Congratulations! Painless Hire just helped you find and hire a fantastic new employee to fill a position you were worried about. Now you can sit back and watch your new employee shine, right? Wrong! We can help you make great hires, but it’s your job to keep them. You can’t just sit back and hope for the best. In fact, unless you take specific actions to retain new employees, you run a serious risk of seeing them exit nearly as quickly as they came, and then you have to start the process all over again. Few things are more frustrating than finding yourself in a constant battle with staff turnover. This article sets the stage for many future articles on the critical topic of staff retention.
In 2014, Gallup reported that fully 68.5% of American workers were either not engaged or actively disengaged (source). To put it plainly, these employees are already halfway out the door. And the cost of bad hires and staff turnover is staggering. Back in 2013 the US Department of Labor estimated that the average cost of a bad hire is around 30% of the position’s first-year earnings (source). But that’s only the beginning. In the larger scheme of things, Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, in their 2007 book The Carrot Principle, estimated that bad hires and turnover result in a $5 trillion drain on the overall economy each and every year. Assuming you don’t want your practice to be one of those statistics, what can you do? Here are some points to keep in mind, all of which will be given greater attention in future articles:
- Robust Orientation and Onboarding. If your new hire feels completely lost throughout their first day or their first week, don’t be surprised if they turn around and make a quick exit. Making sure your employees immediately feel part of a team that cares about them is critical.
- Mentoring Programs. This one may sound a bit old-school, but there’s really no substitute to having someone more senior in an organization take a newbie under their wing to not only show them the ropes, but to keep an eye on their development. And you’d be surprised just how many employees out there are longing for this kind of nurturing environment.
- Conflict Mediation. Conflict in the workplace is inevitable. What you do when it comes up, however, is what will either set you apart as an employer who cares, or prompt some employees to start packing their bags. This is one area you simply cannot afford to ignore.
- Recognition. The best workplaces are great at recognizing and rewarding excellent performance. The book I mentioned earlier (The Carrot Principle) makes a good case and offers plenty of advice on how to create a carrot culture in your workplace that greatly improves retention.
- Transparency and Openness. How transparent is your practice? When people feel like they know what’s going on with an organization, they feel more engaged. Just how much you share is up to you, but consider starting with some key overall performance measures. You might be surprised at the engagement and new thinking that results.
- Participatory Decision-Making. Along the same lines, the more you involve your employees in making important decisions that affect the entire practice, the more engaged they will feel. It means a lot to people when you show you think their contributions are worth of consideration.
There are probably another dozen or so items that could be added to this list, but the idea with this initial article is to just get you thinking in the right direction. Retaining your employees takes an active effort on your part, but the savings in dollars, time, and heartache are well worth it.