Business Resources

Employee Attraction, Engagement and Retention

Information on Employee Attraction, Engagement and Retention

The main issue we hear from our members on a consistent basis is that they are having difficulty attracting, engaging and retaining employees. Because of this, the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce started the “Employment Committee a few months back in an attempt to address this issue. The committee–comprised of business owners (Members of the Chamber) and representatives from community-based organizations such as CareerworksNova and the Department of Community Services–decided one of the first things that was needed was a survey of a sampling of the local workforce to determine more about their wants, needs and expectations so we could pass along this information to employers. It is important for empoyers to know what current and potential employees want before attempting to give it to them. The survey, which contained 11 basic questions, can be found by clicking here. A report on the results can be found here (both are in pdf format and Adobe Reader is required to open them). A total of 64 people from the Colchester area who are currently looking for employment filled out this survey.The results speak for themselves. Pay is not the most important aspect of a job for most people, it is “enjoying the work.” It is also worth nothing that enjoying the work is about more than the actual physical job that a person does, it’s about feeling comfortable in the atmosphere, feeling valued and not being made to feel irrelevant or replaceable at the drop of a hat.

If you’re looking for tools on how to properly interview a job applicant, how to create a job description, templates for things like rejection letter, etc., click here. It will bring you to the “HR Toolkit” posted on the Nova Scotia Government’s website. it contains loads of valuable information and resources centred around Human Resources. The templates along can save you lots of valuable time. You simply need to download them and fill in the blanks to customize them to your business.

We would also recommend the “Welcoming Workplaces” document published by the province that contains information  on handling a diverse workplace. It comes complete with checklists and tips to ensure your company is the most welcoming it can be to employees.

On November 29th, the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce welcomed Jeff Forbes–Vice President and Managing Partner at Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette–for a luncheon called Top Tips for Attracting, Engaging and Retaining Employees. Mr. Forbes is primarily responsible for leading searches for Executive leadership, senior management and accounting/finance professionals. He has successfully completed hundreds of searches for a wide spectrum of public and private organizations. At this luncheon, Mr. Forbes shared his Top 10 Tips for employee attraction and engagement, which we will share below. The bottom line is all of these boil down to keeping open lines of communication with employees and making them feel like their work is relevant and that they are wanted and needed. One of his main points during his presentation was that very few people quit jobs or leave positions because they feel they are underpaid. They quit because they feel undervalued, irrelevant and unappreciated. The tips are as follows:

  1. Show your employees you are human – Say hi when you pass them, strike up a simple conversation, etc.
  2. Socialize with your employees in and out of the workplace – Employees want to know who you are as a person, not just as a boss. This could be as simple as having a Christmas gathering at your house or at a neutral spot. (Please remember, this needs to be handled wisely)
  3. Talk more, email less – Emails can make you seem very impersonal. Talk with your employees face-to-face. Offer praise in an open environment. Offer constructive criticism in a one-on-one meeting.
  4. Give feedback every chance you get – Let your employees know when they are doing something right, not just when they are doing something wrong. People want to be recognized for their work and they also want to measure progress and make improvements.
  5. Ask for feedback every chance you get – Give employees the opportunity to offer input into an idea or initiative. This allows people to feel valued and that they are having an impact.
  6. Conduct exit interviews – Ask people why they are leaving. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. If you hear the same thing time and time again, try to rectify the issue. (One thing that was stressed is that if you don’t already have an open line of communication with your employees, the chances of them offering information like this openly and freely in an exit interview is very slim. Ultimately, if the first time you’ve asked someone about working for you or your company is during an exit interview, they won’t feel comfortable and you won’t get honest information.
  7. Share information that might normally be deemed confidential – This builds trust and allows people to feel valued. in some cases, companies actually share their financial statements with employees. This may not be possible for everyone, but there are other types of information you can share.
  8. Allow for more autonomy – This allows employees to be creative and they won’t feel like they are being smothered.
  9. Encourage personal and professional growth outside of work – It is human nature to want to grow and improve.
  10. Become a company people want to work for – You accomplish this through what past and present employees are saying about your company outside of work. The best and worst form of advertising is still word of mouth. Make sure those who are working for you and who have worked for you have positive things to say.

The bottom line is open, two-way communication between employer and employee needs to take place in order for a company to be a place where people want to work. If you have any questions and/or comments, please mail [email protected], re: employee attraction/retention.