So, you’ve hired a great staff. You’ve spent time reviewing résumés, interviewing candidates, and checking references. Phew, that’s over. Now it’s time for everyone to get to work!
Managers — busy as they are — often think that choosing the right employees is the hard part, and that once their staff is in place, all they have to do is train them and things will kick into gear.
But as those in restaurants, retail and other non-desk worker industries know, turnover is a big challenge. According to research compiled by the Society for Human Resource Management, half of all hourly workers leave their jobs within the first 120 days.
The secret is in initiating employees — some human resources professionals call it “onboarding.” This involves not just teaching workers the basics of their jobs, but familiarizing them with the culture of the company and making them invested in staying. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Orientation isn’t a one-time deal. Schedule group meetings with new hires once they’ve had a chance to settle in — such as one to three months after they started. Ask how things are going and review training concepts. Repeat this type of check-in every so often.
- “Sink or swim” – up to a point. Managers and executives often ascended the company ladder by proving they could handle tough situations with little guidance. It’s easy to expect that everyone else should have the same instincts and drive. But leaving workers to fend for themselves might be counterproductive as it could lead to confusion, a stressful work culture, and more turnover.
- Expectations are key. One study cited by SHRM found that businesses in the United States and United Kingdom lose an estimated $37 billion yearly simply because workers don’t understand their jobs. Be clear about expectations and ask for continual feedback — workers who fully understand their roles are more likely to feel confident and be better at their jobs than those who don’t.
- Invite them in. Is there a tasting the chef at your restaurant is doing for kitchen staff that wait staff could take part in? Is there an insider in your business that would be an eye-opening person for workers to meet? Inviting workers to get a glimpse of the larger company can help them better understand its culture, their role within it and can help them feel more invested in staying.
- Social interaction. So much of enjoying a job is liking the people you work with. Fostering a friendly work environment, whether it’s offering free food and drink or scheduling optional off-site social gatherings, can go a long way in creating a positive work culture that will keep employees around.