Why can’t you recruit and retain the Employees ?

Since November 2021, I do observe a significant increase in the number of companies looking for new people – developers, testers, PMs, HR. #Hiring #JoinMe and other similar hashtags fall all over the place on LinkedIn. I’m so glad that after the toughest 2020, in which the pandemic washed dozens of people from the market, we can observe enormous growth, especially in remote working. The world has changed, so did our jobs.

The digital transformation of enterprises that we have witnessed
in 2021, made it grow
demand for specialists
IT. Just like the year before,
again the employers were looking for
all experienced employees (mid and seniors),
to join as soon as possible
with your company to the “digital” world.

https://nofluffjobs.com/ report 2021

On the other hand, I can see that a lot of companies – no matter how big or known they are – can’t find people. I would like to share with you some thoughts. Please, don’t treat me as a market researcher or a prophet. I’m basing on my recent experience as a recruiter, conversations with my recruiting technical friends, and some posts from people I respect – Adam Grant and Dan Price.

Recruitment

For the past couple of weeks, I was in the middle of recruitment armageddon, reviewing and screening dozens of CVs.

I’ve read recently that more and more companies use bots for CVs pre-screening, but in this case – I was the bot.

Recruitment is hard for the person, who applies for the job – he/she needs to prepare a CV that stands out, be ready for the interview and dedicate some time for the entire process, the time, for which he/she will not be paid for.

I have two tips for people looking for a new job:

  1. Stand out

You may think – numerous companies are looking for employees. I’ll find a new job at once because I’m an expert in my field. You may be lucky – I do agree – but usually, the entire process takes time.

I’ll give you an example from my – testing – backyard. I received over 200 CVs for my last job offer. OVER TWO HUNDRED in a week. Most of those CVs were matching the job description and most of the candidates were my potential new hires. Skills are important, but the form, in which you are describing your skills, the graphic form of your CV also matter.

  1. Know your skills and your value

Yesterday I’ve read a touching story, where a girl was describing how the recruiter from Google offered her a job with a salary 20 000 dollars higher than her expectations. Just because the company paid fair and didn’t want to create a pay gap between the employees.

Sadly, not every tech (or non-tech) company is so generous. So, if you are looking for a new job opportunity, do the market research first and learn what is the current salary range on your position in your region and outside your region. Know your value. In the end, you are the biggest asset for your new employer and you are the one who provides the service.

I’ve just seen too many times people, who were underpaid, who got half of the money they were supposed to get just because they were uncertain, insecure, and did not express such expectations during the recruitment process.

One more thing – even if you are the perfect candidate – there always might be delays in recruitment, onboarding, etc. Be prepared for long recruitment.

I have two tips for the companies who are looking for a new hire:

  1. Be reasonable

I’ve seen 5 – stages-long recruitment processes.

I’ve seen 1 – stage long recruitment processes.

No recruitment process will ever be perfect, and some turnover from low-quality hires is inevitable. It means that making it difficult for the candidates to get hired doesn’t make you the most desired employer on the market. More often it can scare the candidates away. If you would like to hire people – keep it simple.

  1. Be trustworthy

The recruitment process is a way to get to know the employee better but it is also a great way for the employee to get to know the company better, to feel how it is like to work for you.

Dear Employer, use your recruitment materials as a “show and tell” to give candidates a sense of what it’s like to work at your organization. Showcase employee stories that highlight the reasons candidates should want to work at your organization, and utilize photos and video whenever possible.

Be honest.

Even if the employee discovered that the job is not suited for his/her needs, it’s better to discover it before the employment contract is signed, not after it, right?

Onboading

The onboarding process for a new hire starts when the person accepts the offer, not when the person actually starts working. If you don’t keep the conversation going on, you risk losing them.

Some ideas to do before the person starts:
– Talk about the work setup the person needs
– Dedicate a “buddy” to the new hire – this will ease the onboarding process and gives the new employee the opportunity to ask questions
– Ask the person to write a small introduction to be sent to the team they are going to work with.
– Send news about what is going on with the company.
– Add the person to the communication tools you are using (Slack, Teams, email, etc).
– Send information about the project.

You have to be wise in what you share and how much of it, but total silence needs to be avoided.

Some great companies invite their new hires with some onboarding treats, such as small gifts or a dedicated space (chat, zoom call) to welcome new team members.

And one more fun fact – the employee works for you when he/she comes to the office (even the virtual one). In fact, he/she can resign between signing the contract and the 1st day of work. I’ve seen such cases, so I believe that it is worth investing in a good onboarding process.

Attrition

You can naively assume that when somebody is already employed and he/she gets paid, he/she will stay at your company no matter what is going on.

The fact is, that no employee is an isolated island.

It’s said, that the time of working in the US Startup is max. 2 years for the employee, after this period of time, he/she will switch to somebody else. It is up to you, as an employer, to retain the employee and benefit from the service he/she provides. You can say “People will leave” and do nothing.

BUT

You can be proactive, think of the well-being of the employees, and try to act before they think of leaving the company. I usually keep in mind that recruitment is hard – both for the employer and the employee. It requires investing a lot of energy from both parties, so at least from this perspective, it is better not to recruit and stay with the current employer.

To achieve that, the employee must be:

  • valued
  • appreciated
  • has perspectives for growth and education
  • paid addequately to his/her skills and accordingly current market prices
  • has space for family-time and balance between working and non-working hours.

It seems a lot, but economically speaking think how much effort is to find, onboard, and equip for work all new employees. I believe it is at least worth trying.

Counter offers

As I mentioned before – an employee is not a single island. We all do have LinkedIn, we all do get offers for different recruiters. So even if you, as the employer, care about your people, they may get a chance of a lifetime and they eventually will leave. You cannot help it. But if you screw people over and ignore their needs – you might encourage them to look for the job somewhere else.

Brand

You – as the employer – have your own reputation. You are not an isolated island as well.

There are companies, that really are the Best Places To Work. They value their people, let them breathe, and share experiences. They provide paid leaves and treat people fair, no matter their skin color or gender.

On the other hand, I know companies, which do the opposite, but who blindly believe that if they are mentioned in some I-am-the-best-employer-in-my-neighbourhood paid ranking, all their sins are redeemed. Well, it doesn’t work this way.

Employees usually are interested in what is going on on the market. If they know that a company X fired dozen of employees, because of pandemic uncertainty or some other reasons, but after a couple of months is looking for new people – it may not be a good place to work after all.

Employees exchange feedback, share hints and knowledge and maybe that is the reason why they don’t knock at your door.

Healthy way of working

One last thought:

In healthy cultures, quality of life is expected, and having a life is celebrated.

What is your opinion on recruitment and retaining employees? Share your stories! I’m very curious to read!

Happy recruitment, Folks!

Is your project opinion or data-driven?

“Do what I say.” Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?

How about: “This is our strategy”.

“The Management decided…”

“To let us grow…”

“This is for the sake of our project”.

“I’ve done some research, and here is what we’ll do…”.

Opinions

Project decisions, those regarding the choice of tools, testing methods, or which direction we are going, should be made based on data.

Unfortunately, the longer I work on IT projects, the more often I get the impression that most of the important decisions are authority-driven or opinion-driven. I love the term HIPPO (Highest Paid Persons Opinion) from Gordon Guthrie’s post.

First things first – opinion is always OPINION. No matter if it’s good or bad. Somebody made his/her mind. Period.
Data are independent. They are just figures, numbers, graphs. Without emotional connections, biases, or social influence.

Our brains are extremely self-centered and suggestible. Moreover, each of us wishes to see our information bubble. Even when we try to be objective, it turns out, that when making decisions we do not take into account all the options available. I recommend to my Polish readers the book by Miłosz Brzeziński: “Wy wszyscy moi ja”, in which this topic is presented in details.

In short, we operate much more efficient, both in private and professional life, if we can consult our ideas with other people. I mean people with more, similar and less experience than ours in a given field. This approach allows us to look at the problem from many angles that we would probably never have thought of ourselves.

We must remember that a wrong decision means a cost. Money is not always a cost. This can be technical debt, loss of customer or team trust, and the introduction of adverse changes to the system that will be very difficult to reverse in the future.

Example

Let me give you an example.

A testing team grows.
They select tools and skills to let themselves work better and more effectively.
As they are not widely experienced, they try to work on a solution, that would serve their needs.

They choose the toolset, direction, and plan for the future.

Unfortunately, they have a manager, who “knows better”, a manager, who “done this before”, “used another tool before”.

pexels.com

In the end, our solution-seeking test team must use a tool that they don’t understand or that doesn’t quite match the specifics of the project, struggle with the technology that they don’t want to use, and are simply frustrated.

Why of why

I try to find good intentions in people. It’s not that the decision-maker is trying to make someone angry. The problem is that our cognitive limitations inevitably simplify the world, and give us ideas that we already know instead of those, which fit the situation.

Additionally, I know managers who are so attached to their position in a corporation, labeled with a grade number, that they don’t look below that level and don’t seek value in talking to the teams.
They are guided by “experience” and “good intentions”.
And yet, it is the communication, exchanges of views, or even quarrels that bring value, open up new spaces for discussion and project development.

How to prevent opinion-driven development and minimise the risk?

Luckily, all of us can prevent opinion-driven management.
How to do it?
When you are a team member – start by asking the question WHY. Don’t give up and keep repeating it.
What is more, no matter if you are a manager or not:

  • Collect project data
  • Collect metrics and share the among team members and with your managers
  • Talk to everyone – confront your point of view
  • Don’t invent the wheel – there are plenty of examples – which you can start from
  • Everyone can be mistaken from time to time, it’s ok to fail – It’s important to learn from it.

Those may be the data collected from sprints, Excel sheets, figures calculated over your work. All of those matters. Analyze them and make wise decisions. Keep trying.
Eventually, no tool, methodology, language o approach is given forever (I hope) 🙂

It may sound like a paradox but, as professor Adam Grant says, people, who try over and over again are not afraid of trying, get better results than those, who plan in detail and then act or do not even try.

I recommend you his TED speech:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxbCHn6gE3U

And how about you? Do you collect data? Do you use them?