The pivotal role of recruitment in workforce retention and wellbeing

Happy businesswoman shaking hands with colleage after successful meeting

Often in organisations, recruitment, wellbeing and learning & development are separate departments. This is inevitable for companies of a certain size. What is crucial is that these departments work in harmony as matching pieces of the puzzle that form the workforce’s experience, which in turn determines retention and productivity. 

When it comes to employee wellbeing and talent retention, recruitment sets the tone as the first point of entry to a candidate’s journey in an organisation. It is in the recruitment process, that the potential employee starts developing an impression of what it would be like to work at the organisation, from the nature of the interview process, questions asked, to the dynamics of interactions which hint at company culture and values.

Back to Basics

Ultimately the purpose of recruitment is for the employer and employee to see if they are a match. But this end goal can easily get lost in the process. It is very easy for both sides (candidate and employer) to slide into a particular ‘character’ to fulfil the perceived expectation of the other. This can be an unconscious act but it can have detrimental consequences with varying degrees of severity, of which turnover cost is the simplest form. 

It’s crucial to go beyond the conventional processes and recruitment steps. Designing circumstances during the interview process can reveal any blind spots in evaluation. Equally important is for organisations to portray an authentic embodiment of their values and culture throughout the process.

An effective recruitment process aims to attract candidates that not only have the desired technical skills and qualifications but who also align with an employer’s company cultural values. When potential employees feel empowered to be transparent about their personality and capabilities, and how they will fit in with their colleagues and organisation’s ethos, they are more likely to be engaged at work and thrive. 

There is rarely ever a perfect match but it is vital to have clarity around key indicators and future success determinants for any particular role in an organisation, and ensure that the recruitment process is designed on a foundation of transparency and effective communication.

Entry interviews > Exit Interviews

Exit interviews can be a very useful source of information that can guide future HR decision making and processes. But, at the point of the exit interview, the damage is already done. The employee has already decided the employer is no longer a workplace match.

If organisations are looking to shift to prevention, effectively reducing their attrition rate, and retain their key talents, they must embrace the importance of ‘entry interviews’ and make that a key part of their onboarding process.

Retaining talent hinges upon having a deep understanding of their priorities. So long as benefits, rewards and wellbeing initiatives are dictated and decided by management, they won’t ‘hit the spot’. Even if they are based upon employee surveys, they are at best, based on averaged opinions.

The key term here is ‘Personalisation’ and touching base with the employees as they go through different stages and life events that redirect their priorities and evolving needs. 

Effective Internal Communications

The level of a person’s wellbeing may be informed by objective data but it is predominantly a subjective account of the person’s state. In other words it boils down to ‘how we feel’. In a work context, this is shaped by a variety of parameters such as how fulfilling we find our jobs, how aligned it is with our values, the level of challenge, and our interactions with colleagues and customers.

The role of the manager and direct reporting line(s) cannot be understated. Equally important is how the ‘different arms’ of human resources management including recruitment, learning & development, diversity & inclusion, and wellbeing, are interconnected, communicating amongst themselves and with the corresponding managers and teams. 

If you find that your attrition rate is high, one of the crucial areas that should be examined is your recruitment approach. How candidates are selected and how you ensure selected candidates are a close match to the job description, allocated teams, work arrangement and organisational culture, are the critical factors. 

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About the author:

Dr Beeta Balali-Mood is a scientist (PhD, medicinal chemist) and the founder & director of Forvard, a workforce optimisation consultancy with a transdisciplinary approach to workforce health & productivity. Forvard partners with organisations to address the most pressing human capital obstacles in the workforce life-cycle, from recruitment to presenteeism, absenteeism & burnout. Beeta founded Forvard to bring cutting-edge scientific thinking to workplace wellbeing, enabling businesses to address workforce problems at their root cause.

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