Recruiting And Retaining Talented Staff



Recruiting talented staff is a challenge in any country, and when you find yourself outside of your comfort zone it can seem like an intimidating task. How do you make an office “work” when you have employees from different cultures and with different expectations of what it means to work together? How do you attract the best candidates in a foreign country?

Fortunately, recruitment experts say that many of the same lessons apply at home as overseas when it comes to retaining talented staff. The hard work is up to your company to put their advice into practice, but there are some universal lessons you can follow to ensure your competitor does not snap up all the local talent.

The first step is to think outside the box when attracting applicants, says Guillaume Cutuli, the Cambodia country manager for French sporting goods firm Decathlon. Founded in 1976, Decathlon operates in 25 countries around the world and has maintained a presence in Cambodia since 2011. In short, they’ve learned a lot about working overseas.

Decathlon makes use of social media to attract a variety of candidates who might not ordinarily consider applying to their company, says Cutuli. “We created a video to let the candidate understand the profile we were looking for, but also to show them the culture of Decathlon, which is linked with the values of sport. This video reached more than 65,000 views on Facebook, and allowed us to attract very different and dynamic profiles.”

Once they begin the hiring process, Decathlon uses group interview techniques like sports competitions and team activities to see how future employees would work together. It can give a very different perspective on a future employee from how they might appear on paper.

While hiring staff can be a challenge, retaining your talented new employees is an equally important step in making sure you are working with the best possible team.

Offering a competitive salary with the chance to make more is an obvious step to keeping employees happy, but increasingly employees, particularly members of Generation Y, are looking for jobs that will keep them fulfilled as well.

“There is plenty of research showing that roughly only 50% of employees who change jobs do so because of money. For the other 50% the primary reason is ‘not being valued’,” says Kevin Britten, managing director of Top Recruitment Cambodia, which has been in the recruitment business since 2007.

Britten advises companies to create staff development strategies and policies to help employees feel valued and improve their potential at work. He adds that it’s important that every member of the company is involved in this strategy, including management at the top.

“Companies that have active staff development strategies and policies are the ones most likely to value their employees. A company that values its employees develops them, and a company that develops its employees generally has an easier time when it comes to retaining them,” he affirms.

Britten says the best ways to avoid burnout in staff and keep your team happy is to adopt mentoring programmes for junior staff, develop a culture of appreciation and recognition. Apart for that, he suggests that management should always acknowledge the need for work-life balance.

Cutuli attributes the success of his company to similar strategies. Decathlon offers staff training with in-house instructors, including workshops for skills like supply chain management, industry development, and product development, as well as soft skills training like time management, functional management, and communications.

Decathlon often sends employees for training abroad as well, which allows them to mix with their colleagues and understand how they fit into their company’s bigger picture and their place in its development.

“Salary will always be important for everyone, and it will always be a challenge in a fast moving market like Cambodia. But I believe that the company culture, as well as the development and the growth of each team member is also a key to retain them. If you put your staff as the first of your concerns, they will give back this attention to the company,” Cutuli concludes.



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