A Brief Overview of Recruitment and Retention Research

by Jamie_Harris1 min read6th Oct 20202 comments

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To provide practical support for animal advocacy organisation’s recruitment efforts, we (Animal Advocacy Careers) have just published a couple of new blog posts:

Since the first of those two posts seems potentially useful to a wider range of groups, I've copied the abstract below:

Empirical research on how to effectively recruit and retain staff may help organisations to operate more effectively. Such research may also help Animal Advocacy Careers to offer more useful services to the animal advocacy movement. Accordingly, Google Scholar searches were conducted to identify existing reviews and meta-analyses of academic research on recruitment and retention. In total, 52 relevant research items were reviewed and included. Promising actions to improve recruitment outcomes include the use of structured interviews, general mental ability, and conscientiousness to select candidates, improvements to the usability and aesthetics of websites and job ads, and being personable and informative to candidates. Promising actions to improve the retention of staff include the provision of socialisation, education, and support (e.g. mentoring) for new staff and focusing on employee commitment rather than control. Some of the other identified actions seem likely to have positive effects on recruitment and retention but, given the associated costs, may still not be worthwhile; salary increases probably fit into this category.

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Thank you for doing this, Jamie and crew. Super interesting, and very practical! And, of course, of use to a much wider audience than only animal-focussed orgs.

One surprising finding from this is that higher salaries seem to be under-powered in terms of attracting and retaining talent. Do you have any comments on this? (NB I haven't drilled down into the detail, am just looking at your summary chart...) Cheers!

More widely, do you or anyone else know of any systematic studies on the extent to which salary levels matter for recruiting and retaining top talent, in general? Maybe it's one of those things where a naive market model doesn't actually reflect how people behave in the real world. I certainly dimly remember reading that people care much more about internal fairness and their salary relative to their peers, rather than the absolute amount.

Thanks very much! The seemingly low importance of salary to recruitment and retention was one of my main updates from tbis project. I don't have a lot to add beyond that and what's in the post (If you're interested, I'd encourage reading the summaries of the relevant studies on the spreadsheet and maybe reading the full studies.)