Five Mistakes That Cause Attrition

Recruiting doesn’t end once the person is hired. Companies will go to great lengths to hire top talent, yet many see attrition problems down the road.

Nobody is going to stay in one position forever, but the actions of the company can mean the difference between keeping an employee for the long haul and driving him or her to the competition.

“The mistakes do start at the recruiting process,” says John Ricco, partner in recruiting firm The Atlantic Group. “How many times does a candidate take a position and it turns out not to be what was expected.”

From overselling the job to hiring and forgetting about them, here’s a look at five ways companies are unwittingly causing attrition.

Mistake No. 1 Bait and switching the job

In this period of talent wars, many recruiters and hiring managers are under pressure to fill empty roles and will often try to oversell the position, leading to quick turn over. “Companies have to be forth right and exact in terms of what the position is,” says Ricco. “When you are dealing with top talent if you tell them they are doing one thing and they wind up doing another they will leave.” Ricco says companies have to be careful not to over hype the position or include things they can’t deliver on.

Mistake No. 2: Not having the right cultural fit

A job is about more than a specific skill set it’s also about finding a candidate that will fit with the culture. Don’t do that, and  Elissa O’Brien, VP of membership and member relations at the Society of Human Resource Management  says it’s pretty much a given that the person is going to underperform or leave.  So how can you find out if the person will fit from a cultural perspective? O’Brien says to throw some behavioral questions at them during the interview. “The best gauge of their future performance is their past performance,” says O’Brien. “What kind of companies did they work for, what was the culture like and why did they leave,” are also things you want to take into account, she says. What you don’t want to do is reveal too much about the cultural during the interview. After all candidates want to land the job and may say they like working collaboratively even though they have always performed best independently.

Mistake No. 3: Promoting someone into management who shouldn’t be a manager

Every company wants to recognize their highly productive employees but often they do that by promoting them into management, not realizing that ultimately that decision can drive other workers to leave. “Many extremely driven, self-motivated powerhouses actually prefer to work alone, within a vacuum, and would prefer not to have to handhold junior employees or motivate people,” says Aravinda Rao Souza, senior marketing manager at Bullhorn “As a result, some either become completely hands-off managers, not providing any guidance or feedback to employees who desperately need it.” On the flip side, some of this so-called managers become micro managers, which also turns employees off. Either way the company may keep that highly productive employee but loose many or his or her underlings.

Mistake No. 4: Hire them and forget about them

Recruiting is hard work but that doesn’t mean that once you’ve made your hire you forget about the candidate once he or she starts working. People need to feel connected to the mission of the company as well as know they can develop their career. The worst thing they want to do is be shown their desk, get an assignment and never here from the hiring manager again.  “You have to make sure you are constantly stretching and expanding them and making sure they are given the tools to make it all work,” says O’Brien.

According to Ricco career development is a huge retention tool but often companies are almost too late to respond. Ricco says having yearly reviews and actually listening to what the person is saying during that review can go a long way in spotting any unhappiness that could result in the employee jumping ship. “If you aren’t setting out a game plan as to what they can expect over the next year or five years you will lose them,” he says.

Mistake 5: There’s no real mission or purpose

Your company doesn’t have to be about ending world hunger or curing cancer but if it and its employees don’t know and understand the mission, chances are they are going to be dealing with a lot of turn over. “Many employees feel shipwrecked if they don’t understand their company’s mission and how they specifically are helping to bring it to fruition,” says Souza. “But if all of their employees are on the same page about what they’re doing and why it matters, that company will still have a great chance at success.”  To do that, Souza says the responsibility falls on the executive leadership team to communicate often to employees the mission and goals of the company and to link the daily jobs of the employees to the revenue and growth of the company. ”This requires a management team that cares about employees and is willing to be open and transparent,” she says.