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Just Looking for a Warm Body

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

These are desperate times for many employers trying to staff their organization. I sympathize with HR professionals and organization leaders who are really struggling to hire and retain employees.

But we’re better than, “At this point, we’re just looking for some warm bodies.”

When we take that approach, corresponding attitudes and behaviors follow. We get lazy with our job postings. We’re not fully engaged in our interviews. And the training we provide suffers.

I was working with a client a couple years ago who reached out for some assistance in helping to improve their retention. They would receive a fair number of applications but, once hired, employees would leave quickly—often within two weeks. The senior leadership team and I had some powerful discussions, but much of the blame went to the “lazy” people who aren’t really interested in a job.

At one point, we had our breakthrough moment, when one manager shared, “I don’t even take the time to learn their name now until they [new employee] makes it two weeks.” I looked around the room and nearly everyone was nodding along.

"I don't even that the time to learn their name"

While the leadership team was committed to the organization, they had been severely overlooking their role in employees’ onboarding experience. These new employees would start and were immediately looked at as outsiders who didn’t belong. In fact, they needed to earn their stripes before being welcomed as part of the team.

As organization leaders, HR professionals, and colleagues, we play a significant role in shaping our workplace culture and the experience new employees have with our organization. While imperative to maintain operations, it is equally imperative we are strategic in hiring the right people who can not only do the job but who will also be a good fit for our work environment. Once hired, we need to wholeheartedly welcome them to the team. We have to provide them the resources and tools they need to be successful. And we need to begin socializing them into our organization.

That starts with learning their name.

We're in this together.

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