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Future Hiring Needs: Are You Prepared?

December 12th, 2014

Your hiring needs for this month are covered. You’re steadily on track to replace every departing employee and you’re bringing in new recruits in perfect pace with your expanding business. You have not a single pair of hands beyond what you need, and as soon as Sally retires and Steve says goodbye to care for his growing family, you’ll have new employees already lined up to take over their desks.

So this day, week, and month are locked down and accounted for. But what about next year? What will you do when Steve’s replacement starts gunning for a promotion to the next level? If you can’t accommodate her, what will you do when she leaves in search of a company that can? What will you do if your new product line starts selling beyond expectations and you need to hire more staff to keep up with a flood of orders? And will happen when your new orders suddenly dry up and you need to contract your workforce back to affordable levels?

The answer, as always, lies in planning ahead. Instead of taking a lean, just-in-time approach to the staffing process, try to use all the data at your disposal to determine what your staffing needs will look like in one, three, and five years.

Build a Pipeline

You may not have a crystal ball that can tell you when your employees might leave the company, but you can certainly make educated guessed about promotion readiness. When your top executives leave or retire, have someone in mind who you can groom and prepare for the role. Have others in mind to replace those, and so on down to the entry level. The harder you work to cultivate and retain the links in this chain, the more closely reality will adhere to your expectations.

Hire Contingency Teams

Consider hiring contingency, temporary, independent, and part time staff for roles with an uncertain future. If you don’t know how long an expansion will last, or how a new product will be received by the marketplace, limit your risks and control your workforce growth. That way you won’t have to make promises or take on full time employees that you can’t keep. Contingency staffing can also help you ensure a personality and cultural match before you make a long term commitment.

For more information about staff development, hiring, pipeline building, and long term planning, contact the experts at Merritt.


The True Cost of Turnover

April 11th, 2014

When an employee says goodbye and leaves your company to move on with the next chapter of her career, what are you really losing? What are your true costs in terms of upfront capital, and what about your opportunity costs, hiring costs for a replacement, and the time that your managers spend on this process instead of other responsibilities?

If you can answer right away, then you’re on the right track. Some degree of turnover is an inevitable cost of business, and if you know exactly what you’re losing and you’re staying in control of your staffing strategy, that’s fine. But if your answer is “I have no idea”, then you’re in trouble. It’s time to take a close look at your turnover numbers and start doing whatever it takes to keep your valuable employees on board. Keep these considerations in mind as you move forward.

Reducing Turnover: Best Practices

1. Don’t let great employees walk away without a word. When a team member decides to leave, meet with her right away (put everything else on hold) and ask what’s going on. Find out if she’s looking for something you haven’t been able to provide, and ask for 24 hours to counter her other offer. Use those 24 hours wisely. Attack salary, resources, training issues, insurance benefits and whatever else you need to make the relationship work.

2. If she’s determined to leave, glean for any possible information you can that might help you improve your hiring and retention practices. Provide her with an exit interview and detailed survey that can help you assess what went wrong and how you might prevent these issues in the future.

3. Compare this data with the data you gathered during her application and initial interview. Were there any mismatches or red flags that you missed and now see clearly in retrospect?

4. Put the lessons of items 1 through 3 into action. Don’t just document them and move on. As soon as you launch into the hiring process for a replacement, start applying what you’ve learned.

5. Hire strong employees from the start. And by strong, we don’t just mean skilled or experienced. In fact, employees who have too much skill and experience can actually be a poor choice and a detriment to your company instead of an asset. By contrast, the most promising employees are those who have the right attitude (not just aptitude) and who match the culture and personality of the workplace.

For more information that can help you make smart hiring decisions, choose the best applicants in the pool, and hold onto them for the long term, reach out to the staffing experts at Merritt.

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