It can be easy to assume that once you have gone through the process of writing a great a job ad to attract people to apply for your latest vacancies, and you have gone through the interview process and perhaps even some psychometric testing, that once you have selected your candidate and told them they have got the job, that’s it.
All your hard work has been done, you have chosen your next bright young thing and they are just going to waltz into your workplace on their start day and just slot straight in, seamlessly. This is a mistake many employers make but if you actually put yourself in the shoes of your new recruit, take a moment to imagine how they must be feeling on that first day at work.
Whether you have employed a student for some part time work or seasonal work, or you have taken on an apprentice or you have recruited a graduate onto your graduate programme, your new recruit has to deal with a new building, new faces, names, where those names and faces fit into the company, perhaps dress code, a whole new work and company culture. It could be this person’s first ever experience of any workplace, at all, in fact. Whatever type of company you run, whoever you employ, being the new kid on the block can be a daunting process for anyone.
We all know by now that, these days, the ‘job for life’ culture is a thing of the past and, for various reasons, employees feel more confident in moving from job to job and even undertaking complete career changes. This means, for employers, that the task of boosting staff retention is even more of a challenge than it might have been previously. Many young people leave their post within a year of starting to work for a company and some even leave within six months of starting.
So, what can you do as an employer to prevent this from happening to you? How do you avoid the frustration of going through your company’s whole recruitment process only to lose your newest recruit within a matter of a few months? Is there a remedy for this trend?
Rethinking Staff Retention Strategies
One remedy for improving staff retention and not losing your best young recruits to other companies just a few short months after you have recruited them is to look after those new starters. Staff retention is often thought about over the long term with companies focussing on existing staff who have been working for the company for some time. The assumption can be that new staff will stick around but this is no longer the case.
New recruits need to feel engaged, they need to feel like they are a part of the team and they need to feel they are a valued member of your company straight away. In a fast moving world, companies need to act fast to make sure new recruits feel this immediately. There is no time to leave young people floating around the workplace aimlessly, wondering what is going on and feeling new and ignored.
Be aware that when new young people join your team of existing staff, you are expecting them to step into a culture that has probably been established for some time and if you have a successful, tight knit team it can be even more difficult for your new recruit to break into that and feel like a member of that team. So when it comes to new recruits in your workplace, whatever role they are employed in, be aware that it can be a difficult task for them, for you as the leader and for your team of staff, too.
Companies need a strategy and a structure for making sure young new recruits are engaged straight away so that they don’t become disenchanted with their new workplace and make a decision to move on as soon as they spot the first chance.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at ideas that, if they are not already, could adopted in the workplace to make sure your new recruits don’t disappear as soon as they spy the chance.
Engaging New Recruits In Your Workplace
1.Start engaging new recruits immediately
No, not from their first day at work. Your newly recruited school leaver, student or graduate wants to feel a part of your team as soon as you inform them they have got the job – even if that job might not actually start for a few weeks to come.
As soon as you have told your candidate they have got the job, send them any paperwork or information about your company that might make their first few days easier. If there’s a uniform for your firm, why not invite your new recruit in to get them measured up so that they can arrive on their first day both looking part and feeling the part. Your new recruit will already be feeling like a fish out of water on their first day; don’t make them look like a fish out of water by letting them be dressed differently to everyone else.
For some roles, such as graduate programmes, your new young staff could be relocating, specifically to begin their career with your company. Or you could have seasonal work on offer for students looking for summer work, for example. Where relocation is involved, perhaps the offer of some type of support would be welcome – suggestions for suitable areas, reputable estate agents and transport links, for example.
Other types of communication could be in the form of an email, letter or phone call from a direct superior. A welcome chat where your new recruit could ask any questions that might have cropped up since you offered them the role. And perhaps a map of your company’s layout and photos of key people within the company – and where they fit into the company – could be useful, too.
Anything helpful you can do before your new member of staff arrives on the first day will help them to know you are waiting for them and when they do arrive, they are going to be valued and looked after.
2.Ask for feedback from your new recruit on a regular basis
Even if you have an appraisals system, don’t just wait until appraisal time to sit down with your new member of staff. The wait for this meeting could seem like a lifetime to new recruits. Ask your new recruits on a regular basis for feedback – how are they settling in, what are they finding easy or difficult. This can be done in the form of a formal sit down in private but it can also be an informal stop in the corridor; a quick, ‘How are you doing?’
All employees want to feel valued and challenged, even brand new ones, and if they are feeling a bit lost during their first few weeks, with no one to hold their hand, this can force them to shut down and not feel a part of the team or fulfilled in their role. Ultimately, that could lead to you losing your new talent that you have spent so long trying to hook.
3.Engage new recruits by encouraging workplace friendships
New recruits can be engaged quickly by having a culture in your workplace where friendship between colleagues is encouraged. This can either be done via organised team activities where team members can reward each other or it can be done via peer to peer lunches where your new member of staff can get to know fellow team members in a more informal and relaxed setting.
When your new staff member gets to spend more informal time with members of staff who have perhaps recently been in the same situation as themselves, it can help them to settle in more quickly because they will likely find that some of the concerns and worries they have are exactly the same as those that existing members of staff had when they first started. The important point here is, your new recruit will then feel it is perfectly normal to have these dips in confidence or particular worries and it will help them to settle into your company culture much quicker.
4.Engage new recruits by drawing up a career plan together
As new recruits join your company in whatever type of role, sitting down together to discuss a career plan will show young staff that they are not only valued within the firm but that also, you are looking out for them to succeed. This will surely encourage more loyalty from your member of staff because they will be fully aware of what you have discussed with them, what you are looking for from them and they will also know that you know what they would like to achieve.
If there is any training involved, both formal and informal, academic or practical, make sure your new recruit knows about this and what dates this training will take place. This way, they will not feel forgotten about or pushed to one side, and they will know the training will let them do their job better whilst also developing their broader skills.
Letting new recruits take charge of their own training also encourages independence and shows that, as a company, you are trusting them to develop their own skills so that they can thrive in their role for your firm. Giving your new recruit links to online training or pointing them towards professional magazines and journals shows that you value them.
5.Engage new recruits by recognising any achievements
Even if it is just a small achievement in their new job, showing your new young staff that you have recognised what they have achieved – whether this is a scalable result from a project, hitting a target or just general settling in and working as part of the existing team – will let them know that you value what they do. This means that in the future, your new recruits are much more likely to be engaged and try harder so that they continue to get this recognition.
Recognition can be anything from a rewards scheme such as ‘Employee Of The Month,’ a simple pat on the back and a ‘well done,’ or it can be a build up to future promotion.
As a boss or a leader, watch and learn what your new recruit is good at and what they are most enthusiastic about within your company and, where possible, begin to develop and encourage these skills rather than trying to make them do jobs that don’t stimulate them. Obviously, there are tasks in the workplace that just have to be done even if no one likes to do them but, where possible, if you can develop the skill of a new recruit where you feel it can help your company move forward, this can be a win win situation for both you and your new young talent.
6.Engage new recruits by being consistent and clear as a boss or a leader about what is expected of all employees in your firm
Yes, in this world of fast-paced lives, where employees are more ready to move on than ever before, this is where leaders can look at their own skills and their own company culture. Do your employees know that they are valued and do they know exactly what is expected of them? If this is the case, this will definitely get passed on to your new recruits as they go about their work, either by you or by their colleagues, or indeed, both.
Make sure your new recruits know exactly why a certain job needs to be carried out in a particular way and make sure they get the recognition for that if that happens. If your new young staff are fully aware of what achieves recognition and reward in the company, they will be more likely to work towards that.
Employees knowing what is expected of them is not just about leaders within the company dictating the rules. This can demoralise staff and have a detrimental effect on your staff retention ratio. Where possible, have a company culture where employees – including your new recruits – can make suggestions to you. This could be suggestions for training courses, for example, where a young member of staff might want to start specialising more. When staff take responsibility for their own training in this way, they feel more committed to the company because they feel trusted and respected.
7.Engage new staff by allowing them to be themselves
Allow your new young staff to be themselves in the workplace by encouraging their ideas. As human beings, we are all individual and unique and we all have our own take on a given situation. Having a company culture where staff -including your new recruits – feel they can out those opinions and suggestions forward. Where necessary, as a leader, boss or mentor, you can then guide your new member of staff so that, in the future, they can hopefully become the stars of your company. After all, new staff are employed in all sorts of roles so as to develop the future of any company – this can be achieved by encouraging your new staff to be themselves.
8.Engage new staff by involving them in bigger more innovative projects straight away
It can be easy to think you are doing the right thing by not giving your new recruits too much responsibility at the beginning and easing them into their new role. While this can be true to a certain extent, it is also important to make your new young staff feel valued and part of the team by involving them straight away in any big company projects that might be already underway or are about to begin.
By doing this, young staff get to prove themselves both to you and their workmates and they will also stretch themselves in a workplace environment, meaning they will learn quicker. Involving your new recruits in projects like this will let you observe how they work as part of a team and you will also see if any natural leadership qualities stand out during the process. Don’t forget, retaining your best staff is your aim so if you do spot any leadership skills in your new staff, have you got a system in place where they could perhaps be fast tracked into managerial roles in the future. Don’t just go through the motions with your new staff -if you spot a talent, how can you leverage that talent so that your company benefits and your new young staff member benefits, too.
9.Engage new recruits by putting them in a position of responsibility on a project
This doesn’t have to a huge, important project where the future of your company depends upon the outcome. It can be small tasks in the workplace or a team-leader-for-the-day activity. As mentioned above, this allows you to observe certain skills in your new recruit but also, from your new member of staff’s point of view, it allows them to stretch themselves and also take away that feeling of being the new kid on the block with no idea of what is going on around them. Your new employees will feel a sense of responsibility towards your company straight away.
Leadership is often about taking a step back rather than micromanaging staff all the time. If you allow your staff to flourish by giving them responsibilities, they will feel more engaged and your new recruits are much more likely to stick around in the future.
10.Engage new recruits by being consistent and letting them know you support them
Employees need to know that, as an employer, you are transparent and consistent and that you support them in their desire to progress their career. Don’t have your staff wondering which head you are going to be wearing at work each day otherwise they will become disengaged. They need to feel they can come to you with any work issues rather than fearing knocking on your door.
If your company has good staff retention because you offer lots of employer perks, be consistent by offering these to new recruits, too, even if they are temporary or part time. This will also make encourage them to be more engaged and part of your team.
In conclusion, engaging new recruits right from that very first time you inform them they have got the job, is a great way to boost your staff retention. An open company culture where all staff feel valued and part of a team works in tandem with this.