Don’t Be a Stepping Stone Employer!

Don’t Be a Stepping Stone Employer!


For some candidates, finding a new job can seem like an insurmountable task. The job market is still incredibly tough, and experienced professionals are finding unconventional ways to pay their bills…some are taking jobs with employers as a stop gap, leading to the dreaded “stepping stone” employment.  Don’t let your company become a stepping stone!

Hiring new employees is a cost and time burden. Plus, employee turnover is bad for morale and productivity. Don’t let employees use you as a stepping stone and negatively affect your business. Follow these tips to find employees who are engaged and ready to make an impact on your business–for the long haul:

  1. Ask about long-term goals. It’s a question many employers ask during the interview process, but are you really listening? Do you use this question as an ice-breaker, or as one to truly gauge a candidate’s interest in your business? Ask all candidates where they see themselves at the 5- and 10-year marks. Ask why they want to join your company (and probe deeper if you get a “canned” response). And find out where they see themselves going in your company, and not just in their careers. Potential long-term hires will have done their research, will understand your business, and will have an idea where they see themselves in your big picture.
  2. Offer clear career ascension plans. Ask candidates where they see themselves down the line, but be sure you’re also telling them where they can go. If a candidate sees your company as a stepping stone, it could be because they don’t see future growth opportunities. Before interviewing candidates for open positions, HR and management should meet to discuss an ideal candidate, and where, ultimately, the company would like to see this employee go in 5 or 10 years. Make these plans clear to prospective (and current) employees, and also offer room for flexibility. You want to provide the “big picture,” without constraining. It’s a fine line, but when toed correctly, you can drive loyalty and enthusiasm in your employees.
  3. Let them learn. Remember that feeling you had as a child, when you learned something new in school? And you couldn’t wait to race home and tell your parents what you learned that day? Believe it or not, you can still get that feeling! And it’s one that is extremely rewarding to professionals. Give your employees opportunities to expand their knowledge base. Whether through in-house training, or outside educational opportunities, provide ample ways for your team to learn and grow. It’ll help them do their jobs better, it’ll improve morale, boost productivity…the rewards of this investment are extreme. And, if you are offering this benefit to your employees, make sure you share this with potential candidates. Job choices are not always about salary. Many professionals are looking for companies that provide unique benefits and opportunities for growth–so be sure to brag that you do!
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