August 19, 2009 | | Comments 3
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Re-Recruiting for Retention!

A national survey done by Kepner-Tregow (a Princeton-based management consulting firm) found only 40% of workers feel adequately recognized at work, yet it’s been estimated that U. S. companies spend ~ $18 billion annually for recognition incentives (Ventrice, 2003). Apparently employees desire something different from what their organization offers.

An excellent form of recognition is “re-recruitment”, an easy activity for any leader to accomplish. Here are some tips on how to accomplish it:

1. Think about your best staff member. Now imagine he or she is coming to see you today. What would you do or say if he said he was leaving? Do those things anyway.

2. When you’re in the unit chatting with your staff, periodically ask questions such as, “If you could make any changes about your job, what would they be?”, or “What things about your  job do you hope never change?” Another excellent question to ask is, “What makes for a great day?”

3. Use 30 / 60 / 90 day retention interviews. These face-to-face meetings help solidify retention of your newest staff members. Ask if the job is what they expected from the interview. Also ask if they’ve noted anything that could be done better – new eyes always have keen perspective, plus you may gain an improved way to accomplish something you’ve been struggling with! Finally, ask what has been the greatest and most frustrating thing they’ve discovered. Use their positive comments to give KUDOs to staff who are doing a great job and their frustrating situations to make changes.

Remember, in the current competitive employment environment, other employers are interested in recruiting your best people! The best retention strategy is to re-recruit them yourself and beat the competition to the punch!

Ventrice, C. (2003) Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works. Berrett-Koehler: San Francisco

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Bonnie Clair About the Author: Bonnie Clair, MSN, RN currently works as Retention Project Manager at CoxHealth in Springfield, MO. Her clinical background includes nursing management, nursing education administration and neonatal flight team. Her bedside nursing experience is comprised of Med Surg, NeuroScience and 15 years in the NICU. She has facilitated development and implementation of a clinical ladder for staff RNs and worked on a steering committee to implement Shared Governance in her health system. Other recent projects include designating parking spaces close to the hospital for pregnant staff and organizing a bi-monthly reunion event for employees reaching their 90th day of employment. She is passionate about nurse retention and relevant nursing education. You may contact her at

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  1. This is great advice that is so easy to do, but is often overlooked. I like the retention interview idea. Thanks for posting.

  2. Michael Briddon

    I really like your first tip here, Bonnie. It’s a great way to put the issue of retention into perspective!

  3. Bonnie Clair

    Thanks for your feedback Jeff and Mike! Retention interviews were initially slow to catch on in my organization, but the managers using them have seen a marked increase in employee engagement. I truly believe the most important thing a leader can do is to build excellent relationships with his/her staff.

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