Now You've Got Them, How to Keep Them
volume 2 number 7
You've worked hard, spent a lot of money, and beat out some pretty impressive competition to hire that young genius from Stanford. But now that you've got her, is there any guarantee she'll stay for even a year or two? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding "No."
High employee turnover is a real problem everywhere, but it is particularly pervasive among IS (Information Systems) professionals, people whose skills are in such demand that companies engage in bidding wars - and in some cases, a few dirty tricks - to recruit them. This means that managers are constantly looking for new ways to keep their stars happy.
A recent article on employee retention in Computerworld magazine provided a list of cost-effective techniques, perks, and considerations that can help keep workers loyal. One of their most important suggestions, which applies to any business, was "hire more carefully." And one of the best ways to do that, of course, is to interview well. It's the corporate equivalent of preventive medicine.
Too often, however, employers take the "play now, pay later" approach. That is, they concentrate on the technical skills required for a position, and ignore the equally essential, but more elusive, behavioral qualities that make a candidate a good match for their corporate culture. Yet things like personality, level of motivation, and personal goals all play a large role in determining whether or not an employee stays with a company. Even people who are enormously successful in their jobs may resign in frustration from a new job if they don't feel comfortable in a particular work environment.
Computerworld also advises employers to "get out of the way." In other words, look for employees who will fulfill your goals - and theirs - without constant monitoring. Share your vision of what you want to accomplish, and then hire people willing to make that vision a reality.
Finally, once you've hired the most talented and "culture-friendly" people you can find, there are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of keeping them. Improving performance reviews and internal company communications is important. So is offering special training and making new recruits feel accepted by putting them to work immediately.
Nevertheless, the groundwork for good working relationships is laid in that first interview. And that is why our behavioral interviewing techniques are so effective. They are designed to identify candidates' intellectual, interpersonal, and motivational competencies, as well as their technical skills and knowledge.