Train and Treat: 5 Pointers on Hiring and Retention
As modern business environments keep changing, learn how to solve turnover and retention problems with staff.
By Bill Spae, CFE
Do you have a staffing or turnover problem? Are your new hires quitting in the first 90 days of employment? Is the culture in your business supportive of new associates or dismissive?
You may answer these questions with a positive frame of reference, which would certainly be a great situation for your business. However, I challenge you to look deeper into your organization and truly understand the answers to the questions posed above.
We are in a very different environment in business today. Whether you are an independent business person, a franchisee, a franchisor, or a manager of a department, you are dealing with new and different issues in the workplace. These issues are some that many of us have not had to deal with in the past. Employee engagement is critical and often overlooked.
“We are in a very different environment in business today.”
1: It’s not them, it’s us
While we can complain, and often tend to, over the fact that millennials are causing us to relook our approach to hiring. However, millennials are not the problem. Very often it is the leaders and managers in the industry who don’t recognize the deficiencies in their own backyard.
For instance, I often hear that there is a significant staffing problem in America today for almost all businesses. I agree that for many businesses, particularly those using skilled labor, staffing is more difficult than ever.
But for many businesses, the problem is more about turnover and retention than staffing.
So, let’s discuss the turnover problem. It is often said that people leave a job because of the boss. This is probably very true and there are myriads of other reasons people move on. One very prevalent issue is simply WHO you hire to begin with.
“For many businesses, the problem is more about turnover and retention than staffing.”
2: What to ask, when to ask it
Do you have a specific list of background experiences, personality traits, or behaviors you want to see in a new employee? How about a written career path that you can review with them so they know what the opportunities in the future may be? Besides the normal questions we all typically ask, what is it that will make them successful in your organization? Clearly, you cannot run afoul of the law with the questions you ask, but you can assess the ‘fit’ of a new candidate by allowing some of your current staff to interact with them, checking references, having the new candidate tell you why they want to work for your organization and ask for specifics and not generalities. I believe in the ‘three to hire, three to fire’ approach, which allows at least three people to interview a potential new employee and three people to help assess a potential termination.
"What will make them successful in your organization?"
Once you have decided to hire a new associate, how do you onboard them? Getting all of that paperwork out of the way is a start, but ask yourself what else you can do to help the new associate feel welcome. Perhaps you could offer a cup of coffee while they fill out the paperwork? You could also go over the new employee’s job description with them, and check with them to see if they have any questions. Doing some simple introductions to the rest of the team along with a detailed orientation of the workplace, like where the bathrooms are, can set the new employee more at ease and allow them to focus on learning the new job. Treating a new hire with great respect illuminates the culture of your company and the professionalism by which you manage and lead. Never treat a new associate as an “interruption.”
4: Common sense and common courtesy
Many of you reading this are thinking “well that’s just common sense,” which it mainly is. Yet, it has been my experience that much of what I just mentioned does not happen consistently in the hiring process and can cause a new employee to become anxious unnecessarily.
5: Buddy system
A few more things to think of are if you have a written and well thought out training schedule that allows time for the new person to truly learn and understand the different requirements of the job. Do you assign a “buddy” to help the new employee? Does your staff understand their responsibility for training the new person? Again, this sounds like common sense, but I can tell you that in exit interviews, many former employees listed a lack of training as a primary reason for them leaving.
How you treat a new employee and the level of attention you pay to their training can make an enormous difference in their performance and their tenure. So, take the time to do things right up front to save a possible turnover later.
Who you hire and how you train (and treat) makes all the difference!
Bill Spae, CFE, is President and CEO of Square 1 Restaurants, a multi-unit franchisee of Dairy Queen and Orange Julius.