Just two months ago we wrote an article about the so-called 'Great Resignation' and what employers could or should be doing to prevent themselves becoming part of this worldwide statistic. It’s worth reading that blog again if you get the chance – (read here https://tinyurl.com/2vr8u64s)
According to Sir Isaac Newton, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This is a fundamental law in mathematics and physics, more commonly referred to as Newton’s Third Law of Motion. This means there must also be a First and Second such Law, but perhaps for the purposes of this brief blog post we’d best leave those to the more enlightened to mull over! For now, we’ll focus just on the third, but what could this have to do with Employment Relations and Human Resource Management, many would ask?
If there really is a Great Resignation happening, then there must be an equal and opposite 'Great Employment' also taking place. Just as people leave organisations to move to new pastures, most of these same people will be joining other teams as new starters. If we focus solely on the resignation piece of the puzzle, we will be missing out on the big opportunities that onboarding new employees into our team brings with it.
This article addresses some of the more fundamental considerations of changing someone else’s Great Resignation into your own great new recruit:
- Selection process – the choice and confirmation of any new employee is a huge decision that deserves the attention of senior people in the organisation. Each new employee is going to cost your business a large sum of money in salary and other costs. For some small businesses, the investment of employing just one employee for a year might even be similar to what it may have cost to purchase the business itself. So, before confirming your next recruit, ask yourself whether you have made a similar amount of due diligence on the investment that you’re about to make before you confirm them as the right person for the job. Do not take shortcuts or simply base your decision on your ‘gut feeling’, important as this may be! Interview thoroughly and meaningfully. Test for skills. Do those background checks and ideally call those referees yourself rather than delegating this exercise to a recruitment agent or a member of your team with more time on their hands. Value highly the investment that you are about to make and give it the attention it deserves.
- The Paperwork – “No worries - We’ll get that all sorted once you start!” is something we all hear too often! Don’t be tempted into doing this. Make sure you have the right Employment Agreement and Letter of Offer prepared specifically for this position. If you use a template, make sure that it is up to date and relevant to the role. Revisit your employee handbook or Code of Conduct policy manual (or get one written up if you do not have one already). This is an excellent tool to use to let all your employees know your “way of doing business”. Give us a call if you have any doubt about your Employment Agreement, Offer Letter or employee handbook – we can quickly update these and ensure that they are relevant to the position that you are offering.
- Induction and on-boarding – Perhaps the most obvious, yet so often the most neglected step in the employment process. A thorough and meaningful effort to get your new employee settled into the team is crucial. There can be no overstating the importance of those initial three months of employment. Practically every employee wants to succeed in their new role. They would have invested heavily in their own decision to accept your offer of employment and they would have much at stake themselves, be it financial, emotional or reputational. They too want to make it work. They need to feel productive and ‘one of the team’ as quickly as possible. Remember that very often your new employee would have been going flat out in their previous role until just a few days prior to joining your team. Asking them to ‘read the policy manual to get up to speed’ or to ‘observe Jane because she’s good at the job’ until you get the chance to get away from your high-octane day long enough to ‘check in on them’ ….. that’s not really going to cut it. You should give them meaningful, achievable tasks from day one. Make time for them, even if it means falling behind on your own schedule. Talk to them and find out more about their own likes, dislikes, hopes and aspirations …. and then try to find simple ways to show them that they’ve made the right choice. Remember, the employment relationship is a two-way street. Make sure that they become your best free marketing tool – any friend or family member that they meet during those first three months will ask them how they are getting on in their new job, what the company is like, what you are like. The way you plan and execute their induction and onboarding will bear heavily on their response to these questions and effect retention.
- Performance follow-up – at the end of the day, all new employees are brought onboard to fulfil a role. They would have been chosen because you believe that they have the skills, experience, and/or knowledge to succeed in the role. However, it is very rare to find someone who will immediately meet all your expectations from day one. Be clear about your expectations. Let them know what you will be looking out for, how they will be measured, what you like and dislike. Schedule time in your calendar to meet with them regularly over the first three months to review how they are performing and whether they are meeting your expectations. If not, you need to raise the flag early – they will want to know. We can help you to put in place a simple, but structured tool that will assist you or your team manager and record these follow-ups. This will be very useful, particularly if things do not work out and you are contemplating a probationary or 90-day trial period exit.
So, whether you are employing new staff because your business is growing or because you are replacing someone who has resigned, a strong and deliberate focus on those initial days and weeks of their employment are crucial to the ongoing success of the business and employee satisfaction and will help to ensure that your new recruit really becomes an example of a Great Employment and does not quickly join the ranks as yet another Great Resignation.
By John Camilleri, Senior Associate