When it comes to the current employment landscape, businesses have to traverse through some difficult terrain to meet their goals of hiring and retaining talented workers. As shown in the latest jobs report released in April, the unemployment rate reached a seven year low of 5.5 percent. Employment gains reached a 269,000 monthly average over the last year – which is up significantly from the previous year.
In addition, the U.S. skills gap continues to be a major issue for engineering, technology and vocational fields. The demand to fill positions with specialized or niche skill sets is extremely high, and these candidates can be especially hard to source. Simply put, there are jobs available, yet not enough skilled workers to fill those positions.
But let’s say you were able to find and hire that talented new employee for that important IT or tech opening. Can you guarantee that he or she isn’t going to be snagged by a competitor or another employer within six months? If the answer is no, it’s time to take a look at how your company properly handles onboarding and ongoing training.
A stronger job market and improving U.S. economy means that more career opportunities are available – and it’s likely your employees know it. This doesn’t just apply to your veteran staff members. If a new employee realizes that a new job isn’t what they thought it would be or that the role seems undefined, there will be less hesitation for them to stick it out. This is a prime example why a well thought out and structured onboarding program can help keep your new hires happy.
Onboarding should not just include a one-day orientation where the employee fills out a mountain of paperwork and is shown where the break room and bathrooms are located. Having an extensive onboarding plan in place is the first step in setting your new hires up for continued success. Not only will it reduce turnover and save you money, but it will also give your employee a clear path to being an engaged and productive member of your team.
According to a 2014 study by the Aberdeen Group on engaging new hires, “When onboarding goes “right,” new hires feel engaged, motivated to perform, and eager to contribute to overall business objectives. When onboarding goes “wrong”, employees feel resentful and may even begin to question their decision to join the organization.”
So what if your company’s new hire onboarding only consists of one day of training? Or maybe it’s a few days and you know it’s not enough? Don’t fret; here are some general rules to improving your onboarding.
- The job listing should be well defined. Keep responsibilities clear and to the point. Try to avoid vague explanation of the role’s duties. If the role’s duties are fluid, include skills the ideal candidate will need to have to meet expectations.
- If the candidate makes it past the initial interview screens, consider including a member (or members) of the team in the interview. They’ll be able to provide a day-to-day responsibility point of view that a hiring manager might not have. Additionally, it will give some early indicators of team chemistry, and your veteran staff will appreciate being involved in the onboarding process.
- Send your new hire their offer letter and paperwork as soon as they accept. It sets a good first impression. Have them fill everything out before arriving for their first day so your not spending the day stuck in the minutiae.
- During the orientation, present the new hire with the basics of your company. This includes the mission statement, company goals and objectives, the industry landscape, and the company culture and how it’s enacted.
- Tour the whole facility, introducing them to the whole department. Another nice touch is taking the new hire out for a welcome lunch with key members of the team.
- Set an onboarding timeline laying out responsibilities, goals and key dates. Schedule status update meetings to ensure that the new hire is on track, meeting yours expectations. Make sure the employee’s questions and concerns are being addressed.
- Assign a peer mentor to your new hire. This person can assist and coach through challenges. A great workplace peer mentor will cultivate proper business habits and will strengthen your company’s culture.
Ongoing Training Programs
Another way to improve your retention rate is to offer training programs for your employees. The first step is to establish a culture that promotes professional growth and learning. To create a learning culture in your business, begin by highlighting
the value and expectation of growth, seek out training supplements and resources, and consider implementing a training program for your employees.
Here are some standards for executing a training program:
- Facilitate new skill development with your employees. A successful training and development program should constantly be prepared to address existing and future needs as they relate to leadership. Consider the upcoming roles that may need development or a new leader in the near future, and prioritize these roles in a training program.
- Prioritize the training that your strongest employees seek. Build out programs around their needs to validate their historically strong contributions. According to a recent study, “Many people assume that once employees are trained, they are more likely to leave the company for greener pastures, but actually, the opposite is true: trained staff are happier and more likely to stay put. Their self-esteem improves, which in turn improves their morale in the workplace and their loyalty to their employer.”
- Look at the latest skill development tools. Training materials today come in a variety of forms, and some companies find it useful to incorporate “gamification” or highly immersive, first-hand techniques for their employee training.
Succeed, Despite the Skills Gap
Even with a proper onboarding program in place, sourcing and retaining talent — especially in the engineering, technology and vocational sectors — is difficult, due to the pesky skills gap.
As a way to provide actionable tools to help combat the skills gap, Adecco Staffing will be hosting a webinar entitled Acquire and Retain Talent, Despite the Skills Gap on Tuesday, May 19th, from 1-2PM EST.
Panelists Gary Beach, Lou Franco and Jesse Wright will provide tips on recruiting qualified and skilled professionals from niche talent pools. They’ll also discuss mixing traditional and alternative recruiting methods in order to find candidates ahead of the competition. By attending you’ll also learn how to keep your talent on board by empowering them with proper training, skills development and compensation.