Slowing The Windmill of Hiring and Focus On Retaining Talent

Slowing The Windmill of Hiring and Focus On Retaining Talent


For most companies, retention is at the top of their to-do list. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies have faced unprecedented losses of talent and employees. One of many reasons people have left or are leaving their jobs is a feeling of lack of meaning and growth. Many organizations dealing with high turnover constantly need new employees and find new ways to entice the most viable candidates. To stem these losses, organizations are having to:
  1. Improve hiring practices
  2. Find better strategies to retain employees
Many organizations are reevaluating their hiring protocols focusing on fostering a more positive company culture to retain the employees they have.


Since Anthony Klotz’ coined the term Great Resignation, tens of millions in Canada and the United States have up and left their jobs. Many companies have been focusing on hiring new people to keep up with the loss of employees and seeking new ways to attract the best talent for the job. Organizations have been leaning toward more proactive engagement in their hiring practices by reaching out early and often during the hiring process and using more advanced screening tools to make more informed decisions quickly. In addition, concerning current and new employees, organizations are finding it vital to focus on maintaining a positive company culture by promoting team-building, professional growth, a sense of community and belonging, fairness of compensation and recognition, trust and trustworthiness, innovation, supports for well-being, work, and progression.

Recruiting Strategies and Tools

Though passive recruiting, which plays out like a type of courtship, can attract skilled candidates, it is not always the best option as it’s a bit too slow and steady for these times when hiring must be swift and precise, unbiased and inclusive. Data-centric recruiting can help analyze a large pool of talent and identify candidates with the right skills and experience and behaviour for the position.

Using recruitment software, standardizing the interview process, and shifting the focus of the interview to skill-set can help avoid bias in recruiting and hiring. Advanced screening tools can include skills tests and behavioural assessments. A well-designed skills test will help recruiters screen for the best candidates and weed out the underqualified.

Behavioural assessments help determine core attributes and key behavioural drives such as dominance, extraversion, patience, formality, and objectivity. They can help determine a person’s work ethic, attitudes and how well they might perform under pressure. They are automated and can be used not only for hiring purposes but at any stage of the employee life cycle including career advancement, promotion or development. These tools help identify candidates suitable for the role, project, company, etc.

Examples of behavioural tests include online or offline tests such as Situational Judgement tests which consist of real-life scenarios to which the candidate must react and determine which course of action to take from a list of possibilities. The candidate must place themselves in the shoes of the character(s).

Similarly, Caselets include a scenario with multiple questions arising from different problem statements in a situation. Background information is given on the organization and the problems they face. The test-taker must either select the best response or rank responses in the correct order to effectively address the problem.

Case Study Simulators often include background information and the situation in an organization, and provide the test-taker with fictional documents such as annual reports, research or statements that they must analyze to make decisions and determine the best course of action.

In-Box exercises are online assessments in which fictional roles are assigned, and the candidate is to perform the function. They are given a series of emails to sift through and must determine priority and best responses or how and when to delegate. This type of tool assesses several skills such as performance under pressure, information processing, and prioritization.

Other behavioural take the form of offline Group Activities & Group Discussions, Role-Plays or Competency-Based interviews.

Diversity and Inclusion are important factors when hiring. Highlighting diversity in job ads, posting ads on diversity job boards, asking for diverse referrals, implementing blind screening of resumes, and holding diverse interview panels are all ways to widen the pool of talent.

Retention Strategies

A positive company culture promotes team-building and professional growth, provides a sense of community and belonging, and should promote fairness of compensation and recognition, inclusiveness, trust and trustworthiness, innovation, and supports for well-being, work, and progression.

Within companies, there is an effort to put more into employee retention by focusing on creating a community where employees can find a sense of belonging and of being valued and providing a positive employee experience to increase morale and satisfaction. Diversity, Equity, and inclusion efforts are part of this equation. The creation of Employee Resource Groups or ERGs provides a forum for support, networking and community-building as well as decision-making opportunities within the company.

There are also incentives that companies put in place to attract new hires and benefit current employees, encouraging them to continue working for the company. Some of these incentives are to:

  • Reward employees with higher wages and strive to eradicate pay gaps.
  • Provide opportunities for development and advancement.
  • Provide tuition reimbursement.
  • Support remote and hybrid work environments.
  • Enable team collaboration.
  • Support stress reduction.
  • Provide paid family leave
  • Provide child care at the workplace
  • Allow pets to accompany workers

Check out this Forbes article about Hiring And Recruitment Trends To Expect In 2022!

In an article from the Harvard Business School, the authors suggest ways to reimagine employee retention. In these times when it seems easier for employees to leave to grow, it might be worthwhile for employers to change their strategy, and enable employees to “squiggle,” and shift focus from promotion to “progression and developing in different directions.”

Career experiments provide managers with an opportunity to raise the bar for their employees. “Managers play an important role in prompting employees to have curious career conversations. These conversations are not about applying for a job but getting a window into someone else’s world.”

Indeed, managers with their connections within and outside the organization, are in a position to “direct introductions to new people” and help employees create connections. They can facilitate career experiments for employees to try out new experiences within their teams and across the organization.

Such opportunities might include job swapping for a day or longer or borrowing talent or “brilliance” to work on a specific project. In doing so, managers allow employees to expand their networks, and see and experience new things and they in turn “benefit from a broader range of talent.”

This also ties into the concept of skill-sharing. Managers can assess areas where there might be skill gaps and better match employee expertise with experiences and projects. A set of skills might also be divided between several people instead of just one employee.

In having these career experiments, employees can squiggle in different directions, learn new things, meet new people and increase their satisfaction with their work. There is potential to retain people not only in teams but across the entire organization. By focusing on progression developing in different directions, and providing practical support to make the progress, an organization can enable employees to be curious as to where their career might take them.

Communicating to employees about their performance is another way to leverage retention. Strength-spotting and strength-based feedback enable managers to focus on the positive attributes of the employee who might not be aware of their capabilities or how best to put them to use. This feedback helps increase confidence and may open the door to future opportunities.

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