Recruiting and retaining talented employees is a constant priority for any right-minded business. But the global economic downturn has created a workplace dynamic that portends a disturbing, post-Great Recession trend.
The layoffs, cutbacks and stress inflicted on employees have left them discontented and disengaged. Employee job satisfaction is at its lowest level since The Conference Board began measuring it in 1987. A 2009 survey by Right Management found that 60% of employees have made the decision to leave their current employer when the economy improves. Another 21% are considering it.
That means four out of every five workers are planning to, or at least contemplating, leaving their current employer! What can companies do to avoid being overrun by this pent up employee turnover?
First, they must shift their attention from workforce reduction to workforce retention – creating a healthy, engaging work environment that cultivates employee loyalty. This tactic is pretty intuitive, though companies’ execution of retention strategies can be wanting.
How to create a workplace that induces loyalty is a topic for another day. The focus of this post is a second, equally important tactic for responding to the looming turnover threat. It’s a much less intuitive response, and one that many companies overlook.
While the retention side of the equation is undeniably important, companies must also pay attention to the other side of the ledger – capitalizing on the opportunity to attract new talent from other organizations who aren’t successful in keeping their employees.
In contrast to retention strategies, this complementary approach focuses on individuals who aren’t even employed by the firm. Rather, it’s about creating an employer brand that the right people will find appealing, and then choreographing a recruiting experience that successfully draws the most desirable talent into the company.
As I’ve written in the past (see my 2009 New York Times article), creating a compelling employer brand and a distinctive recruiting process has less to do with human resource techniques and more to do with customer experience management.
By viewing employment candidates through a customer lens, companies can take their talent acquisition practices to an entirely new level. They can create a recruiting experience that amplifies their employer brand and engages top talent.
For the companies that do this successfully, the benefits will be significant. Instead of being drowned by the Turnover Tsunami, these firms will be riding the wave to vastly superior performance.