I’m fascinated to see time and time again (across every industry) that attention, resources and money are given, almost exclusively, to an employees ‘on-boarding’ experience. And sometimes, that is nothing more than, ‘welcome, here’s your desk and good luck!’
Please employers, I beg of you- spread out the love! Here are some starting points to think about as you evaluate the three phases of an employee’s life cycle.
1. The beginning- first impressions matter, in everything. Beyond the welcome packet and tour of the office, a first day, week and month can set the tone. Don’t talk at a new employee, slow down, ask them about their life, expectations, nerves, excitement- be human and authentic. Set them up to spend time with co-workers, key stakeholders, subject matter experts- but do it with purpose and organization. They will feel cared for and supported. Check in frequently. How did their day go, who did they speak with, what questions did they have, is it what they expected so far? Push here. There’s got to be something that is surprising. Find out what that is because chances are, it’s something you can improve upon as an organization and this activity lays the groundwork for open communication as a part of your culture.
2. The middle- so much damage is done here. Books are written, degrees are pursued at universities, business are built to teach how to do the middle better. This is the phase that you lose your best people. The options to kick ass here are endless, but in my experience and research, the best in class make it easy to drink the ‘kool-aid.’ Say your employees are your best asset, then do something about it. Teach your leaders to think of the human first and employee second and then role model that. Programs and initiatives that drive employee development and engagement will be money well spent if you do it for the right reasons and everyone is rowing the boat in the same direction. This is doable, I’ve seen it!
3. The end- as the founder of a career transition company, I have a strong opinion about this ‘red-headed, step child’ of an employees journey. It’s almost always disregarded, written off as yesterday’s news and not given the care it so deserves. I will gladly jump up on my soapbox for this one- the last impression will leave a lasting impression so stop messing it up. After the proverbial, ‘why are they leaving exit interview questioning’, take care of the final days. Are they set up for success to transition? Is their institutional knowledge effectively transitioned? Do they feel respected and valued to the last minute? These are your greatest ambassadors and potential brand champions here- do they feel that way? Employers have an opportunity to not only create a pool of potential returning talent, they also have the opportunity to have someone refer great talent, speak highly of the company and potentially send future customers your way.
In summary, the employee lifecycle should have more care & attention, ongoing evaluation, resources and continued innovation than any other part of your business. When the ride is good, you’ll have a raving fan and the potential with that is limitless!