By Brian Willett, Owner, Brian Willett Group/Admissions Advantage
You are currently in a war right now. No, I am not talking about actual military war, I am talking about the war that exists for you to hire and retain the talent you need to drive the success for your institution.
With record low unemployment numbers, jobs are more plentiful, and candidates have a lot of options.
I have spoken to a number of leaders that have made offers to candidates for hire who have accepted the position, and then the candidate calls back, (let’s be honest, text back) and says they are no longer interested in the position. This has blown my mind. I have never heard anything like it before.
There is also a growing trend out there that exists because candidates have so many opportunities. They will accept a position and start work. Then three weeks to three months into the new position, one of the other companies they were interviewing with offers them a position. The candidate quits because they say they wanted that job more than your position.
Whether or not they really wanted the other position more is up for debate. However, it is a growing problem.
Which is why it is important for you to make the first day through the first few months on the job amazing for new hires. We no longer live in a world where people are just grateful to have a position and will do whatever it takes to maintain that position.
Leaders have to recruit and retain their employees every day.
Here is a list of 12 things you can do during the onboarding process that will help your chances of retaining a new hire and also establish a foundation to build a relationship.
1. Have everything possible set up in advance
An area that is one of the most important but is often overlooked is setting up everything that can be set up in advance of the new hires first day. Nothing says we are disorganized and not thinking about you more than not having the essentials done in advance.
The essentials would be login credentials for company email. A desk or office that is ready to go. A phone, a desktop computer, or laptop. Stationary, business cards, an office phone number. You may not be able to get everything done before the first day, but there are some basics that you can easily have ready.
It may sound a little high maintenance to some people, but the first day of work is a lot like a first date. It should be special. Especially if the goal is to find a partner. Treat the first day for new hires as a special day, and it will get things off on the right foot so that a relationship can be developed.
2. Feeling welcomed
When you start any new job, one of the things you want to know immediately is what are the people like that you work with. Maybe your new hires met with some of their team members during the hiring and interview process. But now you have to create an environment where they can get to know each other better and start to form a relationship.
People tend to do better work and stay with an organization longer when they work with people they like.
Here are a few ways to help create the opportunity for the team to get to know each other.
During that first week have available team members gather for lunches. I always make it a point to take new hires to lunch every day the first week. This provides me the opportunity to get to know them and start establishing trust.
You can also create the opportunity for engagement during your regularly scheduled meetings for the week. I have also set up get to know you meetings that were facilitated to create trust and allow the team to get to know each other much further than what could be accomplished in just a regular meeting.
The key is to get the team interacting with each other. Also, during this time the team can provide additional feedback on a new hire that you may not be aware of.
3. Agenda for the first week at least and the first 90 days is better
I get it. You may not be able to have the first 90 days planned out but having the first week is the least you can do.
Nobody wants to work somewhere that seems like it is not organized. So, on day one, by having an agenda that shows a new hire what they will be doing and what they need to do during that first week shows them that you don’t just wing it.
Now that you have the first week laid out, you can start to work on a plan and schedule for the next 90 days.
All new hires want to know that they made the right decision to come work for your organization. These little cues such as preparation and organization can demonstrate that they made the right decision.
Most likely the benefits were discussed during the interview process. You may have even given them a packet outlining all of the benefits they are eligible for as an employee. Things such as retirement plans, health insurance, and other benefits. It is also important to put on the agenda within the first 30 days to have all of this information explained to them.
It could be done through a new hire orientation conducted by human resources, and it should be done in a formal setting where they can have their questions answered.
Most managers are not equipped enough with all of the information to answer their questions, so it is best to bring in human resources, or whoever it is within your organization that has a very deep understanding of the benefits.
5. What is expected
This should go without saying, however, to often expectations are either never discussed or covered too quickly. I know this varies depending on the type of position. It is very important to show people exactly what they are accountable for and how it will be measured.
All positions within your organization should have key performance metrics. These metrics allow everyone to know whether or not the position is being performed well. If you have positions without key performance metrics, then you should question whether or not that position is needed.
Depending on how small or large your organization is, I highly recommend a mentor program. First of all, no matter how many times you tell a new employee to come to you as their leader with any questions they aren’t going to do it. They will find someone else to ask. You can let them find their own mentor, and it could be someone you wouldn’t want them to ask, or you can control the situation and assign them a mentor.
Mentor programs have proven to be one of the most helpful onboarding tools during the onboarding process for new hires. It also creates an opportunity for people on your staff looking for additional responsibilities and a way to contribute.
7. Skills training
The new hire has already demonstrated some basic skills to be able to land the job with your organization. But now it is your job to help them develop the specific skills for them to do their job to meet the expectations of their position.
Different positions have different skills that are necessary, but so often companies fail to provide the necessary skills training so that a person can be successful.
All positions within your organization should have a list of skills that must be demonstrated by the employee to hold their position.
8. Knowledge training
There are varying levels of knowledge that are required for every position within an organization. The challenge is providing all of the necessary information to a new hire that they will need to know to do their job successfully. In admissions, I have always said that product knowledge, as it is called in the world of sales, is going to be driven by the employee’s willingness to learn as much as they can.
A manager should provide them with enough information to get them started, but the depth of knowledge that a person ultimately gains will be up to them.
9. Key leadership introductions
Depending on the size and locations of your school, who these people are will vary. However, it is important to introduce a new hire to as many of the top leadership at their campus or the organization as possible.
By letting leadership meet them in person, it shows a new employee that the company genuinely cares about their success. Additionally, they get to hear firsthand from some of the people who are responsible for the organization’s success.
10. How am I doing
Regardless of how long your onboarding process is for new hires, it is important to let them know how they are doing. I have seen where new hires have shown up late, texted during training, or was even really negative during their first couple of weeks.
It is important to address those things now. Don’t wait.
They may not even be aware of what they are doing, or in their past jobs it was accepted. You can’t assume everybody knows better. During this process, you want to provide them with any and all feedback.
By the way, the really good ones will ask for it anyway.
One of the biggest things I have never understood is why schools don’t do a better job of providing their employees with swag representing the school. Let me give you an example.
When I was a freshman in high school, I played football. We started football practice well before school actually started. As a football player, we had the opportunity to purchase a swag bag. The swag bag included a T-shirt, a hoodie, sweatpants, a hat, and some other logo swag that represented the football team.
On day one of school, I made sure I wore my football gear. I wanted people to know that I was on the team. I was proud of it. Also, every Friday we would wear our jerseys that we would be wearing that night for the varsity game. It was a big deal.
Now in my case, I had to purchase the swag bag. I think in today’s world that schools should be willing to purchase a certain amount of swag for your employees.
Two main reasons: It makes them feel a part of the team, and secondly it becomes marketing for your institution. Even when your employees forget to tell people they work for your institution, if they are wearing the swag it may get others to ask about your institution. This becomes a lead source more often than it would otherwise.
12. When do I go live
One of the things I have seen many times is that new hires will kind of live in that new hire fog for as long as they can. They never really know when they are supposed to start being accountable for the results you hired them to deliver. In admissions or financial planning, it is a little easier to quantify and establish the go-live date, but in other areas of a school it may not be as defined. Make sure new hires know when they will be held accountable.
Remember the war on talent is real. It is your job to win the war. It is your job to drive the results of your organization through people. By implementing these strategies, it will increase your chances of retaining the talent your company needs.
BRIAN WILLETT started his career as an admissions representative and held the position, System Director of Admissions for Kentucky’s largest private group of colleges and universities. Brian is the co-owner of MPACT Group Inc., an Admissions Training and Secret Shopping company. For the last five years, Brian has worked with Dale Carnegie Training selling and conducting training for businesses all around the U.S. Brian has developed the admissions advantage training platform and course, which provides admissions and financial planning teams with the skills they need to compete in today’s competitive marketplace.
Contact Information: Brian Willett // Owner // Brian Willett Group/Admissions Advantage // 502-296-7632// firstname.lastname@example.org // admissionsadvantage.net; brianwillettgroup.com // Twitter: @bwillett79; LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianawillett/; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brian.willett.5851