Yesterday, we held a webinar exploring if employee retention is still a realistic KPI for modern People and Talent functions. 

There was one clear takeaway: that we need to embrace the fact the average employee tenure has become shorter. So, to get the most out of your people in shorter time frames, setting honest, clear expectations and objectives throughout the employee lifecycle are key.

The session was hosted by two lively HR influencers: Matt Buckland (Head of Talent and Co-Founder at Rainmaking Studio) and Matt Bradburn (Co-Founder, the People Collective). Here’s our summary of their best practice tips:

Pre-hire

Attitudes and behaviors

Accepting that employee retention is no longer the golden metric to business success requires a complete shift in HR perspective.

Redesigning your talent acquisition strategy is a great place to start. Begin by identifying what personality traits and behaviors to look for, as opposed to how many years are required in work experience. 

This is because someone who shows a natural curiosity on how to improve things is far more likely to perform well in a shorter space of time than someone with five years of experience working in excel, but with no desire to solve problems.

Job descriptions

The next step is getting those aptitudes and behaviors very clear in your job descriptions. Scrap those vague skills!

Equally important is to define meaningful outcomes. Each job ad should outline how the role will help your business solve a problem. In turn, your ad will attract better quality candidates who have genuine intent to solve that problem in a specific time frame, as opposed to passive candidates who are more generally interested in a new job. 

Employment

Ramping up

Once you’ve accepted your staff aren’t going to be sticking around for long, a faster ramp-up  period is crucial. 

And why not be proactive? This is a great opportunity to look at the ‘dead zone’ between pre-boarding and onboarding. Use this time to outline what your new hire can expect from the company. Especially unspoken, less obvious office etiquettes like how to use Slack or what are the boundaries for expenses. Setting clear parameters well before day one will create a sense of belonging faster. This will dramatically shorten up your ramping period.

Creating meaningful work

According to Daniel Pink, autonomy, mastery and purpose in job roles equates to higher productivity and drive. So it’s in the interests of managers and senior leadership to ensure this happens in the workplace.

A great example of how a manager can give the right balance of autonomy to the employee is by asking “how would you solve this problem?” In each case, you are coaching an employee to master their own role, through problem-solving  and continual learning. As a result, both parties will feel a sense of purpose, which equates to more productive and efficient outputs in a shorter space of time.

Exit and advocacy

Finally, your leaders should learn to be okay with people leaving. And, especially in fast-growing start-ups or scale-ups. It’s likely that the leaver’s role will have evolved, requiring a different kind of personality traits altogether. So never forget to be honest in exit interviews, and say thank you for getting them from A-B. Because, you never know; If your people leave with a wonderful feeling, your alumni networks might even fill the next roles.

A huge thanks to the mighty Bradburn and Buckland duo for such an entertaining, informative session that left us feeling a lot more positive about the inevitability of shorter employee tenures.

As no strangers to fast-growing, modern companies, they’ve had experience as senior People & Talent leaders at companies like Rainmaking, Peakon, Workable, Lyst, and Qubit. They’re also the co-founders of the DBR community for In-House Recruiters. To learn how the People Collective can help scale your business with ROI-driven people strategies, click here.