Yes, Recruiting Is Retention: #TChat Recap

When I talk to other recruiters and ask them what job #1 is, they’ll say it’s recruiting. And when I ask them where talent retention fits in their job descriptions, I often get a blank stare — or a slow head shake. But yesterday, during TalentCulture #TChat, I saw many nods of assent. We really enjoyed the topic, by the way: Putting recruiting and retention together is important to finding and growing outstanding teams of talent for employing organizations.

Not everyone will agree with me on this notion, but who is responsible for retaining talent? In talent pro circles, the dynamics between recruiting and retention are well documented and controversial. I’ve spent most of my career to date focusing on the idea that recruiting and retention go hand-in-hand for long-term organizational success and happiness for all parties involved, whether you’re a contract recruiter, contingency recruiter, or in-house recruiter (and the list goes on). It’s a philosphy and a style of recruiting.

Of the dozens of fabulous recruiters, leaders and HR professionals who joined yesterday’s chat, more than three-quarters agreed that retention and recruiting go hand-in-hand — though not all thought the two deserved equal weight. Tweeted @Beverly_Davis:

“A recruiter is like a gardner [sic]. They plant a seed but must keep watering & tending that seed to make it grow.”

While others posited that recruiters, who have first contact with most candidates, bear some responsibility for retention, @WellWork (Bob Merberg) inserted a few words of caution:

“Recruiters play a multifaceted role in retention. “Responsible”? Tough cross to bear in complex orgs.”

Clearly, our #TChat participants were chewing over the question. It’s a thorny one in complex organizations, as Merberg points out, but perhaps more difficult in small companies on a steep growth path. Making recruiting an exercise in retention isn’t simple, really. Go figure. But the takeaway from this week’s Twitter chat is that we all have a responsibility to recruit to retain talent.

Why is retention so important? It’s a tall order to maintain institutional knowledge and build long-term relationships by hiring from outside your company. Look at this Knowledge @Wharton article — published just yesterday (can you say fortuitous?) — which reports results of a study conducted by Wharton professor Matthew Bidwell on the virtues of what Bidwell calls “internal labor market structures.” Bidwell, who points out that internal candidates promoted into a new role cost a company less than an external hire and perform better in the first two years of that job, is a fan of making retention part of the talent management game plan.

So are many of you. My friend @ValaAfshar tweeted this gem:

“Employee retention is a function of (order matters): culture, people, process and then technology.”

We couldn’t agree more. Vala’s prescient observation was followed by an RT from @Thin Difference (via @Ray_anne):

“Hire 4 character, train 4 skill” …paraphrasing something I read earlier this week

So, recruiters and hiring leaders, always keep the long game in mind when searching for a candidate. And don’t neglect talent on hand. They may not have the shiniest resume, but they have the local knowledge, and that’s hard to beat. Let’s keep listening and tuning into what matters most — talented people who help drive your business.

Following is a slideshow displaying a sampling of yesterday’s many wise tweets. Thanks for joining us. We’ll see you next week!

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