Let’s face it, even in a booming economy, what company has the time to hire, train, and dedicate resources just to do it all over again in six months and for the same position!! Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes company’s need to part ways with an employee that is just not working out. Below, however, are five tips that I have learned throughout my career as a hiring manager, which have increased my new-hire retention and got the candidates I wanted.
Step 1 –Evaluate the job description. Just like anything, things change. However, most companies keep the same job description (JD) for years. The hiring manager should evaluate JDs before posting. A few suggestions:
- Does the JD start with a description of your company? Ask yourself: if you didn’t know your company, and were looking at a job there, would the description inspire you AND get you excited about the company? Most of the time, this is an employee’s first introduction to the company. The description should not only explain the purpose of the organization and the mission, but the accolades, accomplishments and goals of the organization as well. Remember, you are seeking talented individuals (hopefully) and want to “sell” the company, just like you want the individual to “sell” him or herself to you.
- How specific is the JD? The first 2-3 bullet points under job duties, responsibilities, functions (whatever you want to call it) should be the most important. Then the rest should be listed in order of priority. These duties should be clear and specific so no surprises await the employee once they start.
- Does the JD list core and leadership competencies? I’ve seen many JDs that list the functions of the job, which is important, but fail to mention competencies. These are the attributes and personality traits that a manager and team members can often get frustrated with a few months into the job. Look at your ideal employees. If you don’t have employees yet for the specific role, write down what attributes that ideal employee would possess. These can be qualities such as: reliable, team player, political savvy, problem-solver, organized. After you compile your list, you can even write a brief description next to the competency. Here’s an example:
Accountable/Dependable – Must take responsibility for timeliness of schedule and breaks.
This ensures that not only can the candidate perform the job but they are easy to work with and easy to coach.
Step 2 – Have a working interview. At one of my former employers, we would first have the human resources department phone screen the potential employee. Then, if they liked the candidate, we would bring them to the office for an interview with various other managers. If the interview went well, we would then check references, collaborate, and offer the position. As you could imagine, our turnover was extremely high. I started to incorporate what we called a “final, working interview”. The candidate would get to see “a day in the life” of the position before they were brought in for another round of questions (which can be completed on the same day). We would have the potential new hire shadow an employee that was successful and looking for leadership opportunities. This part is a great way to assess the candidate’s professionalism, level of engagement and overall enthusiasm about the job (not to mention a great way to also develop an existing employee). It also paints a realistic picture of the role and allows the candidate to truly know what they are committing to. Expectation setting is everything. Employees produce better results when they know what is expected of them, both on paper and in reality. At the end of the shadow, take the opportunity to assess the candidate’s thoughts and possible concerns about the position.
Step 3 – Set a probationary period or give a small project/assignment before offering full-time employment. I recognize that this will not always be possible for every role. However, this really helps create hard-working, productive employees. When an employee really has to “work” to get the job, the last thing they want to do is leave it. Once, while interviewing potential new hires for an administrative position, I had candidates submit an assignment using Excel. For sales positions, we set the expectation that a permanent position would be awarded after the candidate completed their training and sold a specific dollar amount during the probationary period. This created focused, determined employees right off the bat and weeded out the under-performers or those with the attitude that any job will suffice.
Step 4 –Introduce the new hire to the company. The first day on the job can be just like the first day of school, exciting and intimidating all at once. Aside from orientation and training, the first day on the job can really solidify the new-hire’s experience and level of production. Give these things some thought to ensure a great first day and future: who greets the new-hire? Will someone give them a tour? Is the work space ready? Do they know where the bathrooms are? Do they have business cards, a name plate, a welcome card and anything else creative to make them feel like part of the team? This leads me to step 5.
Step 5 – Assign a mentor (preferably someone with leadership desire). A mentor can help with the above things in Step 4, but ultimately a mentor will serve as another level of support for the new hire. The mentor usually wants to grow their career, and can handle accomplishing their own tasks, while taking on additional responsibilities. Mentorship also helps take some of the simple, “newbie” questions off the manager’s plate.
Many have experienced hiring what they thought were a strong candidate and found themselves frustrated six months later due to lack of performance. Following the above steps improved my new-hire performance ramp up time 50-70% and ultimately contributed to the decrease of employee turnover.
Valentina “Val” Ries is the owner and founder of Brava Coaching, LLC. Val has started two successful businesses and is an active member of many local business organizations She has dedicated her life to empowering others and helping businesses define their path to success. She has trained, inspired, and led multiple teams and managers to optimal production. Brava Coaching, LLC provides leadership, direction and support to business professionals and front-line managers. Brava Coaching’s goal is to increase companies’ overall profitability and employee retention through leadership development and coaching. Val has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Masters of Business Administration and is a small business counselor for SCORE