3 Tips to Help You Hire and Retain Top eCommerce Professionals

Struggling to attract or retain top ecommerce talent? Nodding yes as you read this? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many businesses - big and small - face these very same issues, with a growing number accepting them as the new norm.

Thankfully, these problems don’t have to become the norm. We share three simple and cost-effective ways to reduce employee turnover and maintain candidate engagement throughout the hiring process.

Find out what’s really essential in a role

Do you really know what motivates your team and makes them feel happy at work? In our 2016 ecommerce salary survey, we asked our respondents to tell us what they viewed as essential in a role. ‘Feeling valued and respected’ and ‘salary’ topped the list for the third year running.

It’s easy to assume that your team’s needs are all being met, but this tip requires a look deeper below the surface. Ask yourself: do you truly understand what feeling valued and respected means to each individual on your team? Should you be showing your appreciation and respect to different people in different ways? Are everyone’s salaries fair and do individuals feel as though their skills, experience and dedication are fully recognised and rewarded?

‘People’, ‘team’ and ‘culture’ also made it into this year’s top 5 essentials. For managers, these findings reinforce the need for a strong company culture, complete with shared values to guide internal processes – especially hiring.

Make an annual anniversary a stepping stone to greater things - not the end

Yes, it is common for people working within the ecommerce industry to switch jobs every 12 to 18 months…. But these work anniversaries shouldn’t signify the beginning of a little look elsewhere for career progression.

To fully understand how ecommerce professionals feel about reaching that one-year milestone, we asked our salary survey respondents to tell us what they thought about being in a role for one year. 5% said that it was a long time, while 33% believed that it was only the beginning. The majority (59%) revealed that a year wasn’t a long time if – and only if – there was still room to progress. The remaining 3% selected ‘other’, citing “lack of leadership”, “feeling as though you’re not making a difference” and “being underpaid” as the main reasons for looking for opportunities elsewhere.

The takeaway from all of this? Career progression is incredibly important. When people start to feel as though they’re unable to move forward, they look elsewhere for opportunities. As a manager, you must take the time to understand what career progression means - and what success looks like - to each individual on your team. Make it your duty to work with them to find opportunities to progress and grow, even if a promotion isn’t a viable option. And this shouldn’t just be an ‘oh no, another year has passed’ exercise – it should begin as early as the interview stage and be discussed – and acted on – regularly. Commit yourself to creating opportunities and be sure to always remember, implement and review career growth plans, regardless of how busy life gets.

Plan your internal recruitment process and communicate with candidates effectively

Effective communication and time management make a world of difference when hiring. A drawn out and poorly managed recruitment process can have a negative impact on candidate engagement, potentially sending your applicants into the arms of other brands.

So, when it comes to the recruitment process, how long is too long? And when does keeping people waiting for an update / response / offer just turn into being rude? According to 27% of our salary survey respondents, up to 4 weeks is an acceptable length of time when it comes to the hiring process (from the moment they send in their CV through to the offer stage). A further 30% said up to 6 weeks is okay and 30% selected 10-12 weeks. Other answers included everything from a few days to 6 months. What this clearly tells us is that there’s no magic number of weeks; when hiring, it’s best to communicate well so expectations are managed. Set your own due dates for each stage of the process, talk about next steps with each candidate and if you’re running a little late with some feedback or an offer, get in touch and update them (even a quick email will suffice).

When the recruitment process takes longer than expected and there’s no communication, reactions vary. While 58%* of the ecommerce professionals that we surveyed said they would wait a few more weeks before giving up on the brand, 4% would assume that the company wasn’t interested in them. 24% would be too busy to worry about one job (they’d be applying for loads) and 42% said that they would probably forget about the role: “there are plenty of opportunities out there”.

No, setting due dates and communicating won’t necessarily stop applicants from accepting another role or looking elsewhere, but it will mean that they won’t forget about you …. or worse yet, give up on you and the brand. And chances are, when the next stage progresses and you give them a call, they’ll be much more open and willing to discuss what’s happening next.

There you go, ecommerce friends. Three easy and cost-effective tips to remember as you tackle your candidate attraction and talent retention plan!

*Survey responses do not total 100% for this question as respondents were able to select more than one answer.