I recently read an online article with this advice to all job-seekers preparing for an interview…
“If the prospective employer doesn’t give you a chance to ask questions, at the end of the interview, ask if you may ask one question. That question is: ‘Imagine you hire me and it is six months down the road and you have already promoted me. What have I done to deserve the promotion?’ This gets them seeing you as being already successful in the position.”
Here’s my spin on it for employers…
The interview has gone well and you’re close to making an offer of employment; this is your chance to find out what you can do to manage your new hire the way they want to be managed thus enhancing engagement and boosting retention:
“Imagine I make you an offer and you accept the position with us and it is six months down the road and you feel just as enthusiastic and eager as your first day on the job. What has happened to make you feel this way?”
Do you know your employees’ favorite candy bars, restaurants, charities, or sports teams? If not, make it a practice to have new employees fill out a “data sheet” as part of their onboarding process. When you want to recognize them for an achievement, you can refer to this sheet to give them something they’ll appreciate. You can also use the sheet to spot trends and identify fun team activities that everyone will enjoy. For example, if everyone likes the Red Sox, plan a company outing to the ballpark or the local sports bar. (For a sample form, email email@example.com with “Data Sheet” in the subject line.)
“Stay conversations” improve employee engagement because they can systemize your practice of proactively asking your team members how they’re doing and what you can do to support them. Understanding what employees want from their jobs and where they hope to be in the future can help you make their jobs engaging and meaningful. The key is to be consistent and authentic. These conversations need to happen at least quarterly. Improving employee engagement needs to be an on-going process.
ENCOURAGE MORE FUN AT WORK
Your workplace should cultivate an environment of fun! There’s no rule against it and who doesn’t like to have fun?
So what does fun look like in a work environment? It can be friendly competitions, team camaraderie, and celebrations. It can be a joke of the day or free candy bars. Ask your employees what they’d like to do for fun! No one leaves the party when they’re having fun.
I was having a follow up chat with one of my recent clients the other day and was delighted to hear employee turnover is now 20 percent lower. I was even more delighted to learn about the innovative programs they’ve devised to improve store manager retention. In this particular region of this nationwide franchise, all store managers can choose one of the following:
The first Friday of every March is National Employee Appreciation Day. It’s a nice thought and I hope you’ve planned something special for the folks who are keeping your customers happy. However, if you’ve been reading these posts for any length of time at all, you know that the best and only way to recruit, hire, and retain top talent at every level is to appreciate your people every day.
“If a former employer called and asked you to come back,
would you be interested in exploring that option?
Why or why not?”
Normally, there is a 70 percent increase in online job applications on the first Wednesday after New Year’s Day, but with business confidence at a 12 year high and unemployment at one of the lowest levels ever, the start of 2018 will result in a higher than average New Year/New Job employee churn.
To keep valued team members from jumping ship, use the New Year as a reason to start holding Stay Conversations. For detailed pointers about how it’s done, text STAYINTERVIEW to 44222.
P.S. Hire Tough; Manage Easy!
A recent survey by the Association of General Contractors reports that 70 percent of respondents are having a hard time hiring the hourly craft workers that make up the bulk of their workforce and they have to turn away work.
More interesting, however, is that, even in this tight labor market, 30 percent are not having the problem. This begs the question: What are the 30 percent doing differently?
“What is the next job you would like to have in our organization?”
Ever wonder why one of your best people really quit? The following list is even truer today than when we first published it as a Hiring Hint in 2013!
10. Don’t make each new hire feel welcome and valued. Employees are most impressionable during the first 60 days on the job. Every bit of information gathered during this time will either reinforce your new hire’s “buying decision” (to take the job) or lead to “New Hire’s Remorse” — especially if you shunt them off to fill out reams of paperwork and watch training videos while you do “important things.”
9. Treat everyone equally. While this may sound good, your employees are not equal. Some are worth more because they produce more results. Some prefer hands-on management while others would rather take the ball and run with it. The key, then, is not to treat them equally, but to treat everyone fairly and with respect.
8. Enforce dumb rules. I did not say enforce no rules, I said don’t enforce dumb rules. Great employees want to have guidelines and direction, but they don’t want to deal with rules that get in the way of doing their jobs or that conflict with the company’s stated values.
7. Don’t recognize outstanding performance. Remember Psychology 101 — Behavior you want repeated must be recognized and rewarded immediately.
6. Don’t keep your people informed. If you don’t tell them what’s up, the rumor mill will. You’ve got to communicate not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly.
5. Don’t develop an employee retention strategy. Employee retention deserves your attention every day. Make a list of the people you don’t want to lose and, next to each name, write down what you are doing or will do to ensure that person stays engaged and on board.
4. Tolerate mediocrity. A-players don’t have to or want to play with a bunch of C-players and they will come to resent the need to carry the load for any slackers you keep on payroll.
3. Don’t do employee-retention interviews. Instead, you wait until a great employee is walking out the door and conduct a posthumous exit interview to see what you could have done differently to keep them on board.
2. Don’t have any fun at work. Where’s the written rule that says work has to be serious? The notion that work cannot be fun is actually counterproductive. The workplace should be fun. Find ways to make work and/or the work environment more relaxed and enjoyable and you will have happy employees who look forward to coming to work each day.
1. Micromanage everything. Squash creativity and innovation in the bud by telling them what they need to do and exactly how to do it. Don’t tell them why it needs doing or why their contributions are important. And, above all, don’t ask for their input on how it might be done better.
Your employees will put up with imperfect, but one thing that they’d like in return is for you to care.
Recruiters and hiring managers often make big promises, but delivery and/or the reality of the job frequently miss the mark. Sooner or later, this can lead to a situation where a broken promise causes an employee to complain or, even worse, lose faith.
In that moment, what the employee wants most is someone to care.
It’s a mistake, however, to believe that you actually have to care the way the employee cares and that anything less means you shouldn’t even try.
If you care, that’s great. If you don’t, at least right now, well, it’s your job to act like you do. Acting as if, and doing it with consistency, is what your employees need from you and what you need to do to safeguard employee retention.
If you were to leave us for some reason, what would you miss most
about this place? What would you miss least about us?