A generation ago, even when job market conditions favored candidates, employers could count on a certain mutual interest in a steady and lasting relationship with their workers. Even if employees could probably find jobs elsewhere, they saw benefit in staying put. They wanted stable employment with a steady paycheck, they wanted vested pensions, and they didn’t want their resumes to mark them as “job hoppers”. But times have changed. These concerns no longer motivate most employees to park themselves in their chairs, and the average job tenure now lasts about two years (and falling).
Employees are constantly on the move, and the concept of mutual loyalty has become a quaint remnant of the past. So what’s a hiring manager to do? Loyalty issues aside, turnover is expensive, and replacing a single employee can sometimes cost more than that person’s annual salary.
According to research, one answer lies in increased transparency. If you’re honest with your employees (and candidates) from the start, they’ll be more likely to trust you, and if they trust you, they’ll stay. Here are two elements of transparency that could use some improvement in most workplaces.
Do you include clear salary data, or at least a range, on your job posts? If you already do this, give yourself high marks. Visible, upfront salary data lets candidates know if it’s worth their effort to apply. But it also sends a positive message: It shows that as a company, you’re open, you have nothing to hide, and you’d rather not engage in defensive manipulation. This is a healthy opening salvo in an employee-employer relationship, and if you can share salary information upfront, you’ll start your dialogue off on the right foot. Skipping this move suggests that you’ll negotiate hard to pay your candidates as little as you can possibly get away with—Not a welcoming sign.
Do you have an entrenched cultural problem that you aren’t exactly proud of? Do you wish you could wave a wand and give your company culture some qualities it doesn’t currently have? All managers do. But when it comes to attracting and retaining candidates, you have two choices: You can hide the problem and lure top candidates into signing on, OR you can describe your culture honestly and let your candidates make their own decisions…while working diligently behind the scenes to fix the issue. Choose the first, and your great new hires will slide out the door as soon as they get their desks packed. Choose the second, and you’ll earn respect for your honesty, which may translate into a longer and healthier relationship with your new employee.
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