One of your biggest stumbling blocks for growing your business is expanding your employee pool to meet demand while maintaining your desired company culture, ensuring employees get the needed training to succeed, having employees who can grow with your changing landscape, and keeping turnover low so you don’t have to spend time finding replacements for those who leave.
Although you might not think about the costs of loosing an employee as much as the hassle; the costs are huge–especially when you think about the value of your time or that of your key people spent during the interview process and then on training new people. Then there is the learning curve cost of having another new employee verses a seasoned employee who can get things done, get them done right, and get them done efficiently–without oversight.
Unfortunately, the most important phase for success with a rapidly growing employee base is something most startups and fast growing companies neglect–onboarding. This is the effort and activities you plan for new employees. Onboarding can include
- Pre-hire activities.
The first 30 days of an employees tenure with your company sets the stage for the next 3 years and beyond. In fact, according the the Brandon Group, companies with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. those are massive gains and should make you think twice about the thought you give to this.
This doesn’t mean you need to write a company manual like large corporations that delineates when people can sneeze. It does mean you give thought to the first 30 days of your new employee’s time with your company to ensure they become part of the team, learn things that will help them succeed at the task you give them, and become your best representative to the outside world of who your company is.
Large organizations understand the value of indoctrinating new employees so much that they often hire in batches sales reps, financial brokers, bank tellers, and even hospital volunteers. This allows them to hold seminar type training for entry level positions and even have dedicated trainers.
Don’t dismay that you don’t have the staff to do such things because studies show that seminar training may be the least effective method of creating company culture and happy, productive employees. What can you do?
- Consider how many people a prospective employee meets during the hiring process and who they meet. Once they have passed a certain bar, you may want to plan who interviews them to include key people that will give them valuable resources once hired.
- Have new hires join any company or department social media groups before they walk through the door the first day. Colleges often do this with freshman, because it helps people learn who is who and a little about the culture before they awkwardly enter that first day.
- Gather information about your history as a company, your mission, current advertising or promotional material, website url’s and other online and offline items you already have created to be used for general training material. The more a new hire knows about your company, the better they will be able to join in and contribute.
- State defined expectations of their job, their authority, and who to go to for help. The more you have thought this through to tell them, the more clearly they will be able to do what you need.
- Create a mentoring program where each new employee gets someone other than their immediate boss who helps them learn the ropes. Ask this person to go take the new hire to lunch once a week during the first month, include them in company activities, and generally watch out for them. This is also a great activity for someone you are considering for a management position as it helps them refine their coaching skills.
- Hold social gatherings when you have new hires to allow for everyone to meet them and for them to talk to people outside of the work setting. These aren’t labeled new hire meet and greets, just be aware that anytime you are hiring is a good time to do something social. Social activities have the added benefit of improving moral in general when employees get a chance to enjoy each other doing something fun. Possibilities include rock climbing, picnics, bowling, laser tag and more.
Although these things take planning and time; the cost of not actively engaging you new employees may be three or four times the cost of doing it. The result will be a stronger culture, better team, and more productive people.