Employees today are saying “Validate me as a person or lose me as an employee.” Those who understand and embrace this will gain a considerable competitive advantage.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that employees under 34 will on average change jobs every 2.3 years. Today’s young employees are fluid, and shortly, they will be over 50% of the workforce.
Updating your onboarding procedures is a huge key to increasing your employee engagement and retention. But, it has to be more that a checklist of 15-20 items to introduce a new employee to the company. Often that list includes getting a computer, desk, space, introductions to others in the company, etc. Too often what is missing are measurable goals.
With a fluid workforce, managers should have three onboarding goals: 1) help new employee learn their job, 2) encourage them to find ways to improve the job, and 3) help their team members improve themselves. The ideas below may help managers reach those goals.
FIVE Onboarding Ideas to Increase Employee Engagement and Retention:
Not all incoming freshman are ready for college. So, colleges help these new students with remedial skills courses in math and English. That same concept can work for business, e.g., what if your onboarding process included 3 – 5 hours on a quarterly basis that focused on helping employees improve their business knowledge, i.e., the basics of your business, competition, market share, profits, career development, etc.
Learning the Ropes
When we are thrown into an unfamiliar situation we look for someone who can teach us the ropes. New employees are no different. HR may do a great job of developing and implementing an onboarding process. But, how does it translate to the “local” level, i.e., the shop floor, your remote branch location or your third shift workers? On the “local” level, is the person onboarding new employees your best employee or something much less?
New Perspective on Employees
Bob Chapman, CEO for Barry-Wehmiller, suggests it’s time to look at employees differently. Employees may work for your company, but they are also fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. The recent Gallup poll said that less than 35% of all employees are
engaged in what they are doing. That means that 65% of the entire workforce are going home from work not feeling under appreciated by their company. How do you think
that affects their family unit? Validating your employee as a person can have a profound effect on your company, their self-worth and their families.
Validation means that managers must take more responsibility in positively developing each employee. We can do that with trust, listening, validating their input, honestly making them part of the team, and giving them meaningful rewards. The alternative is the continuation of the hire-turnover-hire cycle.
What happens when there is an employee/manager conflict? Often the answer is to fire the poor performing employee. Maybe there is a different way. For example: You hire a new employee with a type “A” personality, but their direct supervisor is a micro-manager with a do-it-my-way attitude. Neither is wrong, but how do you deal with the conflict issues? If you believe in the different perspective on employees discussed above, then firing the employee may not be the best solution. If you have sincerely validated this person, then your response may be to move the employee to a different manager or department.
Employee’s Career Responsibility
Onboarding must be a two-way street. Employees must feel safe to take a more active role in their personal and professional development. That means the company has to develop a trust based environment where each employee can discuss their career options. With a fluid employee base, the goal is not to keep disengaged employees for twenty years. It must be to focus on maximizing the employee’s potential for the entire time they are at your company and helping them grow personally.
Employment at your company may only be a stepping stone on the employee’s career path. By helping your employees grow it becomes a win-win. The employee is more engaged for the time they are at your company, and when they leave they talk favorable about their experience. That will enhance your reputation in the all-important social media world.
Companies who make these changes can gain a significant competitive advantage.
John Bishop has owned two business and authored three books to help people succeed. His consulting business – Hire to Compete – specializing in employee selection, engagement and onboarding.