Today’s workforce is more competitive than ever. Remnants of the recession that hit a few years ago still exist, especially in the number of people still looking for jobs. For every job opening, there are more applicants than ever, and they are increasingly picky about the jobs they’re interested in. They want something that is worth their while, where they can acquire new experiences and fine-tune their skills while advancing their careers.

This means that companies can’t be passive in any part of hiring or retention. If they want top talent, employers have to be smarter in attracting, recruiting, and retaining candidates. Attracting the right candidates is part of it, but companies then also have to keep employees feeling engaged and appreciated. Too many companies are successful at the initial stages of attracting a candidate, only to drive the good hires away later.

But all is not lost. When a company becomes aware of the ways in which they might be driving top people away, they are that much closer to solving the problem. Here are 6 ways to avoid driving away top talent:

  1. Get personal.
    Technology has brought many great things to the world of recruiting and HR, but it has also made interactions a lot less personal. While applicant tracking software (ATS) and web applications have helped streamline the recruitment process, their perceived arbitrariness and impersonal nature have also turned job seekers off. To avoid creating frustration for candidates, try using a personal touch. Have a hiring manager send candidates an email when the position has closed, thanking them for applying and encouraging them to check back for future openings.
  2. Administer pre-employment tests.
    When job seekers send their resumes into the void of an applicant pool, the frustration of never knowing whether they used the right keywords can run them right out the door. Consider administering pre-employment skills tests to help applicants feel as though something is actually within their control. Plus, asking job seekers to take pre-employment skills tests shows that your company wants to work with the best and most talented people.
  3. Don’t be a tyrant.
    Employees can tell very easily when a manager is only looking out for Number One. Nobody likes feeling used, and managers who don’t watch out will drive away top employees in the blink of an eye. Encourage managers to think of themselves as mentors just as much as bosses. This will help create an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect, where employees can learn from their supervisors and grow into those positions themselves later.
  4. Focus on output.
    In the 21st century, everyone multitasks. Employees who are expected to spend every minute of an 8-hour day hard at work will be driven away in a flash. Certainly, it’s important to make sure employees understand they can’t spend the entire day surfing the web or checking their social media accounts, but if the output is good and the work is being accomplished, there’s no reason to crack down so hard. Many top performers can produce great work while also taking some mental breaks during the day. As long as their work is top-notch, let them.
  5. Communicate better. Nobody likes being left in the dark. When it comes to their work and their livelihood, employees need to know what’s going on. When an organization doesn’t effectively communicate with employees, the lack of transparency can quickly become a reason for them to leave. Keep channels of communication open and share as much as possible with employees so that they feel informed. Open communication is a two-way street, so make sure to listen as well. Asking for feedback is paramount in letting top talent know their ideas matter.
  6. Broken down bureaucracy.
    How frustrating is it to notice something doesn’t work as well as it could, but when you offer a solution, you’re told, “Sorry, but the policy/rules/way-it-has-always-been-done don’t allow that.” Company bureaucracy that erects roadblocks at every turn will have talented employees running for the hills. Instead, try to encourage new ideas and entrepreneurship. Ask employees how they would do things if they had the chance, and get their perspectives on the business. Not only will you prevent the bureaucracy from bogging everyone down, but you might actually get some revolutionary ideas from your top talent.

What are some other ways companies drive top talent away, and how can they prevent it?

Adina Miron

3 Comments

  • Avatar Cathy Jones says:

    Most employers, sad to say, do a better job of driving talented people away than reeling them in, both during the selection process and after the talented person comes on board as a new employee. They don’t do it intentionally, of course. They can’t see how their systems, policies and attitudes frustrate and repel great people.

  • Avatar Martin K. says:

    Having managers recruiting for their own departments or being part of the process at a certain point would be beneficial for the company. If they are not using assessment tests, the time for recruiting will continue to expand and that will lead to losing good employees.

  • Avatar Lynda P. says:

    There are a lot of changes companies could make to retain their top performers. I think it should start with the recruiting process (which is sometimes completely computerized), more open communication with the top talent, and bending the internal policies if needed to keep the value in the company.

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