Recruiting is Retention: Yes or No? #TChat Preview

Hey, folks — by the time you read this I’ll be headed to sunny San Diego for ERE Expo 2012 Spring, a longstanding and educational conference put on by the folks over at ERE. I’ll be shaking hands with, sharing meals with and talking to an awful lot of recruiters.

And if there’s one stance sure to get recruiters talking, it’s the one we’ve chosen for this week’s “#TChat, the World of Work“:

Is recruiting retention?

Of course not, some scoff. Obviously a recruiter’s job is to find the right fit, to place the right candidate in the right position. …right?

Recruiting, at its most basic form, consists of activities that are undertaken to convince employees of other companies to leave where they are for a new job. In other words, recruiting results in the influx of new talent into a company, whereas retention is the practice of keeping current employees happy and where they are, inside your company. So, some argue, lumping them together makes as much sense as merging sales and service (but even that is up for debate).

The argument for tying recruiting to retention is that, if the recruiters got the right people to start with, employees would be more engaged (natch), and those people, being such great fits, would stay longer. The problem with that theory, many exasperated recruiters counter, is that corporate and third party recruiters often are not the ones making the final hiring decision, so how can you tie the two together?

Ah, counters the other side, retention should absolutely be recruiting’s responsibility. In fact, some believe that bonuses and fees should be based on time in the job, a “retention clock” of sorts. Over at the TalentCircles blog, #TChat’s own Kevin W. Grossman recently stated:

… I’d argue that insightful leaders understand that reducing turnover, increasing team retention and improving overall quality of fit with workplace culture are huge initiatives in an ever-changing and highly competitive social talent economy. That means everybody pre- and post-onboarding on your team plays a role in “user adoption.”

The reason we should tie recruiting to retention is as plain as the nose on your face. Hires mean next to nothing if they don’t stay with the company. The costs to keep an employee are always cheaper than the costs to recruit a new one.

So what is the answer? The truth is, while many marketing materials for human resource technology or recruiting tech pair the two words, there is very little information on which approach works better. One thing all of us may agree on, is that a retention strategy that includes recruiting must be integrated across the enterprise. Tying a recruiter’s livelihood to retention and then putting him or her at the mercy of poor management, capricious hiring management techniques and engagement budgetary cuts, is just plain wrong.

This is the part where we turn to you. As sourcing and recruiting technology gets more sophisticated, are recruiting professionals required to up their game when it comes to retention, cultural fit and the like? Or does talent acquisition need to be afforded more respect in the broader scheme of business functions? It’s tough to say.

Join Meghan M. Biro on Wednesday, March 28, at 7-8 pm ET (6-7 pm CT, 4-5 pm PT, or wherever you are) as she moderates this week’s #TChat, “Recruiting is retention: Yes or no?Kevin W. Grossman and yours truly will join her (and you) from ERE Expo and hopefully get some recruiting practitioners to weigh in. It’s sure to be an exciting discussion. As always, supporting us on the back channel will be our stellar social team led by Salima NathooSean Charles and others. Following are this week’s questions. Be there!