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The 7 best ways to recruit & retain in 2008

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers

If you work for a large organization, get ready to fight with small ones for your employees.

If you work for a small organization, get ready to spend more on the pay and benefits that will lure big-company stars over to your shop.

Statistically speaking, almost no large organizations will add a significant number of employees to their staffs this year. Five percent of small companies will. Eight percent of large companies will significantly decrease their staffs, while virtually no small companies will.

Employees: Small is beautiful

Credit some of this shift to employees’ ongoing love affair with small organizations: 33% of people who work for large organizations say they would rather work for a small firm. A third of employees say they wish they worked for a midsize company, and just 14% say they prefer being part of a large work force.

Unless you want to hire inexperienced people and give them time to ramp up, you’re in for some fierce competition. The talent pool is thin, with relatively few experts in the market for new jobs.

That means people from large organizations are going to be in demand by small organizations. This year, whether you work for a large firm or a small one, your big concern will be recruitment and retention.

Steps you can take

Here’s what it’s going to take to attract and keep talented employees:

1. Know what the talent pool wants. Employees say they want several things from their organizations:

  •  Autonomy and challenge
  • Confidence in leadership
  • Good compensation.

2. Increase compensation. Money tight? Add vacation time. Still too steep? Make sure your employees take the vacation time they’re due. Almost two-thirds of executives and managers in our surveys say their workloads are too heavy. Require your employees to take breaks and recharge. Too many employees skip vacations.

3. Push work/life benefits. When people do go on vacation, they’re still connected to their offices electronically. Executives—and a lot of rank-and-file staff—work 10-plus hours a day. And those extra hours come from their home lives. Help them balance the push and pull.

4. Advertise your employee benefits within the organization. The benefits at large companies are substantial, but some employees don’t even know what they are. Make sure your workers know their benefits options.

5. Conduct an employee survey. List all your benefits—and some that you could add—and let employees choose those that are most important to them. You might find that your organization isn’t offering the benefits employees want.

6. Upgrade job titles. Smaller organizations that can’t afford to pay big-company salaries can make up for it with giant job titles. So a manager at a large company might become a director at a smaller one. To some employees, this perk is worth a pay discount.

7. Get personal. Decide which employees you want to keep, and handle them personally. What people want today is personal discussion. Dispatch your senior executives to spend time with their direct reports. They should use the 50% rule of communication: half the time spent communicating with subordinates should be about listening, not talking.

Chuck Martin is CEO of NFI Research (www.nfiresearch.com) in Madbury, NH, and author of Smarts: Are We Hardwired for Success? Contact him at (603) 750-3020.

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