Workforce retention begins in the recruiting process


During a recent conference at which I spoke, I asked the audience about their turnover rate and had three answers that included 22%, 30% and 50%. These are notable numbers and with a cost of 25% of a position to replace employees, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this expense must be reduced. The first step in cutting these costs and increasing workforce retention begins in the recruiting process. Interactions with recruits can be turned to your advantage and can build affiliation to your company with the first contact and subsequent conversations.

The flow chart below explains the affiliation process at a glance. It runs from top to bottom and explains the nature of the process in detail including four contacts to create assimilation. You can see that leaders and team members are active throughout the process. The following are some key points from the flow chart:

1.   An excellent job description should be created. 


2.   Often the affiliation process includes the use of a hiring team.

3.   An employee should be contacted at least four times before the first day of employment to build affiliation, rapport, excitement, and commitment.

4.   The hiring team should participate in the process of building rapport. It is not meant to be the exclusive duty of the manager

5.   Ensure a successful first day on the job.

6.    As an employer, leader or manager make  sure that a positive impression is left on the employee from the very first day he/she arrives to work. The first day of work is critical to creating a lasting and valued impression, as it is part of an employee’s evaluation of the long-term success with the company.©As part of the first impression the new employee’s desk should be stocked with office supplies which includes; staplers, pens, pencils, note pads, tape and all other essential supplies including the person’s business card with the exact title. It might be thought that this is such a rudimentary suggestion however; I have observed in many organizations that this step is taken very lightly. This sends a clear message to the new hire that the entity is organized, respectful, and committed to the success of the new person. If you walk into your space on the first day and see these items on your desk, what is your reaction?

An introductory packet should be waiting on the desk and should contain some basic information. An organizational chart along with important phone numbers of key contacts and important locations, such as the bathroom, copy room and break room would be beneficial. Included, could be specific notes about people such as team members, and their responsibilities. Also, department heads, what they do, what the worker is expected to do vs. what he/she isn’t expected to do and some cultural tips also help in the transition.

A schedule of the first day’s events is very important. It could include a meeting with HR, a visit from the EVP and a team lunch, which should be on the docket along with some one-on-one time with the direct supervisor. Scheduled activities on the first day of employment helps to ease the tensions, allows for informal discussions and begins the process of imprinting to the organization, an important psychological step in retention.

There are ongoing means of increasing retention but for purposes of calling attention to rethinking the recruiting process the topic is not broadened.


Larry Friis is the Principal of High-touch Leadership, an advisory services firm. Larry spent 23 years in the banking industry and sat on the Board of two financial institutions. Larry has also spent time as a Healthcare executive and has an active license as a Healthcare Administrator and he is now pursuing a doctoral degree, which focuses on business and corporate leadership. He is writing a book titled – Great companies know: Employees are customers too, which is due to be published in December 2018.


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