4 Key Ways Organizations Can Avoid the Great Regret

SVP of Marketing & Strategic Alliances

Millions of Americans have changed or quit their jobs in recent years, leading to a movement now known as the “Great Resignation.” Over 38 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in 2021, and about 20 million quit in the first five months of 2022.

Americans had many reasons for making these changes, including better work-life balance, improved pay, and more flexible workplaces. However, not all of these decisions have worked out for the best. About one out of five Great Resignation participants now regret their decision or do not intend to stay in their new roles, according to a Harris Poll survey for USA TODAY. This has led to a new phenomenon, dubbed the “Great Regret.”

Likewise, companies that court new employees may face their own “Great Regret” if their recent hires fail to meet expectations or leave for another opportunity. This is particularly concerning as a recession looms in the U.S. economy, employers see rising costs, and employees experience growing disengagement.

Fortunately, a company’s Great Regret after the Great Resignation is not inevitable. Hiring the right candidates for the right role can significantly reduce that risk. Here are four things your process should keep in mind.

1. Start with recruitment.

Companies can start avoiding a Great Regret before they announce a job opportunity. HR departments and other leaders should fully understand the role being filled, and thus know exactly what they are looking for in a candidate. This will help guide the recruitment process and reduce the risk of hiring the wrong person.

During this process, it is important not to underestimate the value of so-called boomerang employees. These are employees who return to an organization after some time away. Such employees could provide new employee referrals, and even offer helpful hiring feedback.

2. Create the right balance between humans and technology.

The ideal recruitment process should include a mix of digital solutions and human interactions. For example, employers can use artificial intelligence (AI) to help automate redundant tasks or analyze a large amount of data, such as screening resumes for desired keywords. Recruiters, HR staff, and others involved can reach out to desired candidates for one-on-one conversations.

Using both humans and technology to their strengths will help expedite the hiring process. It can also improve the candidate experience, attracting more desirable applicants. Automation can help reduce response times while having access to a real person can provide a warmer experience for candidates.

3. Examine social media with caution.

Social media searches can be crucial for screening a job candidate. Seventy percent of employers said that every company should screen candidates’ social media profiles, according to a 2020 survey by The Harris Poll. Many employers have changed their minds about candidates after finding inappropriate language or photos on their social media profiles.

However, relying too heavily on social media for pre-employment screening could put employers at risk of discrimination claims. In addition, information found on social media may not always be accurate. To avoid these risks, employers can create a social media screening policy, disclose to candidates that they do use social media in background checks, and work with a qualified, accredited screening vendor.

4. Consider the pros and cons of reference checks.

Many organizations still contact a candidate’s previous employers, schools, or character references to verify information provided in the application process. However, some employers consider the practice outdated.

Checking references can add time and cost to the hiring process, and may not be helpful in the long run. An applicant’s current employer may not be a reference option, which limits access to recent information. The reference-checking process may not yield new information and be legally limited to certain questions.

If your organization still wants to conduct a reference check, wait until you have a short list of candidates. Request references that have direct work experience with the candidate in question. Ask open-ended questions that are specific to the role the candidate is applying for. If you learn concerning information, address it with the applicant.

Hiring a new employee is a significant investment, but it doesn’t have to be a gamble. An effective background screening process can help organizations avoid their own Great Regret and build an engaged and loyal team.

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