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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Recruiting or Retention Is Just Like the Chicken or the Egg – Part 1

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Sixty-two percent of CEO’s say they will be hiring more in 2014 according to a PwC report and yet Gallup reports some of the lowest employee engagement and morale numbers even with the economy improving. So what’s more important: is it recruiting or retention for your HR and hiring teams?

The battle between HR and Recruiting is centered on two things recruiting versus retention. What’s more important? How can companies choose between filling a leaky bucket or filling those leaks through employee engagement and development strategies?

As professionals we understand that recruitment and retention both have value that impact the bottom line. The risk and expense invested in talent are the highest in the early stages of the talent growth life cycle. From talent outreach activities to the sign on bonuses, relocation packages and training of the new hires, upfront recruitment costs can run three to four times the normal rate.

Retention is managed with the help of insurance, vacation, holiday pay and the long-term benefit packages that have been designed to keep the newbies loyal, gainfully hired in hopes to retain and develop human capital.  This approach is designed to grow the initial value of the talent investment, however, it is possible that the benefits being offered alone are merely maintaining the employees. The traditional benefit packages are not rewarding the attributes today’s companies need to compete. Furthermore, the benefit packages are not meeting the needs of today’s most stellar professionals. This is the reason for the revolving door of today’s workforce. A very expensive door.

This makes sense doesn’t it? Hiring new people who have a fresh approach to solving your organization’s challenges just seems easier, smarter and faster. Bringing on new people to offer new ideas and a new life into the organization seems to be a key strategy for many of today’s leaders who want to innovate and compete in the market.

Especially in today’s digital era that is riddled with disruption and change, companies understand the need to innovate. Innovation is all about the “new” and the “different.” This is an exciting time for those who are change agents. Change agents who have ideas and take initiatives to implement the ideas are coveted traits that recruiters are courting today.

Retaining talent that is innovative in today’s digital world on the other hand is not that easy. For many years, change agents have been out-casted and have not been the “top in class” in companies. The ideas and enthusiasm that was once alive in some of the humans sitting in your company’s cubicles has either dimmed or completely gone dark. Why? The traditional benefit packages reward employees for longevity and not innovation.

Have your benefit packages and retention programs turned yesterday’s change agents into coasters? You may need to innovate your own retention strategy before you make the decision to just cut your losses and investing more resources into recruitment.

Managing human capital in today’s disruptive market requires new and innovative strategies for both recruiting and retaining. Both are important areas of investment. I’ll write more about specific strategies that you can implement to help engage talent in your recruiting and retention activities in the Part 2 of this series, stay tuned.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

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