How can I make my staff want to stay?
I would ask that you think back to times you’ve started with a new company during your career. What was good and bad about those first few days and months?
A lot of time, money, and effort goes into the recruitment of new staff, and it is very disheartening when you think you have successfully recruited the ideal person for a role, only to see them leave within their first week – or in some instances their first day!
Why have they upped and gone so quickly?!
Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common in businesses large or small. But in any case, you need to look deeper into why they haven’t stayed.
If the recruitment team have done their job, then the new employee will know the pay rates, hours, and duties that will be expected of them in advance, and this will have all been accepted. So if this isn’t it, why aren’t they staying? Here are some areas to focus on:
The first day
Has everything been prepared well in advance? This will include everything from equipment being ready to be issued, to email accounts being set up. When the new employee walks through the door, can you show that you are organised and have been looking forward to welcoming them?
Is the induction schedule fit for purpose?
Has the induction schedule been thought through and tailored to the role that the new employee will be carrying out? Have you got the right people involved in the induction process – and most importantly, have they got the capacity to spend time with the inductee?
There is nothing worse than placing an employee in a particular department to get an overview, only for them to be told when they get there, “I don’t know why I’m showing you this; it has nothing to do with what you will be doing”. In the worst situations, the established employee then proceeds to carry on with their duties, paying very little attention to the new hire who sits there twiddling their thumbs.
Another thing to be mindful of is not placing your new starter with a negative employee. They might be good at their job and / or have the best technical skills, but their negativity can strongly affect the new employee’s mindset – and this is not the sort of culture you want to perpetuate. On the other hand, having positive people involved in inductions will help new employees to feel welcomed into your organisation.
Allow the induction to be carried out at a comfortable pace, ensuring that all the individuals involved in the process are aware of their roles and responsibilities, and that they have the time to spend with the new starter.
And a final tip: if the new starter is part of a team, ask the team for their suggestions for bringing the new joiner onboard. This will help them to have a vested interest in the process. It might also be helpful to discuss with your staff the benefits the new member will bring, ultimately lessening the extra workload on the rest of the team.
Give them a buddy
Avoid doing a quick induction then just leaving the new starter to get on with it, as this can have a detrimental impact. Having a buddy system in place can be helpful for a short period of time because it gives the new starter confidence that they have a ‘go-to’ person who is willing and able to show them the ropes.
But first, consider whether this is feasible for you. Crucially, ensure you have capacity to allow the buddy to spend additional time with the new starter – it would be short-sighted to expect the buddy to continue carrying out their full duties while onboarding a new joiner. This sort of scenario could also have a negative impact on the new starter if the buddy becomes stressed as work is not being done quickly enough.
First impressions always count
It is important to notify the organisation and the existing staff members that there is a new starter joining, detailing when and what role they will be undertaking – maybe with a short bio if you can.
This gives existing staff members a little insight into the person who is joining the company and helps to promote a familiarity for when the staff meet the new starter for the first time. This will help the new joiner to feel welcome, and is indicative of an open and inclusive culture within the organisation.
Communicate and listen
Check in with the new starter at regular intervals, and especially at the end of the first day and week. Obtain feedback from those that have already spent time with the new starter so that you can have a two-way conversation on how they are getting on. Always ask your new joiner how they feel they are getting on – and if they do raise any concerns; nip these in the bud ASAP!
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Submit your most pressing HR questions to our very own agony aunt Sonia Rai, founder and director of Nectar HR, to get valuable free advice.