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How to Keep the Right People at Your Company

August 24, 2015 by Joe Mabus
Photo courtesy of pexel and

Photo courtesy of and

So you have an open position and a list of finalists who match your requirements. The candidates are well versed in your company, its mission, and its products or services. There is even a clear understanding of the drawbacks that may exist as an employee with your organization. How do you ensure their success and in so doing, solidify their employment with your company for several years? The solutions we advocate in this article are simple in theory but potentially difficult in execution.

Checking the map

A clear sign that someone may be a great new hire is whether they ask this question in the interview or not:

“What do I need to do to be successful in the first 90 days of this job?”

Clearly, these candidates have their finger on the productivity button and are mindful that your vacancy is really an advertising for a specific need in the organization. Filling that need means better returns for you, and a paycheck for them.

To respond to this question, every position should be tied to a 90-day plan for success. Some call this a “career roadmap”. This structured approach to onboarding is critical as studies have shown that employees are most likely to leave in the early stages of their employment when they are unsure of their career path in the organization. The Wynhurst Group, a Washington D.C. executive consulting firm, posits that 22% of your new workforce will quit within the first 45 days of employment. And in looking forward, a report by the Aberdeen Group in 2013 stated that employers who fail to acclimate their workforce to their surroundings have a staggeringly low retention rate of 30% after the first year. By contrast, the ‘best in breed’ companies keep 9 out of 10 employees past the first year with the company. It is obvious then that a employee’s first months with a company are the most critical to retention.

And while each company, and indeed, each role differs significantly, there are some basic guidelines for drawing a clear roadmap for new employees (time frames are suggestive):

  • Draw a clean deadline for the employee to have a cursory knowledge of your systems and tools (<30 days)

  • Allow the employee to witness the use of your product or services in the intended environment (<30 days)

  • Give your employee the chance to work with other departments within the company (<60 days)

  • Assign a project that is unique to that individual (<60 days)

  • Establish a major project to be completed by the end of the onboarding period (<90 days)

Soliciting Feedback

Once you establish a roadmap for your new hires, it is important to make sure their experiences measure up to the promises of that particular opportunity. The famous business adage, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” has recently become more relevant in HR management with the advent of a few remarkable tools aimed specifically at simplifying employee auditing procedures.

Glassdoor, Indeed, and TheLadders all report information on what it is like to work for a given employer and consequently also provide a way for job seekers a gain a transparent view into the organization.

The simplest advice of this article is this: If you don’t already have a presence on these websites, get it done today. All three platforms offer no initial startup cost, but they provide a significant value because they empower your employer branding team to control how satisfied new employees are with their jobs as well as how talent seekers see your company.

Glassdoor in particular is becoming a destination for job seekers who seek to understand all the potential pitfalls one might face as an employee of your company. On a single page, users can review interview practices, employee feedback, salaries, and “place to work” information from real employees who share their experiences; good, bad, and ugly. As an employee, workers now have the ability to solicit feedback with one keystroke. This practice should be encouraged, harnessed, and leveraged when speaking with top talent as a vehicle to promote your company as an employer of choice.

Recruiting as a Group

It has been said more than once in this series that your greatest asset for branding a company effectively to talent is your existing workforce. Again, to reiterate this point, there is no greater way to retain talent than by engaging these employess and keeping them apprised of initiatives, activities, and news about your company. This is even more critical in organizations that are vertically integrated, or where teams do not regularly interact with one another. Establishing communication within these “silos” is a fantastic way to generate employee satisfaction and present a positive employer brand to new and potential hires.

But, rather than appointing someone to courier updates from one building to the next, provide your employees with a private space to discuss updates themselves and consider opening a company intranet with a safe, moderated discussion space. Then centralize your news on the company in one location that is easy to find and share on a site like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter (or perhaps a separate section of your own website).

As content is provided, you can direct your employees to these channels and employ more robust tools like social CRMs Bambu or Yammer to push content out to employees. These tools even allow you to see who your most engaged employees are.

For those employees who embrace your content, you can incentivize more sharing through perks and prizes.

Here are just a few examples of successful campaigns that other companies have tried:

  • Capture your logo in a public place with a smart phone and use a hashtag to share it. The higher the shares, the greater the prize.

  • Give your employees one of your products and ask them to use it out of the office, then ask them to complete a public quiz on the experience.

  • Plan a company retreat and collect impressions from the trip.

  • Take down the employee of the month wall down and give workers a place to express their daily successes.

So, in conclusion, there are many great ways to keep (or lose) the talent you have. Provide an obvious plan for success, get constant feedback, and give your employees ownership of their work. This will engage your workforce, maintain productivity, and increase work satisfaction. These steps will allow you not only to keep the people you have, but also to attract many more prospects who want to join in as well.


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