Recruitment and Employee Retention for Small Businesses

Guest Blog from Shakira Joyner of HCHR


Employee recruitment and retention is a key issue facing many businesses and effective, professional advice on this matter can be hard to find.   For small businesses in particular, the staff turnover can be very high due to a number of factors; so these businesses are constantly looking for ways to encourage staff members to stay for longer periods of time.


Finding out why people are leaving is vital so a business owner can put in place measures to try to stop high levels of staff turnover.   The simple solution is to ask them directly ‘what their reason is for leaving’ when they hand in their notice.  You can use an exit interview form which allows you to ask a range of related questions. The individual may not feel comfortable telling you their reason, and this is where an organsiation like HCHR comes in.  An individual will be more comfortable and inclined to share the real reason that they are leaving with an independent, third party rather than someone employed directly by the company.



Staff Turnover

When it comes to a small business that can only pay staff the national minimum wage, then you may expect a high turnover, as some people will always be looking for a job that pays more money and won’t hesitate to leave when they find one.  However, you can plan for this expectation. Planning significantly reduces the impact on your business, as you will have a strategy in place to recruit new staff and include the costs within your budget.


Unplanned losses of good trained and experienced employees can be devastating for a business in terms of costs, loss of productivity and knock on impact on the remaining staff. Knowing why people leave is really helpful to prevent it happening again.


What’s more, when someone hands in their notice, in many cases it’s best to let them leave immediately.  Their efficiency and productivity, once they’ve handed in their notice, won’t be anywhere near as high as before, so you could be better off letting them go straightaway and finding a replacement as quickly as possible to pick up the workload.


Recruitment and Retention

It’s not always money that drives people to leave their job; sometimes it’s due to personal circumstances. Understanding why they joined your company in the first place (recruitment) and the reason whey they are leaving (retention) will give you better picture of what is important to that employee.  In other words, combining recruitment and retention information can be very powerful when it comes to managing employees’ expectations.


It is essential that when you are recruiting, that you take on the right people for your business. There is little point in recruiting somebody on minimum wage when they have previously been earning considerably more.  They will probably be using employment at your organisation as a stop gap and will leave as soon as they find a higher paid position.


When it comes to recruitment, it is important that the job is the correct fit for the individual and vice versa.   It is a fatal recruitment mistake to employ someone in a rush or in desperation.  From the potential employee’s perspective, they’d be happy to take just any job until something better comes along, so will accept a post that may not be ideally suited for them in the long term.  The business may need to take someone on urgently to pick up the workload,  following the departure of a staff member, so will take any candidate who fits the job description.  This person may not be right for the job, despite their qualifications.


Recruitment Process

When it comes to recruitment, businesses need to take a broader look at every possible candidate and not just rely on skills and qualifications. You should not ignore these attributes which will be crucial in some jobs;  but a business  should also look at other factors such as how they behave and interact in the interview, how far away they live, etc.


The individual may have the skills required for the job but does the job meet the needs of the individual?  This is important to prevent the employee leaving within a short period of time when something more suitable comes along.  Gaining an insight into a candidate’s needs is a skill in itself and it is always best to involve a recruitment specialist if you and your team are not experienced in these matters.


Businesses should also have in place an induction process when a new employee starts the job so that they have a clear understanding of the organisation and their role within the company.


Getting Recruitment Right

Getting your recruitment right is important to avoid wasting time and money.  Many businesses recognise this and so highly value the services of recruitment and human resources specialists such as HCHR.


We usually advise that for one vacancy, it is best to interview at least 10 candidates.  Some businesses may not have the time to follow this advice and so they employ us to conduct these interviews on their behalf.   At HCHR, we have extensive experience in helping small businesses in their recruitment process, ensuring that the most suitable candidates are appointed in line with both the business and the individual’s requirements.


Recruitment can be an expensive investment for many businesses so it is important to get it right first time to make the most of that investment.  By seeking specialist advice from experienced professionals can help to ensure that the turnover of employees is not so high.  Some businesses do not want to incur the costs of using an external business to carry out their recruitment, preferring to manage the process themselves.   They may however need help in planning and managing the recruitment process with advice and guidance on what to look for during interviews for example.

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