5 Reasons Why Many Employers Are Terrible at Recruiting & Retaining Employees

Why do many employers not have a clue how to hire, retain and motivate great people?

This was a question posed in a recent Forbes article, which highlighted how many companies “realize that their continued success depends on being able to select, retain, and motivate great people. Yet … they acknowledge that they don’t really know what to do.”

Employee Attitude The author offered ten reasons why many companies fail to get it right when it comes to executing best practices in recruitment and retention. You have likely heard most of them before but I found his comments about them candid and practical. Here a few of my favorite reasons:

1. It’s HR’s problem. It’s not. It’s the leaders’ problem.  At most companies (especially the fastest growing ones), HR is chronically under-staffed and having difficulty keeping up with the more nuts-and-bolts aspects of their jobs (i.e., getting payroll out the door, doing basic hiring/promotion, and generally keeping the business moving ahead).

2. What gets you promoted, doesn’t make you a great leader or manager of people. When you start out in your career, how do you get promoted?  You get stuff done.  Whether you’re an accountant, a lawyer, or a tech exec, you do a lot of work and you do it well.  What gets you promoted when you’re a manager of people?  Getting a lot of people underneath you get stuff done.  That’s a totally different skill set, which an MBA won’t help you with.  You’ve got to learn it on the fly and most people don’t have a clue.

3. Performance reviews and goal-setting doesn’t happen. If you’re doing a poor job of sitting down with your people and not at least setting goals with them and giving them feedback on how they’re doing, they’re going to look for other opportunities where they get that feedback.

4. Bosses get sucked into promoting based on performance and not potential. We like to predict who will be a great future sports star or future executive.  But have you ever looked at how well all the expensive NBA, NFL and baseball teams do at drafting young players?  They’re lousy.  Don’t fall into the trap of promoting someone because they’re young, cute, and bright and you think they’ll be great in some new role.  Have they actually accomplished really challenging projects?  Getting real complex tasks done is a better predictor of future performance than just some subjective assessment of their potential.

5. Allowing “bozos” to infiltrate a team. Great talent loves other talent.  They can take a lot of abuse (see Steve Jobs at Apple (AAPL)), as long as they’re surrounded by great people doing great things.  What talent hates is when “yes men” and brown-nosers – with no talent or at least much less talent – are made their peers or (worse) their bosses.  Instant pink slips.

Growth can mask a lot of problems. However, you shouldn’t neglect the issue of talent selection, retention, and motivation in your company for too long. You only have to go through the experience of trying to replace a “star” once to know what I mean.

Click here to read more about why many employers are terrible at recruiting, selecting, and motivating, their talent.



Ira S Wolfe