Recruiting is not a solution to your attrition problem!

It seems to me now more than ever that companies are expecting Recruiting to solve the problems they have been experiencing retaining their people.  While this is not new, I believe this is a concept that can’t be ignored any longer.  Many companies are forced to make some hard choices when there is an economic downturn or if there are other financial troubles.  You can’t fault a company for that fact.  But it is how the hard choices are handled — as well as how the people who help weather the storm are treated — that has a direct correlation to how employees handle their choices when the tides change.

Many companies cut headcount, reduced or took away benefits, halted people development, slashed recruiting, and stretched their people incredibly thin to get more for less.  Now the pressure is on Recruiting to fill the gaps left by people who now have more options.  Ironically, the Recruiting budgets are likely still at reduced levels or the Recruiters may have just been hired to replace past reductions.  But Recruiting does not fix the problems the attrition brings such as:

  • Loss of intellectual capital – and that incredibly valuable “tribal knowledge” of how things work and how things get done in the organization
  • Damage to the employer brand in a vocal marketplace with many tools for people to share/find information about the candidate and employee experience
  • Trying to maintain or foster a corporate culture amidst significant people changes


These are just some of the things that are also making the Recruiter’s job that much more challenging.  Imagine trying to back fill a job that is now specified not based on the role, but the person who just left.  The person who was probably doing more than the role was originally defined — and was likely able to do because of that “tribal knowledge” that just walked out the door with them.  The new candidates now have easy access to candidate and employee “reviews” that reflect how they have been treated.  And it goes without saying the companies prefer the salary to remain at the same level, but prospective candidates expect the salary to reflect their market value.

People are not a commodity.  Recruiting cannot “fix” the problem, but the pressure is certainly on to be a part of the solution.  I’d love to hear some stories of companies who understand this and what they are doing to address.  What do YOU think companies should be doing to solve the problem?

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Chris Havrilla

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06 2011

5 Comments Add Yours ↓

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  1. Tammy Colson #

    In the vein of “what we are still doing wrong” – I had a discussion yesterday with two recruiting & talent development pros. Both in the business for many years.

    We were discussing something as simple as LinkedIn profiles for employees, and how some employers panic at the thought of ee’s having those profiles online because their staff “might get recruited away”.

    My thought was that if you are worried about them being lured away, why don’t you start developing ways to keep them. Happy and career satisfied employees don’t go looking for new opportunities, as we generally resist change, unless a situation is intolerable.

    So what should those companies be doing? Taking a hard look at why employees might be leaving. And fix that. We can affect whats in front of us. Worrying about online profiles won’t stop dissatisfied employees from finding better working environments.

    • Chris Havrilla #

      Amen Sister!

  2. 3

    I think you have to get to the ROOT CAUSE of your attrition problem. Until you do that, nothing wil solve the issue, not recruiting, not rewards, nothing. Great posts!

  3. Nancy Strasner #

    I’m afraid I can’t give example of how it’s being done “right” but can only add to the “AMEN!”. LOVE this site,love this post. Keep on keeping on Sister! You and Teela are doing great things with this blog!

  4. 5

    Ladies, I agree with your point. Recruitment is just a temporary solution which doesn’t eliminate the root cause. It even generates more costs than management expects to cut. New joiners need to be trained and it takes a while until they become productive. The focus should be elsewhere when attrition strikes, not on recruitment. Retention strategies should be better dealt with.


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