There is an often-heard refrain among business leaders when talking about the process for hiring great people who become part of the team for the long haul: “attract / recruit / retain.”  Too often, most of the effort goes into the recruiting activities. In fact, many companies treat hiring as a complete activity with its own success metrics. But that kind of thinking risks ignoring the importance of keeping new hires with you. Even “onboarding” when thought of as a one-time effort runs the same risk.

Think of it from a salesperson’s point of view. It is a lot easier to sell your services to existing clients than to find brand new ones. Many companies see about 70% of their sales going to existing long-term customers, and this really makes sense. Why work so hard to get a sale and then forget to focus on keeping them happy?

The same is true when hiring: why invest so much time and money into finding and hiring great people and then not continue to nurture and grow this new relationship?

Onboarding done the right way is a great first step to protect your investment in recruiting. Just ask your company leadership why high turnover is a problem, and they will tell you that it is expensive, compromises productivity, and diminishes a strong work culture. Preventing turnover that comes early in a new hire’s time with any organization should be a priority.

Onboarding and employee integration should be a clearly defined process and, yes, a strategy to drive retention and your organizational health. Contented Cows is a good resource for advice on attracting and retaining talent. These are their “six things: to do to prevent excessive or early turnover:

  1. Welcome them before they start.
  2. Welcome – NO – CELEBRATE them on their first day!
  3. Get mutually well-acquainted.
  4. Make absolutely sure they have everything they need to succeed and be productive from day one.
  5. Educate, educate, educate – about their job AND your culture.
  6. Do regular, frequent check-ins.

They also emphasize the importance of doing something every day to remind new employees that deciding to come to work with you was a great idea. Starting a new job is no small thing – that’s why we call it a life event!

When thinking about ways to keep turnover low and maintain employee engagement the Contented Cows offer a list of suggestions. These include:

  • Have the CEO send the new hire a personalized letter, before their first day
  • Get all of the paperwork and work equipment taken care of upfront. It is not so great to show up on day one with no door key, no computer, no phone, no business card. Just think of how great it is to have all of that fundamentals ready.
  • Have someone meet them on their first day, to welcome them and take them to their workplace or manager. If it’s a Work From Anywhere job, do the same thing remotely. Consider a Welcome Party with co-workers and people from other departments.

Some of the other ideas for showing people that their decision to work with you was a great career move are based on your unique and authentic corporate culture. Nothing is more powerful than getting people excited to be part of a culture that they have joined. And nothing is more damaging than having them find out they are part of a culture that is unhealthy or toxic. Keep people engaged in their jobs by working to connect them daily to a healthy workplace culture. How? Here are some ideas:

  • Have someone make a welcome phone call a day or two before their first day – someone in their department, perhaps someone they did not meet during the interview process.
  • Create a team of Onboarding Ambassadors, who will buddy up individually with new hires, to help them with all “new employee” kinds of things for the first few days or weeks.
  • Develop a Mentoring Program, specifically for new employees.

Finally, keep it up even when these recruits are no longer new employees. Contented Cows offers some ideas for the weeks and months to come:

  • Day One – ask these questions:
    • Was today what you expected?
    • Did anything surprise you?
    • What questions do you have?
    • Is there someone who was particularly helpful to you? I’d like to thank them.
  • Week One – Ask your boss to spend a few minutes with the new person in order to 1) reinforce their decision to come to work for your organization, and 2) offer support.
  • Week Two – Spend some time with them in their work area to find out 1) what they have learned, 2) what help they need.
  • Month One – Ask your HR representative to take the new person to breakfast or lunch and discuss if they are finding the new job and work environment as they had expected it to be. If you don’t have an HR professional, turn to someone else you trust.
  • Week Six – Sit down with the person and ask them “How would you describe the culture here?” If they struggle to answer, give them your perspective. If what they say doesn’t match what you’d hoped, thank them, then do your own observing to see why they might have described your culture in that way. Then work toward any improvements that could help.
  • Month Two – Review with the new person the performance expectations for their position, and ask for their candid self-assessment regarding their performance. Coach as necessary.
  • Month Three – Spend an hour working with the new person, or reviewing their work output. Coach as needed.
  • And then… at least every three months thereafter, conduct helpful coaching sessions, addressing topics defined either by you or by them.

Retention is so important. Michigan Staffing recruits, prepares, and works diligently to retain great talent. 

If you’d like to know more about how we can help you find and retain the right Administrative, Clerical, Customer Service, or Light Industrial employees, please contact me directly. I’d love to help.


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