By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
When Ben Franklin said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, he was talking about fire safety. He could just as well been giving advice to BV Practice Leaders on how to keep talent, though.
Nowhere is this more applicable than on the home front. And it starts with the hiring process.
When relocation is involved, most practices that are hiring will, at the very least, inquire about what such a move would mean for the candidate’s household. Is there a spouse who will need to seek employment in the new city? Are there considerations about schools? Smart Practice Leaders will invite a spouse to travel with the candidate to the hiring interview, and offer to cover airfare and other costs.
While there can be circumstances when a spouse’s visit is not necessary, it almost always is. You can test this by asking your candidate, “Can you accept an offer that would mean a relocation to our city without your spouse having an opportunity to see it?” Anything less than an unequivocal “Yes” should trigger an invitation.
Even if no relocation is involved, it’s not a bad idea to create an opportunity to connect with a candidate’s spouse even if simply in a casual context like a meal. Explain to your candidate how important it is to the practice to have a family’s buy-in to a career move, and invite the candidate and spouse to a casual lunch.
Use that conversation to share any particular information or perspective about the importance of work-life balance. You know there will be days when your candidate (now an employee) brings frustrations home from the office. Those frustrations will be mitigated if you have already shaped the spouse’s expectation and understanding.
Though attention to the needs and interests of a candidate’s spouse and family is especially acute at the time of hire, it should become a regular part of what you do in the interest of employee retention.
One of the easiest steps to take is to invite families to participate in employee activities. You don’t have to do this with every activity, of course, but setting a target for even a third of them can put you ahead. Some activities, such as practice-wide volunteer projects, may not lend themselves to family involvement. That’s fine. Look for ways to involve families in the more socially-oriented activities that you plan.
When you do this, employees get the message that they are truly valued and appreciated. And the more that you can tie the entire family to the practice, the greater the bond with the individual employee.