Recruiting Well Can Reduce Hidden Costs of Employee Turnover

July 18th, 2023 – SkillCycle

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Building a stellar team is no easy feat. It requires a delicate balance of insight and strategy when recruiting, so you can ensure you bring the right talent on board and avoid the hidden costs of employee turnover. 


Careful planning can help you determine where you have gaps and how to best grow your team in a sustainable way. “Building great teams requires deliberate planning, thorough vetting, and continuous support,” says Rebecca Taylor, Co-founder and CCO of SkillCycle. 


With a more thoughtful approach to recruiting the right people into the right roles, you’ll have a better chance of retaining employees long term and avoiding layoffs, even in tough economic times. Protecting your company from these losses is one of the key reasons why employee retention is important.


Adopting a proactive approach to developing your employees can also help you avoid a loss of valuable talent. Over 80% of survey respondents who had recently changed roles indicated they moved from one employer to another, according to McKinsey, signaling that to move up, employees felt compelled to leave their organizations. 


In this article on how better recruiting can help you avoid costly turnover, we’ll explore:


  • Understanding the hidden costs of employee turnover
  • Five steps to recruit and retain a well-aligned team
  • How to avoid layoffs and attrition 
  • A proactive approach to hiring and people management


Understanding the hidden costs of turnover

Hiring isn’t a small line item in most organizations, and the total cost goes beyond your financial investment. It includes the time, effort, and resources dedicated to finding, selecting, and onboarding the ideal candidates. 


However, losing people due to poor hiring decisions can cost far more. There are many causes of employee turnover that can hurt your bottom line. “From performance issues to attrition and layoffs, the consequences of overlooking proper recruitment practices can be far more costly to your organization,” says Taylor.


Poor hiring practices can result in a team full of employees who are either not a great fit for their jobs or who can do the job but are a poor fit for the company culture. 


Some new or growing businesses may hire too many people at once without mapping out how their budgets will support these employees long term. During the pandemic, some companies “went on a spending spree or over-invested in talent,” according to Gartner. Not surprisingly, these actions resulted in layoffs. 


Of course, there are financial repercussions when your investments in hiring and training are lost. But consider also what happens when you lose the knowledge and expertise of employees who have been with your company for some time. 


Team morale can suffer, even in the employees who remain with the company, driving down employee engagement and productivity. And don’t underestimate how layoffs may negatively impact your reputation and employer brand. 


While often viewed as a means to cut costs, losing significant portions of your workforce can cost your company more than you realize. Recent layoffs are costing companies billions of dollars, yet the savings seized in the short term don’t justify the long-term negative impact on profits, according to HBR.


5 steps to recruit and retain a well-aligned team

Once you understand why employee retention is important to the long-term success of your company, measures to keep your employees become necessary, not optional. 


Taking shortcuts in the hiring process or ignoring important aspects of alignment can lead to costly layoffs or elimination. Instead, carefully analyze what your organization needs to grow to build a team you can invest in and develop.


Here are five steps to develop more thoughtful hiring and retention practices:

1. Create a hiring strategy

Make a comprehensive hiring plan aligned with your long-term strategy and budget, avoiding the temptation to rush hiring just to fill roles you think you need. Prioritize the immediate hiring needs that support your company’s current needs and future growth, ensuring that each role’s contributions and long-term sustainability are backed by your budget. 

2. Target the right talent 

Your company will need a broad range of well-developed skills across its workforce as it grows. When hiring, seek to fill any skills gaps you know will help you drive progress toward organizational goals. Craft specific job postings to attract applicants who align with your organization’s needs. By narrowing your focus, you’ll receive fewer but more targeted applications, increasing the chances of finding candidates who fit well within your company in the long run.

3. Hire to fill critical gaps 

Consider what your organization needs for skills and knowledge when hiring, and look beyond traditional experience and credentials. Hiring for the same roles as every other company in your industry may not help differentiate you, but bringing on people who align well and fill key gaps in your capabilities will. Seek candidates who bring fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to your organization’s challenges.

4. Invest in onboarding

Emphasize the importance of effective employee onboarding as a critical phase to welcome new hires into your company culture and provide them with a solid foundation. Offer regular check-ins, constructive feedback, and opportunities for growth and development. With a robust onboarding program, you’ll enable new employees to envision a future within your organization and increase their contributions to your company. 

5. Manage ongoing performance 

Implement a proactive performance management system that offers continuous learning, aligns individual goals with business outcomes, and leverages data for more insightful performance evaluation. By providing ongoing feedback, regular check-ins, and coaching, you can nurture employee progress and bridge skills gaps while supporting progress toward personal and organizational goals. 


How to avoid attrition and layoffs

Businesses often resort to layoffs to reduce labor costs during economic downturns or when facing budgetary constraints. However, as much as layoffs can appear to be a quick and effective way to save money, employers and HR teams should thoroughly explore ways to avoid them. 


Through thoughtful hiring practices and retention strategies, companies can reduce layoffs and attrition and maintain a skilled and engaged workforce. “Layoffs can be a drastic and often unnecessary solution with lasting negative impacts on the business,” says Taylor.


Focus on bringing in the right people for the appropriate reasons every time you hire, and ensure your hiring follows the strategy you’ve laid out. Then offer ongoing opportunities for employees to build skills and progress forward so they feel inclined to stay and contribute where they are. 


A proactive approach to hiring and people management

Once you’ve built your team, supporting and nurturing them throughout every step of the employee lifecycle helps foster their personal and professional growth. These efforts help your company perform better, and can protect you from the hidden costs of employee turnover.


“Committing to better hiring practices helps ensure every team member has been added to your team with the best likelihood of success — for them and the company,” says Taylor.


Hiring the right people and offering them development opportunities that help them achieve their professional goals shows employees you’re willing to invest in their long-term success. 


With a more proactive approach, you’ll increase their job satisfaction, engagement, and motivation and create a supportive environment that values their contributions and well-being. These all help address the common causes of employee turnover that can hurt companies in the long run.


By prioritizing thoughtful and insightful hiring practices, companies can avoid costly mistakes and foster a strong, motivated team. Book a call with our customer success team to see what you can be doing to upgrade your recruiting strategy, and reduce workforce elimination.


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