With the average cost of hiring a new employee ranging anywhere from USD$4,000 to USD$7,645 and beyond, it’s no surprise that hiring for loyalty is at the top of any HR department’s agenda. But how exactly do you hire for loyalty and, once you’ve hired who you think is a loyal employee, how do you ensure that they stay?
The importance of employee loyalty
The benefits of a loyal employee extend far beyond the costs of recruiting their replacement. A loyal employee also brings:
- Efficiency – the longer someone is in their role, the more efficient they become at tasks;
- Progression – long-serving employees tend to build their careers within a company, bringing you home-grown talent;
- Performance – loyal employees care about the growth of the company; and
- Culture – loyal employees help to maintain a positive workplace culture.
How to hire for loyalty
The benefits are clear, but hiring for loyalty can be easier said than done – with even your most promising long-term staff unexpectedly handing in their notice. The problem is that many companies focus on only one aspect of recruiting for loyalty when, in fact, they should be focusing on three:
First, you need to attract loyal candidates to your vacancy, encouraging them to apply. This is done by:
- Building an employer brand through recommendations, a dedicated careers webpage, and social media – somewhere that people aspire to work;
- Offering a competitive salary – it’s not the biggest driver of employee satisfaction, but it is a driver;
- Offering worthwhile benefits – sure artificial grass and an inside slide are fun, but top employee perks such as flexible working, free childcare, and remote working are better long-term; and
- Making the interview process as flexible as you can – it’s your first impression after all.
Once you’ve attracted candidates to apply to your position, next, you need to determine which of those candidates will be most loyal, while still fulfilling all the requirements of the role. Achieve this by:
- Looking beyond qualifications – while skills matching important, but you also want to see qualities such as a willingness to learn, a passion for performance, and an ability to get on with people;
- Asking candidates for the reasons behind leaving previous positions – previous job hopping isn’t necessarily a bad sign, it might be for the reason that there wasn’t a career-for-life for them there;
- Assessing cultural fit – we all know how difficult it is to stay loyal when you really don’t fit in; and
- Trusting employee referrals – current employees will refer family and friends because they see them fitting in, doing well, and staying.
Finally, once you’ve attracted and hired your employee, you then need to make them want to stay. This is done by demonstrating the company’s loyalty and trustworthiness by:
- Keeping salaries competitive – conduct regular market reviews;
- Delivering the benefits promised – if you said you offered free breakfast on a Friday, offer free breakfast on a Friday;
- Use employee engagement techniques to empower employees to perform, learn, and progress – and rewarding them when they do; and
- Ensuring that everyone has the tools to do their job and a voice to contribute to the company’s strategy.
Hiring for loyalty – key message
Ultimately, to hire for loyalty, you must demonstrate loyalty – making employees feel proud and valued, which makes potential employees want to work for you and stay with you. And, if it doesn’t work out – so be it – your next hire can be even better.