There's an opening in your department and you're responsible for filling it. You place ads, you call up recruiters, you plow through piles of resumes, you schedule interviews and check references, you negotiate, and you hire. The new person comes to work, but it quickly becomes evident that he or she's not working out, and the person either quits or gets fired. There's an opening in your department and ... well, you get the picture.
Nobody wants to get stuck on the hiring merry-go-round. It's a waste of your time (chances are you have things to do besides hiring and rehiring). It costs a lot of money (think recruitment and training costs, for starters). And it's unproductive. Sooner or later, that constant turnover will begin to take its toll on morale and productivity.
If you find yourself stuck on the hiring merry-go-round, maybe it's time to take a good hard look at two particular aspects of your practices:
1. The way you hire: If you're like most managers, you probably haven't given a lot of thought to your hiring practices. But that's your first mistake. The key to successful hiring is to get it right from the start. That means drafting a solid job description. You may not see the job description as a power hiring tool, but writing a good description can be the single most important step you take. Begin by creating a detailed job description for every position in the company. We can hear your groans now, but fear not. You don't need to do this all in one weekend. You can create each job description as you need it. But you do have to sit down and spend time really thinking this out. If you try to do it off the top of your head, you could miss important skills or responsibilities.
When you draw up the description, it's not enough to just list the specific tasks this person needs to perform. You should also identify what traits you'd like to see in the person you hire. Defining a job in terms of what the last person did will net you someone who's likely to do exactly what the last person did. Defining a job in terms of the objectives you want to see accomplished raises your chances of landing a person who can take the job to the next level. And don't forget to consider the culture and "personality" of the department or group in which the new hire will work. Remember, you want someone who will fit in with the work group.
2. The way you manage: Take a hard look at how you treat your employees. Every staff member at every level of every organization wants to be treated with respect and dignity. All employees want assurances that promises made to them will be kept, and they want to feel appreciated. It's important for them to know they are assets to the company and that you value the contribution that they make every day.
That said, no matter how good your hiring and management practices, from time to time people you'd like to retain are going to quit. When that happens, be sure to schedule an exit interview. Use that interview as an opportunity for an honest and forthright discussion about the source of the departing employee's discontent. Your goal should be to identify things that can be changed to prevent others from following him or her out the door. And don't just assume that it's all about the money. Unless the salaries you offer are significantly below the going rate in the area or in your industry, money is rarely the problem.