In human capital, we seem to have forgotten that those whom we support are integrated and coherent humans. Our approach is disjointed, often segmented across multiple third-party providers.

The last time you changed jobs, was the experience smooth and integrated? Maybe you worked with a contract recruiter at first. Onboarding – if there was any at all – was handled by another external provider. Over the first six months, you received little or no feedback. Since this was the company-wide norm, performance suffered and turnover was high. The company then engaged one consultant to improve performance and another to promote retention.

A disjointed employee experience life cycle – which includes all of what we just described through to the point at which employee and employer part ways – is killing engagement and retention. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that people born between 1957 and 1964 changed jobs an average of 11.7 times between the ages of 18 and 48. This behavior is in sharp contrast to their Silent Generation parents, who believed that rewards and promotion were directly tied to loyalty and tenure.

It’s time for all of this to change, and it starts with minimizing the number of distinct parties involved in managing the employment life cycle experience.

The Solution Is a Continuum 

At every stage of the life cycle, a positive employee experience promotes satisfaction, which promotes retention. For example, extensive research conducted by Drs. Jack Wiley and Brenda Kowske indicates that recognition is second only to compensation in terms of what is most important to employees. When companies take a disjointed approach to employment life cycle management, there is greater opportunity to fall short, especially in the gaps between stages. Service providers in the HR space can foster employee satisfaction by offering an integrated end-to-end solution that incorporates recognition and other best practices (see the list, below).

This approach can make a substantial and positive difference for all stakeholders by ensuring each stage is carefully woven into the next according to a coherent strategy. In addition, it’s easier to spot and respond to weaknesses in a continuum-based solution.

Eye-Opening Data

As in other areas of HR and business, the approach should be data-driven. You may be surprised at what you learn. For example, according to the 2016 Trendicators Report, 80 percent of employees aged 25-34 consider length-of-service award programs to be effective and make people feel valued.

GirlSurprised? It seems the problem isn’t with the millennials. Rather, we need to look within to ensure we’re not unwittingly driving employees to seek work elsewhere. Key factors in employee satisfaction include compensation, professional development, employee recognition, interesting work, and more.

Design What You Want – or Deal With What You Get

As you design your solution, it should include the following best practices:

  1. Develop employment branding that is rich in content and targets specific candidates. Go beyond “employer of choice” and market each open position as an “opportunity of choice.”
  2. Promote active engagement in the candidate stage through high-touch recruitment.
  3. Train your hiring authorities so they can deliver a timely and coherent interview process. At every step, even candidates who are not hired should come away with a positive experience.
  4. Provide an onboarding experience that enhances practical training with a deep dive into company culture and history.
  5. Set up ongoing engagement programs, such as mentoring, rewards and recognition, teambuilding, etc.
  6. Encourage employee referrals. According to Jobvite, referrals make up the largest percentage of employees who are still with a company after two years.
  7. Celebrate milestones and inspire loyalty by presenting length-of-service awards.

In a perfect world, employees would stay with one employer for years – not because that’s what their parents did, but because they believe there is no better place to work. An HR service provider that can deliver integrated excellence across the life cycle can transform companies into industry leaders in attracting and retaining top talent.

Kim Shepherd joined Decision Toolbox, a 100 percent virtual organization providing recruitment solutions, in 2000 as CEO.

Darren Findley is a recruitment process outsourcing industry veteran. He brings more than 32 years of recruiting and staffing solutions experience to Engage2Excel, where he leads the recruitment solutions team.

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