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Filtering & Retaining Talent: Where Recruiting & Human Resources Meet

By Robert Mattson, Director of Marketing for Talent Management, ADP®


Finding in 2002 vs. filtering in 2012 — it used to be that finding the right talent was the biggest challenge a recruiter had, and in a way it still is. The difference is that 10 years ago the problem was marketing a position to get the attention of potential candidates — now it’s filtering the flood of resumes. One position posted on a website or job board can bring in thousands of applicants, and most of these candidates aren’t qualified or aren’t a fit for the culture of hiring organization.


Yet we live in the era of bulk candidacy. A quick email invitation, uploading a resume and hitting the apply button are all it takes to become another candidate. Corporate web postings, job boards, LinkedIn® and Facebook® are just some of the places where a reasonably savvy candidate can search for positions, and automated agents even find and suggest potential positions. And in a time when 52 percent of executives view social networking as an efficient recruiting tool (SHRM Research Spotlight: Social Networking Websites and Staffing, August 2011), the circumstances will only exacerbate.


Better Filters, Less Administrative Tedium


Can recruiters quickly answer the following questions?

  • Is the candidate legally able to work for my company?
  • Has the candidate passed background screening and drug testing?
  • What are the best sources for candidates for this type of job?
  • Do our top performers for this job share any unique backgrounds, competencies or accreditations?


HR professionals spend 58 percent of their time on administration (After the Transformation: Achieving Strategic HRADP Research Institute, April 2008), so they need new and better tools to make sure the screening process yields the best and brightest for an effective, successful onboarding.


In other words, they need their recruiters to have better filters, more than the resume scanning of the past. What recruiters now need in the way of filtering technology is more in-depth, because it’s too expensive to hire the wrong person, and with each step further down the path to being an employee, the costs mount. And they mount even faster for successful companies. Those companies, especially, know that investing in their people is one of the only ways to stay successful.


Negative Halo Effect


Losing an employee has a negative halo effect. The impact comes in three stages; before, during and after their departure. In a recent seminar, the speaker said that unengaged employees can do one of two things: quit and leave, or quit and stay. Both are bad, but even if an employee leaves, there is a time before she has found another opportunity during which her performance will drop. That’s the first stage of the negative halo effect. The output of the disengaged employee drops, affecting management and other employees, who must chip in to make sure projects meet goals. The effect is a decrease in their productivity.


Once an employee leaves the organization, the load on former colleagues becomes even greater — the second stage. Then, the third stage arrives:  The position is finally filled, and surrounding employees become the informal trainers and helpers until the new employee gets up to speed, which can take weeks to months.


The flip side of the cost of hiring the wrong person is the cost of hiring the right talent. Recruiting and training cost time and money that no company can afford to waste. To reap the benefits of the recruitment and training costs in the longer term, an organization needs to do everything possible to maximize retention of high-value employees and grow them within the company.


The Keys to Nurturing and Keeping Employees


So, what are the keys to keeping employees? They haven’t changed:

  • Rewarding and challenging work
  • Clear goals and communication from their manager
  • Exciting career path
  • Fair compensation

Many employees, even those labeled as high potential, don’t get these seemingly straightforward rewards. Forty-three percent of employees say they don’t receive adequate coaching and development opportunities (U.S. Perspectives on Work, Camden Delta Research Report, January 2011), and 40 percent of companies don’t even track their high-potential employees (ADP Talent Management 2011: Perceptions vs. Realities Report, ADP Research Institute, November 2011). Sixty-one percent of organizations, however, are placing more emphasis on managers’ ability to provide clear goals to their teams (Towers Watson Talent Management and Rewards Survey, June 2010), and that's encouraging. 


What are some ideas to help drive engagement and retention? They revolve around better communication between managers and employees:

  • Have regular conversations between managers and employees on goals, status and expectations between formal reviews
  • Train managers on the correct ways to discuss talent and performance issues
  • Link development, career and compensation opportunities directly to performance, and provide employees with a clear understanding of how one relates to the other
  • Monitor and reward managers who regularly discuss goals and performance with employees

Keeping People in Orbit


Finally, there is the matter of how to treat employees after they have left. Yes, they have left. But that doesn’t mean you should forget about them. Every employee who leaves, whether he or she be a retired baby-boomer, a Generation X professional moving to a new position elsewhere, or a Millennial moving laterally in order to advance vertically, is a potential part-time employee or short-term contractor later. An individual contributor who left last week could easily be the director or vice president who comes back to drive success in four or five years. Here's a best-practive for HR professionals: Keep networks alive and fresh, because those are filters, too, and every employee referral could be 100 resumes that a recruiter doesn’t have to review.


Robert Mattson, director of marketing for ADP’s Talent Management division, is a 20-plus year veteran of the enterprise software space, and has been focusing on talent management for the past 10 years. An in-demand speaker, Robert has presented numerous webinars and at several national industry events and user conferences nationwide. Prior to taking on his role at ADP, he held management positions at Workscape, Applix, Eprise Inc., Interleaf and Allaire Corporation.  Robert's articles have appeared in Employee Relations Today, Workspan, Talent Management Magazine and the Compensation Handbook, 5th Edition published by McGraw-Hill.