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Recruitment - Is Retention the Real Minefield?

In the first two articles of this series on implementing an optimum HR strategy, Tony Brookes, Sales Director, Vacancy Filler Recruitment Software, looked at the different recruitment methods and at ways to ensure a recruitment strategy really delivers. In this final article of the series, he examines how, once the time and effort put into recruitment has delivered the best candidates, they can be motivated and retained. At the point of hire, the hiring organisation knows as much as they possibly can about an individual. All too often, however, the care taken in hiring stops there and this is where things can go wrong. The process is far from complete. The next step is to ensure that effective Performance and Talent Management systems are in place so that the candidate, who has been carefully selected, can be nurtured throughout their career. As part of this, engaging the Learning and Development process early - even to the point of commencing new-starter training through computer based training tools - will help ensure that the staff are motivated and become productive as quickly as possible.

From Recruitment to Retention - Performance Management

In the larger organisation in particular, it is important to integrate all the facets of the recruitment process with the talent management systems. Having disparate and disjointed IT systems, including standalone recruitment assessment tools, will mean extra administration and a disjointed process where good candidates and later employees run the risk of being lost in the gaps between the systems.

One of the reasons performance management systems have been unpopular in some organisations has been their complexity. The first systems simply involved automating existing paper processes which led to a plethora of Word document templates, spreadsheets and other tools which were rarely integrated in any meaningful way so that it was difficult to make sense of, or use data effectively. And it threw up that many of the processes themselves needed to be changed.

Some companies feel that some Performance Management systems do little in the way of motivating and guiding employees to become better corporate citizens. In fact a poorly implemented Performance Management system is likely to be counterproductive. Some performance management systems can be confusing or difficult to navigate - often through a simple lack of training - but more commonly there is little understanding of what the overall corporate objectives are when it comes to engaging staff. Worse still, the outcomes of many performance reviews are not acted upon either by the hosting manager or more commonly because he or she is not too sure what they are able to offer their staff to help develop their careers. This can be demotivating for both the HR department and employee alike.

Many HR directors are now getting to grips with this issue. Mistakes of the past whereby HR technology has been implemented against a backdrop of a poorly defined scope, is starting to diminish. As the business objectives and goals are generally clearly defined, not surprisingly a considerable factor to the successful delivery, or otherwise, is the 'people' element, although it has taken some organisations some time to recognise the importance of this element. Delegating the responsibility for the motivation and development of staff to both the senior and middle management team inevitably dilutes the corporate message. Defining the scope, having a strong and more importantly, an engaging communication policy, is fundamental to getting your people on-side.

A good performance management system, used effectively, can help organisations in a number of ways. Firstly, it can help with recruitment by making it easier to identify the right applicants and organize their applications through an application tracking system (ATS).

Secondly, it can help managers to define and keep track of employee goals and rate progress.

Thirdly, it can help with learning and development and help the integration process by providing new employees with training input. Existing employees can also improve their skills by taking courses, often leading to further qualifications.

Finally, it can help ensure that employees are suitably rewarded through their salary and benefits for their performance, which may be based on a range of metrics.

As technology and the ability to integrate data has improved, organisations have focused on simplifying processes and making them easier to use as well as an increased emphasis on what really matters.


The advent of new HR analytics software is likely to revolutionise the HR process, from recruitment to performance management and retention, both in terms of the kind of data that can be mined but also how it is presented.

By combining data mined from existing HR systems with data from a company's recruitment platform, HR Analytics can help ensure managers are hiring the best fit for their company culture, decide where candidates would be best suited within an organisation and even predict if and when they will leave a company.

Analytics is a valuable component of Talent Management and good management information. This will not only provide valuable statistics to measure the 'how are we doing?' type information but can be used to compare regions, departments and managers against set benchmarks. Because the analytics tools using existing data are already available - by using simple data extracts from the existing platforms - HR directors need not wait for the outcome of a transformational project, such as implementing a Talent Management system or an enterprise wide HR system, in order to get good HR analytics.

Once HR analytics is optimising the recruitment process, an organisation can then begin to focus on those HR areas for which analytics will provide benefits in the medium and long term - having already proved its worth to an organisation. Data captured in the recruitment process, particularly the outcome of testing results, can be linked to existing business data already in existence within the transactional HR, Payroll or Finance system.

The new breed of analytical software that is now available can combine the business-as-usual data together with data captured by the recruitment system to not only report on the current business activities, but to provide insight into various areas of the business by looking at combinations of metrics.

This will considerably improve the effectiveness of existing systems. With the new tool, HR teams are able to see where they need to focus their efforts to make improvements. This will clearly demonstrate where areas of the business are sub-optimal - thus closing the loop between deploying an HR strategy and monitoring its effectiveness.

The next step is to then look at Predictive Analytics. With an accumulation of recruitment, HR and Finance data, an HR team is able to:

  • Manage internal versus external hiring costs: By being able to see the cost trade-offs of hiring external versus internal talent and the interplay of the costs of development for either group, organisations can achieve lower overall costs of hiring and development. Organisations may also achieve increased revenue with the best mix of internal and external hires. For instance you may find for specific roles, hiring from internal sources appears to deliver value faster.
  • Minimise the risk of losing key talent: By being able to see the revenue generated by high performers and the competencies they hold, and being able through turnover analysis, to determine if any are at risk of leaving and whether the revenue stream they generate can be protected or if the cost of replacing them can be avoided.

Furthermore, as an organisation begins to exhaust its sources of existing data, the analytics engine can identify areas of missing data which could quickly enhance the existing data models, thus providing managers with an insight into the cost of capturing the data versus the business benefit in doing so.

Talent Pool

The final piece in the 'good recruitment' jigsaw that we have explored in these articles, is maintaining a talent pool of individuals who although not currently required, may fit well with the business at some stage in the future, and this can also be built into a recruitment system. After a company has spent time and money recruiting and motivating its candidates, it is likely to need to begin the process all over again as new vacancies arise. A talent pool is a database containing profiles of candidates who are or who have been interested in working with a particular organisation. It can be a good tool to help with more efficient recruitment, as when a vacancy occurs again. they can simply draw on the talent pool to profile-matching appropriate applicants and opportunities. Where there have been more good candidates than there were vacancies, or where candidates were not quite suitable for a role previously advertised but may be for a future role, it makes sense to retain their details.

This can reduce the cost of hire both in terms of money and time, and candidates may appreciate a company taking the trouble to contact them for another role, which helps in promoting the image of a company as good to work for. Candidates may, for example, have transferable skills.  Permission has to be sought from a candidate to retain their details, and the requirements of the Data Protection Act complied with, but this is not too difficult. Candidates should be communicated with on a reasonably regular basis, and the pool kept up to date.

Today's Software-as-a-Service, cloud-based offerings mean that a basic online recruitment system, which often includes basic candidate testing, can be rolled out quickly. This means that once the base system is live, the processes can be honed and more detailed candidate profiling and assessments can be added later. For small to medium enterprises, particularly where the recruitment process is managed centrally, it is possible to go live in 48 hours on a base system. For large to medium enterprises and particularly where the recruitment process is delegated to regional managers across the enterprise, or where the recruitment process requires significant change thus becoming a business transformation project, a pilot can be live in 48 hours followed by a more considered phased rollout.

In summary, be clear about what you are looking for from the outset, including selecting the right tool or combination of tools to put systems and processes in place that ensure recruitment is as 'good', efficient and pleasant as possible. Other factors such as branding and reputation as well as clarity of objectives and messages play an important role too, and are also linked to the tools you use. Good recruitment is multi-faceted and organisations need to try to ensure they address all aspects. Selecting the right kind of recruitment assistance, and having an integrated profiling, testing , recruitment, and talent and performance management process as well as a talent pool for the future will ensure that the right candidates are found, the business strategy can be realised, and that the staff motivation is maintained . This in turn means that we in the world of HR have a significant part to play in the boardrooms of both public and private organisations.

If you would like more information about selecting a new recruitment system please request Vacancy Filler's 'Guide to selecting a Recruitment System' - send an email to

About Vacancy Filler

Vacancy Filler is unique in that it provides a comprehensive, flexible, integrated, sophisticated and easy-to-use recruitment software solution which streamlines the recruitment process for both candidate and recruiter and helps quality of hire, while offering a low cost of ownership and measurable return on investment.

Quick to implement, it aims to provide 80% of the functionality of more established recruitment software platforms at 20% of the cost.

Vacancy Filler is one of the leading suppliers of comprehensive online recruitment software which enables HR teams, front-line managers and senior managers to:
* Automate and centralise the recruitment process to save time and money
*Recruit and retain top talent while reducing reliance on recruitment agencies
*Improve candidate experience and build employer brand
*Align recruitment activity with the organisation's top goals and priorities

Telephone: 0844 800 9376


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