You’ll have likely heard of the ‘Great Resignation’, the name given to the trend of people leaving their jobs or considering doing so in the near future. This trend has never been more relevant in the UK employment market, with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reporting that 3.2% of the entire working population made the move to a new job between April and June 2021.
The pandemic exacerbated this trend following the hugely negative impact it had on the job market throughout many industries across the globe. Lockdowns forced a rise in remote and flexible working arrangements, leading to a surge in demand for people wanting more flexible jobs to improve their work-life balance.
With such talent shortages across industries, there has never been more a prudent time to look at deploying employee retention strategies to ensure you’re holding on to your businesses best personnel. That’s why we’re going to discuss some of the most effective onboarding and engagement strategies companies can utilise to improve employee retention and boost job satisfaction. We’ll also discuss how these strategies can save you time and money and increase productivity.
How the onboarding process can support employee retention
Improving employee experience and retention starts with the hiring and onboarding process. The first impression you make on employees can stay with them throughout the duration of their employment with you, keeping them engaged following the initial excitement of starting a new job. The primary goal of onboarding is to retain new hires as it invests in employees from day one by providing them with resources, training and guidance needed to succeed in their role.
The onboarding process begins before a candidate even steps into their new job. Pre-onboarding activities involve sending out communications before the employee’s start date explaining what the company is about and what they can expect when they arrive, allowing prospective hires to prepare for their roles ahead of time and feel comfortable with their new team when they start working.
During onboarding new hires, you’re introducing new employees to the company, its procedures, culture and values. By providing employees with the tools and information they need to be successful, organisations can foster relationships and maximise employee satisfaction, leading to higher retention rates.
Having clear objectives and expectations outlined for each employee ensures that they know what is expected from them, reducing misunderstandings or the need for clarity. Onboarding also helps create a sense of community within the workplace as employees are given a chance to get acquainted with their colleagues early on, which promotes teamwork and loyalty among staff.
Best practices for onboarding
Onboarding should include the basics, such as introducing the company, its policies and expectations. It’s also important to explain the employee’s job duties and how they align with the business’s overall goals. Additionally, it can be helpful to give tips on making a positive first impression, by outlining the dress code and ensuring they’re aware of what time they’re expected to arrive for work, how long their breaks are and when they can take them.
During the onboarding process, you should provide employees with all the necessary resources, such as materials and equipment, required for their job and give them a chance to ask you any questions they may have. The more they know and understand about the company, the more they’ll feel like part of the team from day one.
Assigning an experienced member of staff to guide new employees as they become familiar with their new role not only helps them learn new skills more quickly, but also makes them feel welcome and involved in your company culture. This would preferably be an employee who has a similar role and level of responsibility, so they feel comfortable asking them questions or confiding in them. That individual can introduce them to the rest of the team, especially the people they’ll regularly interact with, helping them to feel more at ease in their new work environment.
Hands-on training is typically more effective than simply reading through handbooks. Though it requires investing more time initially, training employees directly delivers swift results, with new employees picking up processes quicker and making fewer mistakes. In addition to increasing productivity, employees who understand practices quickly feel more confident and are typically more engaged.
An effective way to identify areas of your onboarding process that need improvement is by asking new starters for feedback once they’ve completed the necessary training. You can ask them to pinpoint any gaps or improvements they think may improve the onboarding process.
Best practices for employee engagement
Employee engagement is an essential factor in effectively retaining personnel and is just as important as bringing them onboard in the first place. An effective retention strategy enables employers to reduce turnover rates, save on recruitment costs, maintain consistent productivity levels and demonstrate commitment to employee satisfaction.
Building relationships with new employees is an integral part of cultivating engagement and motivation, making the workplace a pleasant environment and increasing productivity, contribution and collaboration. Developing trust is also key to a successful an engagement strategy, which can be established by getting to know your employees, being honest and direct about your decisions and regularly communicating facts and figures.
Involving staff in the process of making decisions gives them a greater investment in the business. Offering your employees the opportunity to contribute during discussions and asking for their opinions, before making business decisions, can foster a sense of responsibility and lets them know you value their input.
Implementing training and development plans reinforces confidence in your employees and their ability to add value to the business while demonstrating that they are appreciated. Investing in your employees’ future can dramatically increase engagement and influence ambitious staff to remain with the company.
Providing feedback through constructive criticism and praise empowers employees to focus on areas of improvement and celebrate their success. Feedback strengthens trust and clear communication and allows employees to set and work towards future career goals.
When onboarding and retention processes are correctly implemented and managed, they can significantly impact organisational performance and are one of the most compelling assets a company can have, due to the positive impact across various aspects of the business.
At Cogent Staffing, our client services are tailored to meet the needs of your business, from supplying staff on an ad-hoc basis to managing every aspect of the recruitment function. We can support you in making the right hires and providing an effective onboarding process. You can find out more about how we can support your business on our Client Services page.