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How to Treat Employees like Customers on a Journey Toward RetentionRecently, I’ve spoken with a few different companies seeking to change the way businesses hire new staff members, and while each company offers a slightly different product to make recruiting easier, the underlying message was the same: Businesses need to take proactive steps to hire and retain top talent.

Whether you’re bringing aboard your first employee or your hundredth, staffing is one of the biggest - and scariest - decisions your business can make. Each employee needs to uphold the brand, from mission statement to productivity level, in every action they take on the clock.

Of course, that means you have to define what your mission statement is and what productivity looks like for each role. You have to know what your company offers and what your company truly needs before you can look for the right person to fill a new position. Clearly defining responsibility, including day-to-day duties and going the extra mile, will make it easier to find someone who understands the expectations and will be more likely to exceed them.

The big shift I keep hearing about in hiring is the idea that top talent requires some level of winning the candidate over, just as you would win a customer. Big names in recruiting have begun to look at the process through the lens of the proactive customer journey.

There’s a lot of software out there now that merges traditional applicant tracking system (ATS) features with elements of customer relationship management (CRM). But you don’t have to sign up for the latest and greatest software to understand why it exists and how you can emulate it to help you make the most of filling a new position.

By viewing staffing as a journey - from sourcing and onboarding to rewards and promotion - you can craft the steps you see each employee taking as they move closer toward your overall company goals.

  • Early on, the journey begins with clearly defining what your business brings to the table - benefits, culture, pay - as well as the expectations for each particular position. As you begin the recruiting process, think about ideal scenarios, not just who submits an application. Talented employees may be willing to leave a company they’re happy with to join your team if you make them the right offer at the right time (sound familiar?).
  • Most of the friction during the hiring process occurs as candidates apply, interview, accept offers, and go through onboarding. If there are too many hoops to jump through, such as creating an online profile complete with individual boxes for typing out job and employment history, then talented candidates may become frustrated enough to never finish and submit their application.
  • Once applicants are being considered, friction can turn them away again if you aren’t prepared to properly communicate with them. We all get busy, but it’s no excuse to leave a candidate hanging when they may have other offers on the table
  • Finally, you can reduce the time it takes to bring new employees up to speed on company policies and job processes if you plan ahead. Personally, I’ve arrived for my first day of work at previous roles and did not even have a login for the computer I was supposed to use.

Eliminating these kinds of friction points helps not only smooth out the hiring process, but it makes the process more efficient and less wasteful as new hires feel confident in their roles and can begin working immediately.

While hiring is the biggest pain point for employers, not being properly rewarded for a job well done is often how positions become available in the first place (outside of company growth). You can reduce employee turnover with a proper rewards system. If you’ve established what is required of your employees and what exceeding those expectations looks like, then you’ve also likely established the benefits of doing the job well.

A simple “thank you” and flex time can go a long way in showing your employees how much you appreciate them. Think of this as part of the journey where you continue to engage in order to keep them coming back.

Treating employees like customers might not be completely novel, but crafting that journey - from posting the ad and sourcing to onboarding and promotion - can help you hire and retain top talent.



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