Remember the days when athletes, regardless of the sport, would spend their entire careers with one, maybe two teams at the most? Today, for better or worse, the days of ballplayers whose names are forever associated with a particular team or city are long gone.
That same dynamic shift is underway in the workplace. Lawyers or accountants who once might have made partner at a firm and then remained there for entire careers now routinely jump from firm to firm in search of the next best thing. The tech community also is witness to constant personnel movement as companies grow rapidly only to be acquired or merge with other firms that provide complementary services. Millennial workers in particular have a reputation for constantly being on the hunt for that next job.
Recognizing that company loyalty doesn’t mean what it used to, business – particularly small businesses – have been forced to come to grips with the fact that shorter employee tenures are the new norm. Although salary, benefits, retirement plans and vacation will continue to play a key role in attracting employees, companies have begun to adopt a much more proactive approach when it comes to employee retention.
1. Perfect Your On-Boarding Process
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 70% of workers say they are more likely to stay at their new company for three years or more if they experienced a smooth, favorable application process. Clearly, first impressions do matter.
Unfortunately, the onboarding process at many businesses is often hurried, with new employees quickly slotted into vacancies and expected to come up to speed on their own. That approach is counterproductive. New employees can’t hope to understand their new company’s culture, the mission or the nuances of working there by checking out the company website.
Moreover, new workers are likely to be turned off by that “learn by doing” approach, which could hasten their search for that next job. Instead, new workers need to get off to a good start by understanding who their new employer is and what is expected of them. Management, for its part, needs to ensure that its onboarding process is as streamlined and engaging as possible. The application process may be the first critical step for a company’s future workers, but the hiring process doesn’t stop there.
Companies need to properly introduce new employees to key personnel and processes. Open and frequent communications are essential in making new hires feel more comfortable and confident from day one, while providing them with a clearer sense of their role and how they fit into the company’s future plans.
2. Emphasize Professional Development
Of equal importance is the need for companies to create a detailed, mutually-agreed-upon plan for each new employee’s professional development.
According to a recent Gallup poll, only a third of new employees feel fully engaged in their new jobs. That’s disappointing, but perhaps not unexpected when you consider the way many companies often rush new workers through the onboarding process.
As part of the regular review process, companies can keep employees updated on the various certification and training opportunities available to them. With that in mind, many businesses offer tuition reimbursement programs to employees, as well as paid leave to complete relevant courses, which encourages workers to stay with the company longer.
3. Engage Often
Today’s employees want to know that the work they are doing is important to the company’s success and that there is a definite career path for them. Working together on a professional development plan sends a powerful message that the business cares about its employees and wants to help them in attaining their personal and professional goals.
To that end, many companies are replacing year-end reviews – which often are rushed – with regular, one-on-one meetings to review employees’ growth and establish short- and long-term goals. Such meetings also provide an ideal opportunity to provide constructive criticism, feedback and praise.
4. Consider a Flexible Workplace
Beyond an engaging onboarding process and regular reviews, companies should consider adopting a flexible workplace. The days of working 9-to-5 have largely been replaced by flexible hours, remote work options and even sabbaticals.
Providing a flexible, mobile work environment is likely to produce not only happier employees, but also a more productive workplace and increased opportunities for retaining those productive workers for a longer period of time.
It’s also essential for companies to regularly remind employees that their ability to do their jobs well is important to management. To that end, businesses should invest the time and money to stay up-to-date with on-the-job technology. Similarly, clear, step-by-step processes should be mapped out and tracked digitally.
Placing digital workflows behind all business operations ensures structure, consistency and rigor, while eliminating unnecessary barriers to obtaining the information needed to do the job. It also puts companies in a better position to use data from and about staff, assess performance, improve workflows as problems are identified, and avoid bottlenecks.
Article By: Michael Haddon
Source: Property Casualty 360