Let’s discuss how you, as the front line leader, influence the turnover and retention in your department.
Turnover is very expensive for leaders and organizations. You need employees to want to come to your place of business to work. You also need them to stay with you, so you can train them and help them become more productive.
But the question is, why would someone want to leave your workplace? Why wouldn’t they want to work for you?
Often, it’s due to employees feeling undervalued. Other times, they simply have other prospects or opportunities to pursue. In their mind, if they’re not being treated well, they may as well go and look elsewhere.
Now, as the job market improves, turnover becomes a more pressing issue.
And, of course, you’re going to spend a lot more time retraining people over and over again, if you keep having to bring new workers in.
You need to ensure that you’re keeping a pulse on all of the elements that influence employee turnover and retention.
I’ve got a few tips for you.
Number one, you want these new employees, when they join you, to feel welcome in your department. That means you need to properly greet and welcome them on their first day of work. You need to introduce them to other people in the work group. You need to give them “the tour” so they don’t feel as confused about the environment that they’re going to be working in.
That way, they know that you’re taking them seriously, want them to be comfortable, and are setting them up for success.
Secondly, it can be overwhelming for a new employee when they’re trying to learn the job. So, you need to make sure you invest in their training and coaching, and check in with them throughout their first few days, or even their first few weeks, to see how they’re coming along and make sure they’re learning the basics of the job. If they feel that you’ve invested in them, in terms of their training so they can be successful, they’re more likely to stay. Remember, it may be unspoken, but they’re comparing your organization to other opportunities, possibly even on their first day!
Leaders often gauge their first few interactions with a new employee to determine whether they’re a good fit for the organization. Yet, many of those same leaders tend to forget to put themselves in the employee’s shoes and realize that they’re determining if the organization is a good fit for them.
The third aspect that you need to be focused on, is giving some sort of praise or encouragement. Think about it, it can be extremely stressful when you start a new job with a new employer, or you transfer to a new department. You’re trying to figure out whether that leader really thinks you’re doing a good job. Especially during the nearly inevitable mistakes or misjudgements that will arise during the learning curve, you need to actually praise and recognize your employees on their good work rather than only pointing out areas for improvement. You don’t want them to become discouraged, especially while they’re learning.
Don’t underestimate this powerful idea.
There are certain organizations that have trouble getting people to stay through their first whole shift. That’s right, certain environments are so fast-paced and intimidating that some new employees leave mid-shift on their very first day!
So, get comfortable with offering praise. You don’t have to throw a party in their honor or pull out a red carpet leading to their car, but a simple acknowledgement such as, “You made it through your first day, congratulations. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow”, can make a world of difference in the mindset of a new employee. You can offer a similar acknowledgement as they complete their first week or month.
Let’s tackle the elephant in the room. Many of you might be wondering if you actually need to offer an acknowledgement at the end of the first day or week. I won’t offer an answer here, only another question. Do you want to have to go through another round of hiring and rinse and repeat this process on a constant basis? If not, go the extra mile and pay close attention to the elements you can control concerning the longevity of new employees in your department.
To recap, the steps to retaining employees and reducing turnover are actually rather simple. Make them feel welcome, provide the training and coaching that they deserve and need, and acknowledge and praise them for their accomplishments as they learn the job.
How many of these steps are currently part of your onboarding procedure? Let me know in the comments below.