The never-ending turnover of employees has recently become the bane of many employers and one of the greatest business challenges. The HR industry is constantly coming up with new ideas for innovative recruitment campaigns, using various sources and methods to attract candidates. New companies dealing with building a positive image of the employer and creating strategies shaping employer branding of their clients are created. These clients, in turn, go head-to-head in creating bonus systems and salary scales based on bonuses and non-wage benefits. All in order to create an attractive working environment and retain employees.We live in times when serving one employer for the whole professional life is passe and can only be heard about as legends from older generations, and as it happens with legends, we doubt that they ever happened. The media promote a modern lifestyle, where everyone can, and indeed should, follow their dreams, seek out new challenges and opportunities. And this is exactly what the young generation worker is (or at least the vast majority of them)… searching, constantly on the move, enjoying challenges and surprises.
Despite all these efforts and the general buzz around the employee-driven job market, there is still a lack of awareness among many employers about the costs of endless recruitment processes and the lost revenue associated with employee turnover. Worse still, in my experience, most small and medium-sized companies do not factor these costs into their budgets. They are relentless in their search for new clients, spend thousands on marketing and pay no attention to the fact that there is no one to professionally handle the leads they acquire – both the knowledge and productivity of the new employee at the beginning of their employment with the new company does not even reach 50%.Research shows that most decisions to change jobs are made by the candidate between the first and sixth month of working in the new place. The most common motivators are the candidate’s misconceptions about the new position and the employer’s failure to meet their expectations, both imagined and (horror of horrors!) set during the recruitment process. The issue of remuneration and all those fancy non-salary allowances do not play a superior role, much more important is the work atmosphere and culture of the organisation, as well as the specific principles of cooperation.A long and costly recruitment process, which ends with hiring a good employee, is only a part of the success.
The most important and crucial for further cooperation is onboarding, an Anglicism meaning nothing else than introduction and assimilation of a new employee in the company (“on board”). A process which, in my opinion, is underestimated and neglected by employers, and really worth investing in.Think back to your first day at a new job… didn’t you have hundreds of questions swirling around in your head? From the most trivial ones concerning the access to the place of work, organisation of the workplace, social area, through people, company rules, atmosphere, values, to the most difficult ones from the category: will I manage? Is my new boss okay? Will they extend my contract after the trial period?What happened next and what were the first days like? The worst possible scenario of the first day for a “freshman” would look more or less like this: the boss didn’t have any time, he generally forgot that a new employee starts work today. The HR lady spent half a day writing out paperwork and making him read some regulations, but at least she showed him the social corner where the “freshman” watched by all the “old” employees was ashamed to make himself a coffee. Then a three-minute health and safety training, which boiled down to signing a certificate. Someone delegated someone to a new job, covered him with hundreds of pages of procedures and brochures, assuming that “since we have already hired him, now let him prove himself” and left him to his own devices. Sounds unbelievable? Sad, but still true in many Polish companies.
Still in the shoes of a new employee, let’s imagine what would happen if:
-we were greeted from the doorstep by our immediate superior, asking if we had a problem with getting there, shown around the office, shown the workplace, introduced to a few people we pass in the corridor. He discussed with us the implementation plan laid out for the next few days/weeks, starting with the details of today. He introduced the mentor who will coordinate our training, told us about the values and rules in the company.
-the tutor led us to the HR department, where already prepared HR documents were waiting. The HR manager patiently answered our questions, discussed the scope of responsibilities, details of payment of salaries, etc,
— the tutor took us to lunch in the company of other colleagues;- the rest of the day we watched a colleague in a similar position to ours work, taking notes and asking for details;
— the following days of training we spent with practically every employee in the company. As a result, we now know everyone and feel at home; we know what our colleagues’ responsibilities are and what we can do about them; we are beginning to understand the synergies between these positions and our role in the team. We have daily contact with our mentor and direct supervisor, who visits us from time to time.
The implementation process prepared in this way will result in a new employee adapting to the new environment much faster, feeling part of the team, understanding his/her function and responsibilities, becoming fully efficient and starting to generate income.
It may sound idyllic, but it is fully achievable regardless of the position. Its success lies primarily in planning the process in detail and involving the entire team. In addition, it has a positive effect on the “old” part of the team, which, regardless of their position, participates in the implementation of a new colleague and feels joint responsibility for the results of his or her training. From a cost point of view, it will be much easier to free up some time for each member of the team than to eliminate the head of the department/direct supervisor or the best employee from his/her daily duties during the induction of a new person.
There is one more aspect, extremely important in the first weeks of a “freshman’s” work – control of their progress and constructive feedback on their work, both positive and negative. Ken Blanchard calls it “one-minute reprimands or praises” in his bestseller “The One-Minute Manager”, I call it “working with a puppy” in the case of new employees – because even an old dog not taught the rules of good dog behaviour as a puppy will be biting slippers and making puddles on the carpet till the end of its days.
The process described above can be automated and used repeatedly as a template for introducing employees to different positions. It can also be used as a company asset to boast about in the employer market, as an important element of employer branding.
It is worth taking to heart that just as whisper marketing is the most valuable in attracting new clients, regardless of the industry, turnover or number of employees, companies with a stable and committed staff are unbeatable on the market.