retain quality staff. A positive work culture is key to maintaining staff morale and also vital for any employee engagement initiatives.

Thus this is where SME owners and HR professionals play an especially important role. During the hiring process, potential candidates need to be thoroughly screen to determine if they would be a good fit for the organization and if they are able to adapt to an organization’s culture.

While a candidate with excellent skills and impeccable references may seem like a great bet on paper, personality and cultural differences can be disastrous for any organization. At best, the said candidate may have some minor difficulty fitting in which can be eliminated over time. However, in more serious cases this can lead to severe disharmony in the workplace which then may result into producing toxic staff, falling productivity levels and increased staff turnover.

Hence, during the initial interview candidates should be given a thorough briefing of the organization’s work culture, mission, vision and beliefs. This gives candidates an idea of what life with the organization would be like and if he/she would be a suitable fit. The hiring party should be clear and direct about the organization and answer and all questions truthfully and without any bias.

4) Getting the team involved

In most SMEs, candidates tend to be interviewed by either the business owner themselves or members of the HR department. Often the viewpoint and opinions of the candidate’s prospective manager or colleagues are not taken into account.

Hence, the candidate hired may be wholly unsuited to the role due to personality differences of culture clashes. In stark contrast, Google, chooses to involve employees from various departments during the hiring process to obtain a more objective view of the candidate.

This allows for Google to determine the candidate’s suitability for the role while also sending a strong message about the organization’s commitment to meritocracy. Also, this discourages cronyism among hiring managers who would favour former colleagues and friends.

By taking into account various perspectives during the hiring process, thin slice errors are reduced; thin slice errors being defined as small moments of observation influencing the outcome of a much larger decision.

SMEs seems to be fighting an uphill battle in the war for talent, but it may not necessarily put them at the losing end. SMEs do have their own advantages, they are more agile compared to larger corporations. They just need to cleverly utilize modern HR management techniques and improve their employee retention strategies such as the ones above, to attract those top talent.

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