On the Subject of Retention

I’ve had an interesting week. Yesterday I had the privilege of being a panel speaker at an event run by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). APSCo is the peak industry body for IT recruiters, and the event was focused on how to better retain our recruitment staff. My fellow panelists were researchers and mental health professionals, and my role was that of ‘practitioner’.

Clicks is known in our industry for having far above-average longevity with our staff, and people were eager to learn our secrets…

Having worked for *ahem* quite a few other recruiters in the past, I am very cognisant of the value of finding an employer whose culture aligns to my personal goals and values. I’ve recently celebrated my seventh anniversary, and have a group of incredible people in my team who will clock up 13, 12 and 9 years in 2019.

I was asked ‘what are 5 things you can offer your staff to increase their longevity’…fair enough question right? However when I reflected on how to answer, I realised that there was really only one thing you needed to offer: your culture.

Clicks has had the same Managing Director for 20 years, so our culture is extremely well evolved. It flows down into our business processes, from our hiring and performance management frameworks, to the flexibility and benefits that we offer, and even how we celebrate the little things. Our culture basically envelopes everything that we do.

If you really understand your organisation’s culture, and I’m talking deeply understand it, achieving good staff retention is much easier. You could use your culture to develop the parameters around who you hire, then use it to give you just as strict parameters about how you manage and reward performance.

This is not to say that you create a ‘cookie cutter’ hiring strategy – having shared values doesn’t mean you all buy your clothes at the same store.

Clicks has a very diverse culture:

  • 60% female
  • A third of us were born overseas, in 15 different countries
  • 20% of us are over 45
  • 20% of us are on flexible work arrangements
  • 3% of identify as having disability

So my advice to the group was this:

  1. Know your culture
  2. Recruit to it
  3. Protect it
  4. Never take your eyes off it

The last point is really about giving your staff a voice, and actually listening when they tell you it’s time for your culture to flex and evolve. Nothing should be set in stone forever.

The day before yesterday I was workshopping with the CIO of a major utilities business as to how Clicks could support them through a major cloud migration that would result in some jobs going away, or being relocated.

It highlighted how valuable the relationship is that Clicks has with this business. Because we know their culture, we can help support them in protecting it: by helping those who are displaced find appropriate roles while sourcing people for the new roles to help them achieve their business objectives in the future.

Clicks’ preferred approach to relationships with our clients is to be their trusted advisor wherever possible, over the long term. Between these two significant and impactful meetings over the past two days, I am motivated to reach out and remind you of the benefits our knowledge, expertise and market insights can provide.

I want you to think of Clicks as your partner, advocate, brand ambassador, and fierce protector of your culture.

Please call your Account Manager or call 1300 CLICKS if you’d like help defining an employer brand message to ensure your future hires are aligned with your culture.

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