Been Busy Hiring?

5 Ways to Keep the People You Have Hired and Get Them Up to Speed Quickly

It has been a busy time for recruiting. Have you and your company recruited strategically? Or did you just go for the ‘warm body’ to fill a position.

Strategic recruiting means you will get new hires up to speed quicker and increase the likelihood that new hires will stick around longer then you can say ‘pay period”.

An organization I have worked with provides HVAC services to developers in Portland. Last year they held a management retreat strictly focused on strategic hiring. In the retreat they listed the characteristics of a perfect employee for their company. Then they listed the common traits that long term, high performing employees had in common.

They quickly discovered that their ideal demographic was men in their late 20’s or early 30 who enjoyed hunting and fishing. Wait a sec, you might be asking what does hunting or fishing have to do with recruiting? Well if you are creative you will quickly put two and two together and know that hiring around lifestyle is a very smart thing to do. So guess where the HVAC Company went to recruit? Yup, the local hunting and fishing games show and they recruited six ‘perfect profile’ employees into the company.

The HVAC Company described above did the first step in keeping the people they recruited and getting them up to speed quickly.

Step One: Have a strategy before recruiting; take the time to identify the perfect fit what their interests are, where to find them and how your company fits into their lifestyle. One reason the HVAC Company had men interested in hunting and fishing is because the company owner was an avid outdoorsmen and he would take his entire team on hunting and fishing excursions as reward and as incentive.

Step Two: If it’s too late and you didn’t hire strategically it is never too late to have a training and retention strategy. Find out what their lifestyle interests are, how can you tailor reward and incentive around the lifestyles of your employees?

In a survey conducted by Right Management 2006 showed that 68% surveyed stated

bad hires and promotions lead to lower morale, 66% said it led to lower productivity, 54% said it causes loss of customers and 51% said bad hires/promotions increased training costs.

Step three: Provide the training Many baby boomer leaders expect new hires to have common sense or to just know what needs to be done. Stephen Covey says; fail to plan-plan to fail. We need to set up our new hires for success by providing them with the training to do the job at the highest level. Among surveyed CIO’s in order to retain employees: 63% are providing additional training opportunities and 47% are providing flexible work schedules (Robert Half Technology Survey of 1400 CIO’s)

Step four: Cross-train. Bring new hires up to super speed by having them cross train with cross-functional departments. Employees that have a deeper understanding of the overall company operations tend to buy in faster to the culture, the goals and their role in the company success. Set up a simple process of buddy system information sessions for example pairing an operations role with a sales role and let them see a day in the life of each other’s department. It is eye opening and builds team at the same time.

Step Five: Create outlets for fun. I know when I bring this one up people balk especially us Canadians. What do you mean fun? It’s called work for a reason, is a typical baby boomer response to the ‘fun’ word. In my research even tired and burned out baby boomers are looking for a little levity along with their Generation X and Y counterparts.

Survey results from,” Fun Work Environment Survey,” Sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management

Companies who have ‘fun’ plans in the workplace:

79% companies had reductions in turnover

72% companies had decreases in absenteeism

72% companies saw reductions in employee conflicts

95% indicated an increase in the ability to attract new employee

95% of the respondents reported increases in employee enthusiasm as a result of the fun.

94% experienced an increase in group cohesiveness

93% had increased communications among employees and employee satisfaction

92% saw an increase in employee creativity

If you have made it through the first 90 days of a new hire and you have training and retention plan in place then you are in good shape. If your hiring strategy is hit and miss and your training strategy is sink or swim and your retention strategy is that they should just be happy to get a paycheck you could find yourself on the hiring/re-hiring treadmill indefinitely. By the way the HVAC Company in Portland has a 95% retention rate in a very complex industry with a steep learning curve.

Cheryl Cran, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is the author of “50 Ways to Lead & Love It” and the January 2008 release by Career Press titled, “The Control Freak Revolution”. Check out Cheryl’s site to find out more.