The Onboard Train in the Outbound Lane: How to Hire & Retain Employees Ready to Enter the Workforce
Both employees and employers somewhat play equal parts in developing workers to become more productive and advance in their careers. While accurately predicting how ready an employee is to enter the workforce is impossible, there are a few tell tale signs when recruiting that should give you a great indication a particular candidate would be an excellent addition to your staff.
Everyone at one point in their life has had to juggle multiple projects at once. How did the candidate handle this difficult period of time? Have they done this in a business environment? If they don’t currently possess this ability (or can’t come up with a situation on the spot), are they open to learning how your office environment is pieced together? If so, you may be on to a winning candidate right off the bat.
Ability to Work in a Team
Even if the candidate is applying for a position that is not team-based, the ability to work well with others directly reflects a comfortable working environment. All workforces need people who express their views and ideas clearly, directly, honestly, and with respect for the work others have done. Such a team member does not shy away from making a point but makes it in the best way possible — in a positive, confident, and respectful manner. Has the candidate worked closely with other people in a previous work environment? Are they comfortable giving and receiving constructive criticism?
More than admitting when one has made a mistake, being held accountable means genuinely learning from your mistakes. Ask the candidate not only to describe a difficult work situation and how they overcame it, but what they learned as an end result.
Vision for the Future
Rarely should a candidate take a job just to have a job. Are they the type to aggressively climb the ladder or content to do the task assigned to them well? All businesses need both types of people – but make sure you can accommodate the growth potential of Type A while keeping Type B content with their position. Don’t be afraid to ask the age-old question of “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” – the results may be surprising.
Now that you’ve hired this highly organized, ambitious and honest applicant (we can dream, right?) how can you, the employer, retain this dream employee? While there is no cookie cutter answer that works for every business, consider these few staffing tips.
Robust & Extensive Training, Onboard Programs
Nothing is more frustrating than starting a new job to stare into space all day. On the employee’s first day, be sure to let them know office policies, give time to ask questions, walk them around and introduce them (or better yet, entice other employees to stop by and introduce themselves with a treat at the new employee’s desk!). Make them feel welcome by giving them a small token of appreciation like a personalized notebook, pen, or some other item that will be useful in their new position. Then set out with what they were hired to do! There is nothing wrong with starting to work on Day 1 – in fact, it’s the best way to learn.
Career Development Paths
Especially in a small business, it’s easy for the employee to feel there is no room for growth. Assuage that fear by taking the time to lay out positions and potential salaries so the employee can see where they are headed. Aligning an employee’s career goals with the strategic goals of the organization not only helps the business achieve its objectives but also engages staff.
Offer Small, But Inventive Perks
Anything that helps employees to better manage their lives will be appreciated in the long run. If company policy allows, offer a flex hour here and there so that employees may fit in that extra appointment they’ve been meaning to go to. Try a “Wellness Wednesday” or “Fit Friday” by providing fruit and yogurt or a relaxation class for your workers. Your employees will greatly appreciate it and potentially stick around longer.
Most often in large companies, employees feel they lack the ability to voice concerns with their supervisors or employers. Provide an outlet through “stay interviews” or an open-forum for suggestions. As long as these talks remain constructive, they are your business’s best bet to solve problems before valued employees look elsewhere.
There is no absolute method to hire the most proficient candidates and no ideal retention technique.
The best companies will evolve their hiring & retention practices to be more strategic and detail oriented to attract the people most likely to help fuel their business for years to come.
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