Employee retention is important. It says a lot about the health of your company. Losing a key employee costs your company money and time. And when the current unemployment rate is low, competition for the most talented professionals can be fierce. But if you can retain your best employees, you can focus on selling your product, satisfying your customers and growing toward your long-term goals.
Now that you’ve completed a highly successful recruiting process and have hired outstanding new talent to power your organization, here are ways you can make sure your new hires are happy in their work environment.
The Importance of the Onboarding Process
Many people who quit within their first month because they were never properly onboarded. Their fantasy of their new job doesn’t match the reality. Harvard Business Review reports that 20% of employee turnover occurs in the first 45 days of their first day. What is orientation and onboarding? Onboarding new hires begins with showing them how things work and giving them all the necessary tools to function smoothly within the company. This includes everything from where to park and obtain a company ID to how to enroll in health benefits and learn about company policies. A comprehensive onboarding process also includes helping them to assimilate, giving them a well-defined job description and letting them know what is expected of them.
Check in weekly with new hires to see how they’re settling in. They should meet with their manager one on one, have a clear grasp of policies and procedures, and be equipped with everything they need to be successful. A good onboarding experience includes setting achievable goals for new hires, gradually increasing the level of responsibility to build trust and their own confidence.
Coaching sessions should be weekly for the first several months, then quarterly for the first year. Eventually the more straightforward questions will evolve into long-term goal setting. Be sure new hires are adopting the company’s core values from day one.
Part of the strategic onboarding should be focused on building relationships and a sense of community within the company. This makes new hires feel more welcome, and it helps build trust and camaraderie among your team.
A Lifetime of Learning for a Happier Team
For high employee retention rates, staff training should be an ongoing process throughout their career with your company. How long should it take to train new employees? It typically takes 1-2 weeks for a new employee to feel comfortable in their role and to begin contributing, but it may take up to a year for them to be “fully productive.” An ideal training program lets a new employee ramp up quickly, giving them a secure foundation on which to build their career. Having meaningful opportunities for advancement and the ability to add to their experience contributes to greater employee satisfaction, higher employee retention and a more well-trained, knowledgeable staff.
How Do You Keep Employees from Leaving?
Train, Develop and Reward Your New Hires.
Employees want to know they’re valued, and that their efforts are recognized. Thank your employees regularly. If your budget allows, consider offering monetary rewards, bonuses, raises and gifts. Help your staff develop skills and knowledge they can use as they grow in their careers and move up in your company. Consider professional development classes, job shadowing, leadership training programs and mentoring. The more you invest in your employees, the more committed they’ll be to the company.
Provide Perks to Help Make Your Employees’ Lives Easier.
A company perk doesn’t have to be a complete benefits package or stock options. It can be smaller gestures that are low-cost yet effective methods for employee retention. Consider offering employees the option of a flexible work schedule or the ability to telecommute on certain days. These are also ways to make your workplace more efficient, since an employee who is experiencing stress or having difficulty maintaining a healthy work-life balance won’t be as productive. Providing food and/or snacks is also a perk that busy people appreciate.
Conduct Interviews with Long-Time Employees.
Exit interviews are well known, but what about “stay” interviews? As part of the Wall Street Journal’s guide to employee retention, they suggest asking seasoned employees what they like about working at the company, why they’ve stayed and what they would improve. This information can be used to strengthen your company’s employee retention strategy.
How Do You Keep Your Employees Loyal?
Promote and Be True To Your Company’s Culture.
Employees who buy into the company culture are more loyal and engaged. Clearly communicate your values to your employees and make sure your policies reflect those values. Welcome their feedback and suggestions, so that they more strongly believe that your vision is their vision.
When Possible, Promote from Within.
This can’t always be done but rewarding a valued employee by giving them a promotion is a great way to keep them loyal to your business. It also gives employees a clear path to advancement, which will encourage them to stay put.
Hire a Human Resources Professional.
This may not be practical for a smaller company, but for a workplace with more than 100 employees, an HR professional can manage employee benefits, perks, reviews and other important issues, as well as keep lines of communication open between employees and managers.
How Do You Keep Your Employees Engaged, Motivated and Happy?
Communicate Effectively and Encourage Ideas.
Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, distrust and poor performance. Employees need to know what’s expected of them and how their personal goals contribute to the company’s goals. Be upfront about earning potential and provide frequent feedback on performance. Require managers to interact with and coach new hires regularly. And give your new hires the chance to share their voice and opinions as well.
Value Employee Feedback.
Collecting feedback from your new hires is important and of course you should continue doing so for more seasoned employees as well. Solicit questions and concerns at regular staff meetings, provide an employee suggestion program and gather satisfaction surveys. Letting your staff know how valued they are boosts morale and makes company culture more appealing to new hires.
Learn from Survey Data.
Hearing from your employees who are on the “front lines” helps you figure out why people are leaving, so you can examine those issues and be proactive when you sense a new hire is thinking of leaving. Surveys can also help you see trends in what types of people are likely to stay long term and seek those traits out as you hire.
Employee Satisfaction Builds a Successful Business
Now that you’ve learned some effective employment retention strategies, your company will grow in tandem with their job satisfaction and experience. By engaging in a robust onboarding program, rewarding your employees and valuing the opinions and ideas of all your staff, you’ll see immediate results in a lower turnover rate and greater employee retention. You’ll also understand and appreciate the direct relation between your people and your success.