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Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan

Recruitment and Retention Toolkit   Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan   Overview to Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan [2.1.0.d]

Overview to Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan [2.1.0.d]

The Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan Chapter is one of several chapters within the Recruitment and Retention materials hosted on this portal. This chapter provides a 6 step process to help organizations address and resolve a recruitment and/or retention problem. Depending on the organization’s need, steps can be skipped, used separately, or completed in entirety as part of an overall plan. Just as the recruitment or retention problem did not surface immediately, the steps in this chapter are intended to be part of an extended process that addresses a problem. Time, careful consideration, and resources can assure that the problems underlying cause can be determined and resolved.

The goal is to:
  • Identify the organization’s need through research and review;
  • Identify an appropriate recruitment or retention strategy (strategies include recruitment, selection, orientation, career development, supervision, recognition, training, and support);
  • Choose an appropriate intervention within that strategy; and
  • Build a recruitment and retention plan or identify corrective action.
Each step in this chapter has resources to help advance specific tasks. These resources are grouped into Quick Tools that provide quick access and a listing of all the related resources on a topic or issue. Resources can be samples, worksheets, guidelines, how-tos, online resources, and other supports that help in the completion of a specific outcome. Resources are available for download to be used as-is or to be modified.

Once the recruitment or retention plan is completed, the strategy chapters on this portal provide assistance in making improvements in organizational recruitment and retention.
The strategy chapters include:
  • Recruitment. This chapter deals with the process of attracting capable applicants to apply to the organization for employment. The first installment is the Realistic Job Preview (RJP), a recruiting process that provides the employment candidate with a clear idea of the position. This Quick Tool includes benefits of the RJP, steps to develop an RJP, resources for gathering information, behavioral health case studies, and the RJP in relation to the job description. Additional recruitment interventions will be added.
  • Selection. The selection chapter discusses effective methods of choosing and hiring the most appropriate person.
  • Orientation/Onboarding. The basics of employee orientation and onboarding are covered in this chapter. Orientation/onboarding is the process of effectively integrating the new employee into the organization; assisting him/her in reaching expected productivity; and aiding in retention, motivation, and job satisfaction. Sections include the difference between orientation and onboarding, benefits of an orientation/onboarding program, easing the transition of new staff, use of the buddy system, and generational considerations.
  • Career development. This chapter discusses a system of support to help employees manage their careers within the organization and how the organization structures the career progress of their employees.
  • Recognition. The Recognition chapter clarifies the use of formal and informal employee recognition and reward programs. Recognition is the process of motivating and rewarding individuals and groups for excellence in advancing the organizational mission and goals, with the outcome of increased job performance and staff retention. Topics include philosophies of motivation; effective ways to reward staff; using recognition as a management tool; and the employee suggestion program as an element of recognition.
  • Training. Training is the enhancement of the employees’ skills, knowledge, and experience with the purpose of improving performance. This chapter focuses on effective training strategies as an essential component of staff retention and development. Sections cover analyzing needs, delivery and approach, keys to successful training, using vendor-developed training, designing and developing customized training, and evaluation methods.
  • Supervision. The Supervision chapter offers a concept of supervision as a collaborative process that promotes the organization’s goals and helps staff grow. It includes an overview of supervision styles; barriers to supervision; coaching to increase performance; emotional intelligence and its impact on supervision; successful communication styles; tips on motivating employees; culturally competent supervision; and tools to build skills in conflict negotiation, team building, and managing multiple generations.
  • Support. In order to increase staff retention, information in the Support chapter provides effective behavioral health workforce strategies. One area of expressed concern is dealing with stress. The Frustration, Stress, and Compassion Fatigue/Burnout sections of this chapter provide key strategies, resources, and tools on dealing with stress in the workplace. This includes how to reduce frustration and retain staff; the impact of stress and methods to reduce it; and insight into compassion fatigue – what it is and how to spot it and treat it. This section also has extensive wellness information specific to the behavioral health workforce. Additional support topic installments will be added according to reader suggestions.
These chapters are not static but are intended to be updated with new information, resources, and links, and most importantly supplemented by reader feedback. If you have information that can augment or update the Recruitment and Retention materials please send your suggestions to  

Who Should Use the “Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan” Chapter?

  1. Organizations without a recruitment and retention plan or who have an outdated plan can use this chapter in its entirety to build a strategic plan.
  2. Organizations that have an ineffective plan as noted by the lack of appropriate hires or high turnover can use sections of this chapter to make corrections to their current plans.
  3. Organizations that have a specific problem in the area of recruitment and retention can augment or test their approach to make a quick fix to their existing plan.

How this Chapter Works

This chapter includes 6 steps. Each step has specific tasks to help achieve the stated objective. The steps can be completed or skipped according to the needs of the organization. Every step has a Quick Tool – a group of resources to provide support and guidance such as templates, samples, worksheets, links and case studies. The steps, and a brief description of their related tools, are:
Step 1: Gather organizational baseline information.
  • The Gather Organizational Baseline Information Quick Tool [2.1.1] includes resources to identify current retention status, review historical approaches to retention and to gather data for organizational use. It includes resources to determine retention, turnover, and vacancy rates; identify prior effective/ineffective strategies; and use satisfaction and exit interviews to identify retention issues.
Step 2: Decide on the priority recruitment and retention focus (job position).
  • The Decide on the Priority Recruitment and Retention Focus (Job Position) Quick Tool [2.1.2] provides resources to advance perspective on your organization’s recruitment and retention challenges. It contains information on making decisions and identifying options, effective use of stakeholders, management of an advisory group, meeting effectiveness, and other decision tools to choose your priority recruitment and retention focus for your initiative.
Step 3: Analyze the selected job position.
  • The Analyzing the Selected Job Position Quick Tool [2.1.3] provides resources to assist in completing a job analysis on the job position chosen as your focus. It offers information to help you decide what method of job analysis will be used with a review of the pros and cons for each. Along with tools and samples, it also includes suggestions on key employees to involve in the process and information on behavioral health core competencies, certification, licensing, and credentialing.
Step 4: Write an accurate job description.
  • The Write an Accurate Job Description Quick Tool [2.1.4] offers information on the importance of job descriptions and provides resources for effectively writing job descriptions based on the job analysis. This resource includes an online job description writer, offers templates and samples of job descriptions, and gives direction on how to write a job description based on competencies.
Step 5: Start the plan: Identify the strategy and intervention.
  • The Start the Plan: Identify the Strategy and Intervention Quick Tool [2.1.5] helps you choose the strategy and intervention as a central part of your plan. This resource gives a definition of 8 strategies and indicates when each can be used. Also included are case studies and examples of strategies used successfully within the behavioral health field, along with intervention suggestions that direct readers to information and external links.
Step 6: Develop the action plan.
  • The Develop the Action Plan Quick Tool [2.1.6] supports the development of your action plan to make changes in recruitment and/or retention. It provides guidance on such tasks as selecting a team leader and support team, and developing, implementing, communicating, and evaluating the action plan.
Although any of the steps, Quick Tools, or resources can be used separately, they are most effective when used as supportive pieces to the entire process. Once these steps are completed, either individually or as part of an overall plan, additional materials about recruitment and retention strategies can be used to inform an organization about specific interventions for the implementation of a plan or corrective action. New material will be added and examples and suggestions from readers are encouraged.

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