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In-Person Ramp-Up: Hiring and Retaining in This Crazy Economy

Image of job interviewees.

In researching the challenges those in the meeting industry face when finding and keeping employees, the response is like other industries: We can’t find them; They won’t work for us; We have no problem finding people, but don’t have a good track record of making quality hires; and We hire them, and we train them, but we can’t seem to keep them. 

So, what can you do to reach (and keep) the right people for your company? Here are 10 steps that will help you step up your HR game: 

1. Create a Referral Program That Works

Statistically, referrals are the best source of quality hires. Everyone is a recruiter! Make it easy to post openings on social media and give incentives for each post. Make it easy and do some training on it. (One-page sheet, mobile ads, etc.) 


2. Pump Up Your Hiring Page

Is this something candidates can find easily? Don’t make them look for it. If hiring is your No. 1 priority, consider including a splash page on your website. Also, every hiring page should include three videos: 1.) A video in which the CEO/owner discusses the company; 2.) a “Day in the Life” video. (Make it cool and high quality—the meetings industry can be fun!; and 3.) employee testimonial videos. These are easy to produce on smartphones. Also, create a hiring FAQ. Don’t make applicants guess at your hiring process. Let them know what they can expect each step of the way and then live up to your timeline.  

[Related: [12 Major Changes Coming to the Meetings and Events Industry—And How to Prepare]

3. Avoid Turnover by Not Hiring Misfits

Many people hire a candidate out of desperation—to finish the hiring process so they can go back to doing their job. However, many new hires don’t have the necessary skills or personality type. So, test for skills and assess for personality type. I also like to take candidates through case scenarios related to their greatest work challenges. Ask behavioral interview questions. My favorite one: Ask them what felt unfair in their last job. Keep asking the question “why?” until you understand how they deal with situations that they feel are unfair. Also, ask them about when they were most excited about their previous job and explore why.  

4. Have an Onboarding Process

Once you’ve hired someone, don’t ignore him or her. You are in the meetings industry, so you should know how to create an engaging onboarding experience! Take a checklist approach, including an entrance interview on the person’s first day. Find out why he or she decided to come work for you. Then use that data to go back to the candidate market. New employees are like mini-consultants. On the first day share a 60-day survey asking what they can see about the company you can’t see for yourself and have them share their experiences. Go over that survey with them on the 60th day.  

5. Understand the Real Costs of the ‘Big Quit’ or ‘Great Resignation’

We are experiencing unprecedented rates of turnover. In my experience, the full cost of turnover is roughly 1:1 at the mid-point salary (i.e., if the employee earns $60,000, the turnover costs are roughly $60,000). If the employee earns over the midpoint, the ratio increases, below, it decreases. Remember, turnover is contagious. Here are just some of the costs involved: 

  • Costs per employee/manager/HR 
  • Separation costs 
  • Vacancy costs (overtime, temps, etc.) 
  • Increased stress on remaining staff 
  • Cost of hiring a new employee 
  • Onboarding costs 
  • Training costs 
  • Soft costs (including client/customer dissatisfaction) 

And don’t forget revenue equivalency. Every HR problem becomes a sales problem. How much revenue will you have to bring in to make up for that turnover cost? The ratio is conservatively 4:1—that $60,000 in turnover cost represents $240,000 in marginal replacement revenue. How many new clients does that represent?  

6. Find Out Why They Are Leaving by Conducting Exit Interviews

Is it poor onboarding (they will usually leave in the first 30 days.); compensation (are you paying the “market” rate?); poor fit culturally; better opportunities elsewhere; retirement (maybe they can work part-time); changing career paths; or is it the boss (are they getting trained on the “soft” stuff?)? 

7. Make Hybrid Work…WORK!

Hybrid work is here to stay. The good news is it opens you up to job candidates from anywhere! Flexibility is the buzzword. The shift must focus on results, not activities. Reach out to your employees at least once per week for one-on-one meetings. Send handwritten notes and company swag to them, too. 

8. Pump Up the Growth Opportunities

Just what are the growth opportunities? Do you provide career ladders? Is there career planning? Don’t let titles get in the way of career advancement. Have they been assigned a mentor? A coach? 

9. Brand the Employee Experience

Everything you’ve learned about branding applies to branding the employee experience. Use affinity clothing, posters, quotes, testimonials, etc. Remember to send some posters and other swag home to help them stay visually and emotionally connected to your office. 

10. Lastly, Keep Up With the Competition

What are they paying? How are they attracting employees? What benefits are they offering?

We are in a battle for talent that won’t be going away anytime soon. Try these 10 steps and watch your HR game improve.

Read Next: 25 Ways to Future-Proof Your Meetings and Events Firm