By Barb Bruno  |    Wednesday March 30, 2022

Category: Columns, Expert Advice, Recruiting



How do you stop losing your tenured top talent and how do you prevent your new hires from quitting? Surveys prove that over 30% of all new hires quit within the first six months. Engagement and retention are tied directly into hiring because most employees leave due to a bad hiring decision.

The cost of turnover is staggering, not to mention lost production or goals unattained.  Depending on the level of position, the cost varies greatly but is estimated to cost at least one-third of the person’s annual salary.  This amount increases greatly for higher level positions.

There are five strategies you can implement that will help you engage and retain your new hires and tenured employees. They include your employee referral program, orientation, mentorship, stay interviews, and personal and professional development. 


Strategy Number One is your Employee Referral Program.  A reliable statistic to monitor is the number of employee referrals you obtain.  If your employees love your company, culture, values, and their career path, they will refer other people just like them.  Your employees are either your “army of recruiters” or they are being recruited away by your competitors.


Strategy Number Two is your Orientation Process. In this competitive market, many candidates continue to interview after they’ve accepted your offer. They will also receive a counteroffer from their current employer.  Have one of their new co-workers or managers take them to lunch, send them company swag, have them fill out paperwork, and keep in touch during their two-week notice.  

Once they have handed in their notice, ask to check their reference at their current employer.  You will be amazed how many candidates tell you they’ve handed in notice, when in fact they have not.  The way a person is welcomed into your company has a great impact on whether they will be there in six months.   Have their work area completed, access to systems set up, expectations of what they can expect from you and what you need from them for them to become successful.  Also provide them with your standards of performance.

This leads us to Strategy Number Three which is Mentorship.  Whenever possible, appoint a mentor to every new hire, who is not in a supervisory role.  So often during casual conversations, small issues can be resolved before they escalate to major problems that cause turnover.  Mentorship is also a great way to develop leadership qualities in the person who is selected as the mentor, who should also receive a bonus of the mentee’s production.  This helps both of them learn, grow, and enhances their success.


Strategy Number Four are Stay Interviews.  Too often Staffing and Recruiting Firm owners only conduct two interviews.  The first is the employment interview and the second is the exit interview.  Stay interviews are conducted with employees to assess their job satisfaction, as well as why employees are “staying” with your company. Your goal is to learn what makes your company a great place to work and what you may need to improve to increase retention.

Stay Interviews also help you build trust with your employees, increase communication (especially with virtual employees), and allows a mutual conversation that provides you with information you need to make positive changes.  Schedule them in advance, don’t include them with performance reviews, ask consistent questions, and express your appreciation for their input. Your questions should show that you care about their opinions and will use the information gathered to make positive changes.

Five great questions to ask during a stay interview could include:

  1. What is the most exciting part of your job?
  2. How do you feel your work contributes to our company attaining our goals?
  3. If you were your boss, what changes would you make?
  4. What aspects contribute to you doing your best work?
  5. Are there any talents you have that are not being utilized?


Remember it is not your job to agree or disagree with what is discussed, the goal is to put yourself in this person’s shoes and see their job and future success with your company through their eyes. 

Strategy Number Five is offering Personal and Professional Development.  Your employees want to continue to develop, learn, and become more successful.  In addition to your initial comprehensive training, you must continue to provide training and development throughout their career.  Consider investing in them attaining their Certification in the Staffing and Recruiting Profession.  


Lastly, we must mention the option of remote or hybrid work arrangements.  Many potential hires will only accept an opportunity with autonomy and flexibility, particularly in their work schedules.  Many of your tenured employees could prefer a different work arrangement.  This topic should come up in your stay interviews, and if there is any flexibility, could also help you retain your top producers.

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