10 Recruiting and Retention Tips for DC Area Employers

10 Recruiting and Retention Tips for DC Area Employers

1. Write descriptive and interesting job descriptions.

Job descriptions shouldn’t be a laundry list of the requirements that the hiring manager is seeking. Consider your job description to be an advertisement for the entire organization. Show your company’s culture and personality. Why would someone want to work for your company? Is your location Metro accessible or do you pay for parking? Are you located in a desirable area like Old Town Alexandria, the Reston Town Center or Georgetown/Capitol Hill? What are the 3 of the best features of the company or position? Make sure that you are using your job description to sell the job opportunity and organization.

2. Be Flexible. Allow telecommuting.

We all know that DC has some of the worst traffic in the nation. Does your company have employees that have to traverse 270, 66, 495, etc.? It is inevitable that there are going to be days when it is almost impossible for employees to arrive at work on time. Help keep your employees happy by letting them work from home at least occasionally to relieve commuting pressure. That flexibility is a huge selling point during the recruiting process too. Applicants are often willing to consider work locations they otherwise wouldn’t if the company culture allows flexibility and telecommuting options.

3. Set and achieve the goal of being named in one of the “Best Places to Work” lists.

The Washington Business Journal, The Washingtonian, Indeed.com, Glassdoor.com and other organizations all create “Best Places to Work” lists. Take a look at the companies on that list and emulate their approach. Once you make a list, tell everyone! Put it on your website, your job descriptions, benefits packets, social media outlets, etc. It validates current employees’ beliefs that they work for a great company and being on a “Best Places to Work” list is an incredible recruiting tool.

4. Embrace College Recruiting.

Young, educated workers are flocking to the Washington DC area. In fact, Forbes recently listed the DC area as the 2nd best area in the country for young professionals. Use the trend to your advantage and inject some fresh-thinking in to your organization by hiring recent college graduates. Develop relationships with local colleges and universities and then target the institutions with the curriculum that fits your organization best. Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland have a great reputation for producing solid engineers. Consider the University of Virginia and Georgetown University if you are seeking business or consulting candidates. Everyone benefits from a creative, diverse workforce. A pipeline of young workers provides you an opportunity to mold and develop future leaders for your organization.

5. Promote from within whenever possible.

If your current employees are continually passed over for potential promotions, they can become discouraged and decide to further their career elsewhere. Make sure you can articulate a clear career path to your employees and then give them tools to grow and develop. If you constantly have to look outside of your organization to fill senior-level roles, it could be a sign of a larger talent management problem.

6. Foster an environment of recognition and appreciation.

Everyone wants to feel appreciated. Small tokens of recognition can go a long way towards employee satisfaction. In the DC area, many employees have options. There are enough employment opportunities in the area to support a population of over 9 million and growing. If employees do not feel appreciated, their chances of their leaving your company go up dramatically. Does your organization have a formal process in place (outside of annual reviews) to recognize and appreciate high performers? Make sure you routinely recognize a job well done both internally and on your company website. When applicants are researching your company, they will see their future colleagues being recognized. It is human nature to want to be part of and learn from a high-functioning team.

7. Embrace Social Media.

Social Media is completely changing the recruiting landscape and can be a very effective recruiting and branding tool. In the past, an ad in The Washington Post may have generated plenty of qualified applicants. That clearly doesn’t cut it in today’s environment. Make sure your Recruiting and HR professionals, as well as your marketing department, are active on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

8. Advertise your referral program and then be sure to follow-up.

Employee referrals need to be a primary aspect of your recruiting strategy. Unfortunately, many employee referrals are never contacted by a member of the organization besides the employee who initially referred her/him. Set yourself apart and provide a personal touch. Make the commitment to have a recruiter or HR professional personally follow-up on every employee referral while also keeping employees apprised of the status of their referrals. It demonstrates to your employee population that you care, and it will provide them reassurance that future referrals will be carefully considered. If your organization does not have the budget for large referral bonuses, consider quarterly contests with Redskins/Nationals tickets, movie tickets or gift cards.

9. Be active in the community.

Booz Allen is a regular on the “Best Places to Work” lists, both for DC and nationally. One of the reasons why is Booz Allen’s commitment to the community. Thousands of employees volunteer and assist over 500 nonprofit organizations. Employees can be proud of their community involvement. Besides receiving personal satisfaction from their great volunteer work, employees are branding their company as a community leader.

10. Strongly consider a tuition reimbursement plan.

A highly-educated workforce calls the DC Area home. In an area where residents clearly value education, a solid tuition reimbursement benefit will help retain current employees and attract new applicants who could use assistance with continuing their education. Georgetown, George Washington, University of Maryland, George Mason, Virginia Tech and others all have programs that allow students to obtain advanced degrees by attending local campuses at night and weekends.

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