March 20, 2014

How To Future Proof Your Hiring Decisions

astonished business woman holding ipadA recent survey by Hay Group suggests that a global talent exodus is occurring, with there having been a 12.9 percent increase in average employee turnover since 2012, and with average employee turnover expected to rise from 20.6 percent to 23.4 percent over the next five years.

And recruiters simply cannot ignore this predicted dramatic reduction in new hire loyalty and need to react by future proofing their hiring decisions, i.e. making appointments that are equipped to weather the culture and environment of the new employer and stay for the long term.

One good starting point for this future proofing of hiring decisions is ‘realistic job previews’ or RJPs. The RJP is a philosophy and approach to assessment and selection that requires employers to provide candidates with information as to both the positive and negative aspects of working at a business.

It is based around the psychological contract aspect of employee engagement which suggests that when employees join a business there is an unwritten, informal psychological contract which is formed between employer and employee, which is separate from the written contract. This includes the unspoken/unwritten mutual obligations and expectations that employer and employee has about the operation, which might include, level of stress, out of hours working, level of risk, freedom to complain, culture, acceptable levels of conflict, bullying, etc. However, this psychological contract is problematic as it is not usually addressed face on, which means both employer and employee can unknowingly break it further down the line leading to serious employee relations issues and turnover.

This is where realistic job previews come in as they are meant to give candidates a more realistic view of the job and provide an explanation of those informal aspects of the psychological contract, which are not mentioned in the glossy brochures and sales patter. It helps to remove the rose tinted aspect of your employer brand and aims to provide a more balanced and realistic perspective of the positive and negative aspects of working at your business.

But, what advantage does this bring? Well, according to several studies in this research review, RJPs have been shown to reduce employee turnover by lowering initial job expectations and by increasing resultant job satisfaction. There is also a side effect to RJPs as they increase the dropout rates of applicants, but this can arguably be seen as a self selection mechanism, because those who remain in the hiring process are much more likely to be loyal.

And so what form can the RJP take? It varies but a typical RJP might include a video showing a typical day/week in the job, or perhaps a collection of managers talking frankly about a typical day in the job, what it’s like working there in their team and for a specific manager.

And finally, for RJPs to work, studies show that it’s important that it is a balanced portrayal of the positive and negative job aspects. It should also talk specifically about the job, present several aspects of the job and come from a credible person, (perhaps another job incumbent). And finally, be sure that the information presented is the most crucial information for the candidate to know before accepting the job offer.

Good luck with future proofing your hiring decisions.

Read more in Hiring Process

Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.