Retention Starts Day One

Originally posted May 12, 2014 by Stephen Bruce (PhD, PHR) on http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com.

Retention’s going to be key for many organizations as the economy improves—your best people are going to be testing the water and your toughest competitors are going to be looking for them.

There’s Nothing I Can Do

Many managers have the attitude “I wish management would do something about retention.” That’s the first thing to correct—it’s every manager’s and supervisor’s job to work on retention. They should realize that it’s for their own good. Turnover (of good people) is their department’s most debilitating disease.

First of all, it eats away at the manager’s personal productivity—job requisitions, postings, interviews, reference checks, and training suck up a lot of valuable time.

Second, turnover is a morale killer. Everyone else has to pitch in and get the job done while the position is vacant. And then there’s the inevitable, “Why are all our good people leaving? What do they know that I don’t know? Should I start putting together my résumé?”

Retention Starts Day One … and Continues Every Day

Managers and supervisors who have great retention rates share several behaviors: They think of their employees as customers; they recruit every day; and they remember that their actions are always on display.

Employees Are Customers

How far would you go to retain a good customer? Make sure you put that level of interest in retaining your employees.

  • What do they care about?
  • Do they understand their contribution and do you show that you value that contribution?
  • What can you do today to make sure you retain them as a customer?

Recruit Every Day

As the saying goes, better recruit your best people every day … your competitors are. Try to avoid that oft-referenced situation where managers and supervisors spend 80 percent of their time on the poorest-performing 20% of their employees.

You Are on Display

Your actions speak louder than any policy or handbook declaration. “Our employees are our most valuable asset” sounds good on paper. Do you live up to that premise in your day to day dealings with employees?

You Have a Road Map

During the interviewing process, you found out about the new employee’s aspirations and expectations. And you probably made a few promises about the future as well. Together, those lists will help you build a retention road map for that employee.

Onboarding

Too many managers think that onboarding is something HR does with new employees the first day to get them signed up for benefits.

Onboarding is the first step in retention—get it right.

To be effective, onboarding is an involved process that lasts weeks or months. There are business methods and approaches to be learned, contacts to be made with key players in different departments, and various assimilation activities that help the new person be comfortable and contributing.

Remember that new employees are often reluctant to ask for help, so keep careful tabs on their work. Consider assigning a “buddy.”

A recent survey conducted by BambooHR shows the following often overlooked factors in an effective onboarding process:

  • Receiving organized, relevant, and well-timed content
  • On-the-job training
  • Assignment of an employee “buddy” or mentor
  • Having the onboarding process extend beyond the first week

When it comes to which aspects truly matter to employees starting a job, free food and perks are not what they crave. They want an onboarding process that helps them reduce the learning curve in becoming an effective, contributing team member.

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