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Building a Recruitment and Retention Plan

Recruitment and Retention Strategies and Indicators

The following are the strategies generally used to assist in recruitment or retention of staff. They are Recruitment and Retention chapters on this Web portal. Under the definition of each strategy are basic guidelines indicating when the use of the strategy may be appropriate. This list is meant for general use and is not comprehensive. This Web portal includes resources which provide depth to the following information through the search feature or introduction screens for each chapter.

Some organizational challenges may require a tandem approach using interventions from multiple strategies.


Recruitment is the process of attracting capable applicants to apply to the organization for employment.

In general, this strategy may be indicated if:
  • There is an inability to attract the appropriate applicants; or
  • There are not enough applicants to meet organizational needs.
Selection is the process of choosing and hiring the most appropriate person for the position from the pool of candidates.

In general, this strategy may be indicated if:
  • Inappropriate or mismatched candidates have been hired;
  • Only resume and interviews are use to screen candidates; or
  • Turnover is high in the first year.
Orientation/Onboarding is the process of effectively integrating the new employee into the organization and assisting him/her with reaching expected productivity, motivation, and job satisfaction. According to Dr. John Sullivan, a well known thought leader in human resources, the terms are distinguished as follows[1]:
  • Orientation generally means… The goals of traditional orientation are relatively narrow. They are to get you on the payroll, signed up for benefits, and to give you a brief overview of the company’s culture, products, and values.
  • Onboarding generally means… The broader term onboarding has a more comprehensive reach and a broader perspective. The primary difference between onboarding and orientation is that onboarding has as its goal decreasing the time it takes for a new hire to reach the minimum expected productivity level on the job.
In general, this strategy may be indicated if:
  • The organization is complex and work is inter-related;
  • New hires must acquire large amounts of information to be effective;
  • Hiring rates have significantly increased; or
  • There is a high turnover rate or low engagement in the first year.
Career Development is a system of supports to help employees manage their careers within an organization. It also includes how the organization structures the career progress of their employees.

In general, this strategy may be indicated if:
  • There is little to no succession or upward mobility;
  • Retention and/or engagement is low;
  • Mid- and long-term staff turnover rates are detrimental; or
  • Motivation and staff confidence are low.
Recognition is the process of motivating and rewarding individuals and groups for excellence in support of the organizational mission and goals with the outcome of increased job performance and staff retention.

In general, this strategy may be indicated if:
  • There is a negative work environment;
  • Retention rates are low; or
  • Motivation, loyalty, and employee performance are below expectations.
Training is the enhancement of the skills, knowledge, and experience of employees with the purpose of improving performance. It can also describe the program that enables the learner to practice new skills.

In general, this strategy may be indicated if:
  • Fundamental skills, credentials, or program outcomes are below expectations or requirements;
  • New techniques, systems, or policies are not being used;
  • Staff does not possess cross-skills;
  • Retention, engagement, and job performance is low; and
  • Staff expresses high frustration and stress.
Supervision describes the activities carried out to oversee the productivity and progress of employees who report directly to the supervisor.

In general, this strategy may be indicated if:
  • Problems and ideas of the staff are not communicated to middle and top management;
  • Retention, engagement, and job performance is low;
  • Turnover rate is higher under specific supervisors;
  • Teamwork is not facilitated;
  • Unique characteristics of a generational workforce is underutilized; or
  • Goals are not being reached.

Support for Staff Retention

The Support provides specific staff retention activities or programs to meet the needs of the behavioral health workforce. It is a compilation of responses to timely issues among the workforce. It includes resources that address how to reduce staff frustration, decrease stress and burn out in the workforce, and increase wellness, as well as other topics of support. This chapter is provided to support retention goals and should be used in tandem with other intervention strategies.

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