Hire Great People with Limited or No Budget – Part 3: How to Retain Top Talent

This is part 3 of a three part series on how to build great teams with little to no budget. Read part 1 here and part 2 here.

Candidate Experience is tied to recruiter experience (an overwhelmed recruiter can’t provide a great candidate experience), but recruiter experience is tied to employee experience. If you are fighting constant churn, recruiters are fighting a two front war (growth and back-fill). But when you retain your existing employees, you make the recruiter experience infinitely easier.

Improve new employee orientation

Orientation establishes new employee’s perspectives. It allows you to tell the story of the business. You get to build excitement and immerse new people into an immediate sense of belonging. What you do here matters. Is their laptop set up and ready to go or do you make them wait a day or two (or longer). Do they have what they need to jump in? Do you have a set of activities planned (meeting people, training, information access)? Teach them about your products and your processes to immediately bring them ‘into the know’ and make them part of the team.

Use orientation to ask new employees what they are hearing. Get their perspective as a fresh set of eyes so you can see what is clear and what needs work. Let new people immediately contribute.

People do what they are asked – provide them content for their LinkedIn profile, have them connect to existing employees and update their networks.

Keep your employees updated and educated

Encourage the business to have quarterly update meetings to keep employees in the know – cross share information and celebrate wins. Announce new people and remind the team of the openings you are recruiting for. Allow non-leaders to present and be part of the conversation. Share client wins and interesting stories.

Create a safe environment for employees to ask leadership questions, any questions. What is happening with the finances? Are we growing? Why are we building this new product or providing a new offer?

Continual learning is a key component of any program. Employees want to learn more, they crave information. Creating structured times where they get to learn – be it more product centric, process centric, or career oriented opportunities for learning – keep employees engaged. These can be a combination of lunch and learns and half day sessions where content is king. Leverage others in the organization to help build and teach.

Great employees thrive when they have great mentors and career paths ahead of them. Help your leaders become the mentors your employees need. Give them the tools, words, empathy, and more importantly perspective, to help employees grow within the business and at times, grow out of the business.

Employee feedback and empowerment is crucial

Many managers don’t know how to run a 1:1. Build 1:1’s that give the employees the reins to control the meeting. Do they have questions that need to be answered? Do they just need to shoot the shit? Do they need to vent? Do they need help? 1:1’s are not for managers – they are for the employees. Help your leaders to develop employees through the 1:1 structure.

Give employees feedback – good, bad, or just another way to think about it. Make sure your managers know how to provide good feedback. Employees with a growth mindset thrive in environments where they are challenged and given feedback with the intention to make them better.

Employees that get to solve problems, make decisions, contribute, and drive change own the business. Employees who are instructed what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, with no opportunity to contribute, impact change or make things better will leave you. If you want to keep your employees, keep them engaged.

Survey your employees – a lot. Survey after the onboarding process – ask about the recruiting and onboarding processes. Survey after 6 months – what’s working? Survey everyone. Find out what you are doing well. What do you need to do better? Don’t resent the employees who give you tough feedback – they nearly always do this because they care. And employees who care go well over and above for your business if you listen – but if you don’t listen, then you lose them. And always run exit interviews. Not HR. Not the Manager. A neutral party. There is always something to be gained in these interactions.

Focus on continued success

You don’t have to be a 50K person company to build a top-notch employee base, but you have to be a top-notch recruiter to do it. Hone your own story telling skills and influence into the business. Recruiting is never a singular event whereby you talk to a candidate and they join or the don’t. Recruiting is the most cross-functional role in the business and the job that makes all other jobs possible. Congratulate yourself on being the hub of the business, and then immediately deputize everyone (and I mean everyone) as affiliate recruiters and start finding those awesome hires!