With unemployment at near record lows, a younger workforce that’s not waiting for the gold watch, and  wages on the rise it’s more important than ever to keep your valuable people. Companies that understand this and work on retaining their staff will control the market while businesses that don’t “get it” will fail. Learning how to retain valuable employees is no longer an option. So, here are 5 surefire ways to retain new employees.

5 Surefire Ways to Retain New Employees

Hire the Right Person the Right Way

Hire for character. I once read that Macy’s department store had a saying that goes back to the 1940s, “Hire nice and train them how to use the cash register.” There’s a lot of truth in those words. We’ve all worked with skilled people who were negative, disruptive, and toxic to the team. And most of us have worked someone of good character that had little or no job skills who evolved into an outstanding teammate.

When you’ve decided to offer someone a position, it’s good to share the benefits of the job and culture, but you should also share the pitfalls. There are no perfect jobs, so divulge the imperfections. When you share the downside of the position with employment candidates, you’ll eliminate people who don’t fit,  prepare those who do for the reality of the position, and show corporate transparency that is rare, refreshing, and attractive.

Check in

How do you know if your new employee is happy? You know the answer, it’s to ask them. But too often we don’t take the time, or we don’t ask for fear of the answer. “Up to 28 percent of new employees quit within the first 90 days on the job. Given that hiring and training new employees is both costly and time consuming, it’s critical to do everything in your power to keep new employees excited and engaged – rather than risk losing top talent and needing to start the hiring process over again.” —  Inc.com The Top 3 Reasons Why New Employees Quit in the First 90 Days and How to Prevent It

Don’t wait 90 days to ask. Sit down with new hires at the end of the first day. I like to start by asking them how it went and commiserating that the first day on a new job is difficult. Next, I ask something along the lines of the following:

  • What was as you expected?
  • What surprised you?
  • How can we help you?

Another good strategy is to review expectations, job descriptions, and handbooks at the end of the first week. If your organization is like most, the new employees were shown all of this once in orientation, and too often they were handed the information and told to read it. If you revisit orientation after the first week, you’ll be surprised and rewarded with the employees’ questions.

Learn How Your Employees Think

When conducting orientation and basic training, it’s easy to fall into the one size fits all trap. However, we’re not all size eight, are we? People learn, communicate, and are motivated in different ways.

“An installation manager I worked with would hire inexperienced people of character and then train the installation position. He onboarded by distributing a manual to trainees before training began. During training, he gave them a checklist and then showed them each step. After he completed a step, he watched as each trainee did the same. Next, he would assign tasks, leave, but check progress throughout the task. Before a trainee “graduated” they took an open book test using the manual he had given them. Some of the trainees grasped the trainee in one or two sessions. Others took longer. However, before any new installer was sent to a job site, the manager knew they had the skills to complete the job.” — Training Isn’t One Size Fits All

Involve Your New Teammates

People want to feel part of something. They want to know their thoughts and opinions matter. If you want to retain valuable teammates, ask for their advice, ideas, and opinions. Asking doesn’t mean you have to use every suggestion. However, being asked is important to most people.

Involve your team by giving them some autonomy, let them make decisions, especially when they’re closer to the task than you.

“People support what they help create. Ask team members to bring you solutions along with problems. By involving employees, you enlist their ownership of new issues and solve problems … There is no doubt that five heads are better than one, so involve your team – your experts – in seeking new ways to reduce expenses, improve quality, expedite customer service or improve coordination with other departments” —  Inc.com How to Involve Your Team to Improve Your Results

Share a Compelling Mission

I do leadership training with a Lawn Care Company. My wife and I hired them to work on our yard (it’s a mess). When the lawn care specialist, Josh, came to our home, he was polite and thorough. I expected as much. My wife was impressed. He went above and beyond, sweeping the walks and drive, explaining what he was doing, and making notes for future treatments.

When I was 12 or 13 years old, I accompanied my father to take the family car to a shop for repair. He got out of the car, walked to shop, turned around, and got back into the car without talking to anyone. I was puzzled and asked him why he didn’t talk to them. He asked me if I’d noticed how dirty and disorganized the shop was. I hadn’t paid attention. My dad explained that if they couldn’t take better care of their shop, he wasn’t trusting his car with them.

Here’s my point, the landscaping company I work with does residential and commercial. What they do makes an impact. When a customer, employee, or banker pulls up to a business that looks unkempt with weeds and tall grass, it sets a negative tone. And when the same folks pull up to a manicured landscaped lot, it sets a positive mood. It’s the same with residential. What these landscapers do makes a difference in people’s businesses and lives. They have a mission.

The World Has Changed

Yes, the world has changed, and it’s a job seekers market today. However, whether it’s a low unemployment time or the opposite, retaining valuable employees is always the best answer to building a roster, and the best way I know to accomplish this is to follow these 5 surefire ways to retain new employees.

Hire the right person the right way, check in with them, learn how they think, share a compelling mission, and then involve your team, and you’ll create a culture where it’s not unusual for people to celebrate years of tenure with your organization. If you follow these 5 surefire ways to retain new employees you won’t keep every new hire, but you will retain more than if you don’t.

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

Does your business have a  management training plan? Many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash