“How can I improve the chances of staff engagement and retention from the day they start?”
One of the most disappointing things for leaders and teams is when good employees hand in their resignation – especially in the current climate where workloads are high, staff are pushed to the limit, and new talent is particularly hard to come by.
We’re seeing an increase in staff turnover, and this can be particularly frustrating when those employees haven’t been with you long. It’s therefore crucial not to ‘recruit and forget’, and essential to set them up for success from the beginning.
Research tells us that employee engagement and retention is improved by having clear expectations from the outset. If your organisation is experiencing the all too common revolving door, it’s time to provide greater clarity on expectations of the role and the contribution they make to your organisation’s bigger picture.
Here are some simple, practical things you can do to avoid unwanted staff turnover.
It’s surprising how many position descriptions (PDs) can be considered vague or ambiguous. Instead, use your PDs to be crystal clear about the scope, boundaries and expectations of the role. List the outcomes you expect, what success looks like, and what you’re really looking for from the person in the role.
It’s a great opportunity to be specific so that both parties are clear from the beginning. Clarity is king.
You should both be on the same page about:
- Role boundaries and accountabilities
- What success looks like and how it’s measured
- Expected behaviours which demonstrate your organisation’s values and culture
- Potential career pathways
With clear expectations, new employees are less likely to feel overwhelmed. Take this opportunity to agree on individual goals to help the new employee feel motivated and inspired to achieve them. This will increase self-management as they track themselves against set goals.
Workload and Challenges
Most employees don’t shy away from hard work when expectations are clear. We advise you, as the employer, to be upfront about the challenges of the role during the recruitment process and while there will always be the odd curveball, it’s important to be realistic. Of course organisations can’t control all external factors, so ensure you’re as transparent as possible about what you do know.
The more explicit and honest you are, the more likely you are to attract and find the right fit who is more likely to genuinely commit to make an impact and overcome obstacles and challenges with you. Because honesty cultivates trust and loyalty, they’re also more likely to be engaged for the longer term to serve the purpose of what they were brought on to do.
Research shows that emerging leaders generally favour aspirational career opportunities over remuneration alone when it comes to choosing and staying in their next role.
Allow emerging talent to imagine their future career path with you by offering professional development that’s aligned with their goals. Run tailored workshops and group coaching sessions which address specific known priority needs of teams rather than generic training sessions for example. Costs can be streamlined by targeting spend on your team’s specific areas for development. Sessions on soft skills development like resilience, having difficult conversations, self mastery in stressful situations, and so on, are greatly valued by employees and employers. You will gain return on investment through increased engagement, individual effectiveness, team productivity and loyalty.
Key tips for success
- Identify and establish clear objectives and expectations for employees for the first 6 months in their new role
- Ensure the expectations are mutually agreed and get employee involvement and buy-in
- Make your success measures SMART-Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timebound
- Encourage self-management and two-way feedback to generate more productive, meaningful conversations, rather than the vague ‘How are you going?’’ interactions, and reduce the likelihood of unwanted surprises!
- Dovetail S4S into your Performance Reviews – review and refocus future objectives based on the performance of the employee and priorities of the organisation
Whilst employers often understand the theory of the above, we often find they benefit from support around the implementation.
For example, do you find it difficult to articulate expectations to staff or to explain how certain expectations tie in with the overall vision and mission?
Or would you find it valuable to see exactly how to involve employees in the goal setting process to ensure they’re committed and engaged?
Or if performance issues arIse, do you feel comfortable with how to manage this?
The Above & Beyond Group shows employers more of the ‘How to’ with our short Set for Success (S4S) Program. We help you, the employer, to help the employee feel more supported and equipped for their role from the day they start.
Find out more!
If the S4S Program sounds like the retention and support plan you’ve been missing at your organisation, please contact Laura Sutherland for further details on delivery and pricing.
Director & Founder
M 0410 360 679
Laura is a Workforce specialist, Leadership and Career Coach with a background in Psychology. Considered the go-to trusted advisor on workforce challenges in our industry, Laura partners with clients to understand their specific challenges and tailor the most effective and sustainable solutions. Her core professional purpose is to improve and future proof Aged Care & Community Services by supporting organisations to develop the potential within their people.