- Top 10 Tips for Engaging Employees from Day 1
- 10 Methods of Retaining Key Staff
- How to Conduct a Behavioural Based Interview
Top 10 Tips for Engaging Employees from Day 1
Don’t wait until the new employee starts work
Communication with your new employee should ideally start from the day they sign the employment contract / accept the job offer, especially if there are a number of weeks between this date and the employee’s start date. Initially, a phone call to congratulate the person or an invitation to visit the office to meet their colleagues and familiarise themselves with their new environment would suffice. A new employee will feel a lot more comfortable starting work on their first day if they know the team and are familiar with where to park, what public transport to take, what – if any – keys/passes they need to access the building, etc.
Arm the new employee with the tools they need
Providing new employees with tools such as a detailed job description and, if available, an organisational chart will help them to better understand where their new position sits within the company, who they can report to or seek out for advice, and how their new position is perceived within the organisation.
Set expectations early on
The earlier on in the process you inform the new employee of expectations set upon them, the less chance there is of that person pulling out of the position prior to or not long after starting work. Clear communication around what the new employee will be expected to achieve and how achievements will be measured will help the new employee to define their new role and prepare for success.
Be prepared for the day the new employee starts work
From an employee’s perspective, there’s nothing worse than arriving for work on your first day and not having a desk to sit at, a phone to use or email set up. Prior to the new employee starting work, ensure you have prepared everything required for them to be able to get up and running straight away. This includes arranging a desk and PC, login information for the computer, a phone and headset (if required), email and business cards (where appropriate). Being prepared for a new starter will project positivity and prompt energy, motivation and respect for the organisation.
Conduct a full and proper introduction / induction
Introduce your new employee to any staff members they haven’t already met at the beginning of their first day and show them around the premises, ensuring you tell them where all facilities are, including bathrooms, kitchens, photocopiers/printers, stationery cupboards, etc. The more they know about your office and the company’s processes, the quicker they can hit the ground running. You should also make clear to the candidate the rules around coffee breaks and lunch times as well as the company’s smoking policy, etc.
Allocate a buddy or a mentor
Life will be made much easier for a new employee if they have one person they can go to with any questions or when they need support. Allocating a buddy or a mentor to a new employee will enable them to feel like they can ask questions without being embarrassed or feeling inept. Time will be saved and you can rest assured knowing that the new employee has a reliable source of information and direction.
Ensure the new employee feels included in the team
When inducting new employees, overlooking the small things can sometimes lead to a new employee feeling excluded or unwelcome. Doing everything you can to make them feel welcome and accepted may go a long way to their tenure with your organisation. Include new employees on any email distribution lists for both business and social purposes, encourage their inclusion at social events, perhaps even organise a lunch or a night out in their honour at the end of their first week. Having the opportunity to get to know colleagues on a social basis will help them forge positive working relationships with other staff members.
Conduct an end-of-day catch up for the first 3 days
During the first few days of a new job, endless amounts of information are passed onto the new employee and this usually leads to a lot of questions. It is important to attend to these questions to promote the new employee’s learning. As the first few days of a new job are very busy, it is a great idea to conduct an end-of-day catch up for the first few days, allowing you to see how the new employee is getting along and allowing them to ask questions or clarify any information. This will ensure the new employee leaves the office on the first day – or first few days – feeling positive and as if they have understood and retained what they have learned.
Provide regular, consistent feedback for the first couple of weeks
During the first couple of weeks, a new employee will rely on regular feedback to gauge how they are doing with training, how they are fitting in to the organisation and what they need to work on. Taking the time to provide both formal and informal feedback will also give you the opportunity to let the new employee know what needs to be done differently and reset expectations where required. This meeting should be positive so as to motivate the new employee.
- Conduct formal performance appraisals
Essential in the long term but particularly important during a new employee’s probationary period, formal performance appraisals will enable you as an employer to monitor a new employee’s performance and suggest avenues of improvement. It will also enable you to provide positive and motivating feedback to the new employee and allow them the opportunity to feed back to you about how they feel they are performing. In the longer term, formal performance appraisals will allow an employee to feed back to you regarding their experience joining the company to enable you to better your induction processes, if required. The performance appraisal can also be very motivating for employees who are starting to feel stagnant in their role or just need a boost of motivation.
10 Methods of Retaining Key StaffAs if finding the right staff isn’t tough enough in some climates, retaining key staff can also prove difficult. Is your turnover higher than you would like it to be? Are you doing everything you can to encourage employees to commit to your business? Whatever your situation, checkout these top 10 tips for retaining key staff:
- Set Expectations
When a staff member first starts work with you – and every time expectations change – the expectations you have of them should be clearly defined. This includes providing them with a job description outlining the definition of their role and responsibilities. After all, how can we expect a staff member to succeed if they are not aware of what it is you want them to aim for? Determining their goals enables staff to work at fulfilling them and this resulting in success can often be key to retaining them.
- Let Staff Know Your Plans for the Future
Everybody wants to be on a winning team, and a company with a clear vision and goals for the future is perceived as a company that is going places. Communicate your vision and goals to staff, advise them of wins and losses within the company, get them excited about where you’re going and let them be a part of what you are achieving and the successes you might have in the future.
- Providing Training and Development
Training and development should be viewed as an investment in your business, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Simply developing internal training programs or implementing a buddy system for new employees will give them every opportunity for success. Providing training to enable staff to grow, develop, excel and take on new challenges will not only assure staff that they have a future with your company, it will also add value to your business.
- Offer and Accept Feedback Regularly
Talking to your staff regularly and inviting them to approach you often can encourage trust, loyalty, motivation and productivity in your staff. It is recommended that employers allow and encourage staff to not only feed back around what they enjoy about their job/the company, but also what they are unhappy with or what they feel could be improved. Listening to their feedback and engaging in an open conversation with them about it will most often result in positivity within the workplace and improved performance. In addition, providing regular feedback to employees via appraisals or one-to-ones can be a major factor in retaining staff.
- Give Staff Some Ownership
Sometimes there is nothing more motivating for an employee than feeling as if they are an integral part of the business they work so hard contributing to. Employees often want to feel trusted and empowered to make decisions or take ownership of a situation, managing it from beginning to end. Allow your staff to feel as if they are valued and can have a positive impact on the company and its performance. Letting go of the reigns a little can not only result in key employees being satisfied but can often turn up new talent within your business.
- Pay Staff Fairly
Employees have expectations around salaries and appraisals, and being honest and direct will go a long way to maintaining their happiness. When reviewing salaries, advise employees of how you arrived at your decision and why you think it is fair. Justifying your rationale behind salary reviews / appraisals can help employees to understand things from your point of view. And if you advertise to employees that salaries are reviewed at particular intervals, stick to your word! Otherwise you’re arming them with the right to be dissatisfied.
- Create an Enjoyable Environment
What kind of environment have you created for your employees? Is it friendly? Is it enjoyable? Creating an atmosphere that is positive and encourages openness, trust, sharing and relationship building can be hugely motivating, as can a bright office with loads of natural light (if possible). If employees enjoy working in the environment you have created, you are already half way to achieving success around retaining key staff.
- Don’t Ignore Issues
It’s never fun dealing with the negative aspects of managing a business but ignoring issues or problems only allows them to breed and escalate throughout your organisation and amongst your staff and produce gossip. Approaching issues and dealing with them immediately is highly recommended. Staff don’t want to be left feeling despondent or disheartened following negativity (whether it is individual, team or business related), so speak to employees about issues and focus on solutions and moving forward to restore normality and positivity.
- Create Opportunities
These days, non-remunerative benefits are just as important as the traditional salary review, if not more important! Creating opportunities within your business for staff to progress, grow, be rewarded or increase job satisfaction gives key employees no reason to seek a future outside of your organisation. Maintain staff satisfaction by introducing opportunities for promotion, to attend training courses, to take on extra responsibility, to be eligible for quarterly prizes, etc.
- Implement Company Policy
Issuing formal guidelines within which employees need to be operating sets clear and defined views of how your business is to be run, sets expectations and promotes professionalism. Employees want to be on a team that has their well being in mind and implementing company policies will protect them, as well as you! Just remember, issuing policies doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t give employees room to move.
How to Conduct a Behavioural-Based Interview
What is BBI (Behavioural-Based Interviewing)?Behavioural-based interviewing is a technique that assesses past-behaviours through a specific method of questioning, to better predict future behaviours.
Why use BBI Techniques?Traditional interviewing techniques allow candidates to respond to questions in the hypothetical; they talk about what they might do, not what they have done.
Behavioural-based interviewing techniques relate to past experiences, which makes it easier to distinguish what a candidate’s behavior will be moving forward. In addition, traditional interviewing doesn’t cover as much ground or provide as much information to use for evaluation.
BBI uses open-ended questions (eg: Tell me about a time when you have had to …) which leaves things wide open for the candidate. It is thought to be a more effective interviewing and assessing technique because the candidate is describing how they have reacted in certain situations, allowing you to hear not just what the candidate accomplished (for example), but how they went about reaching the goal as well.
The BBI is not designed to trick candidates or catch them out. Simply, they are designed to draw from candidates answers to questions that demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities. They can be a brilliant tool to identify candidates who have the behavioural traits and characteristics you have identified as necessary for the position into which you are recruiting.
How Do I Prepare for a BBI?
The BBI should be preceded by behavioural trait identification and the development of a job description for the position you are recruiting into. This will allow you to recognise what characteristics and behaviours to look for at interview stage.
Begin by designing questions that probe for the skills and knowledge you have identified as necessary for the position into which you are recruiting. These might include adaptability, accountability, perseverance, listening skills, integrity, confidence, focus, enthusiasm, etc. Ensure all questions are open-ended.
Use questions that start with “Tell me about a time when you …”, “Describe a situation in which you …” or “How have you dealt with situations where …”. Be sure to include both positive and negative questions. For example, “Tell me about a time when you have delivered outstanding customer service” or “Tell me about a time when you were not able to deliver outstanding customer service”. Having such a list ensures you ask the same questions of all candidates and are, therefore, able to make comparisons between candidates.
Seek in responses what a candidate has learned from past experiences, what they might have overlooked in trying to solve problems, how they dealt with negative experiences, what they have succeeded in and how they went about attaining that success, etc.
How Do I Conduct a BBI?
- To conduct an effective BBI, ensure you advise candidates on how they should structure their responses. If you have delivered deliberate and precise instruction around how to respond to behavioural-based questions and a candidate struggles to respond, it might tell you something about that person’s potential or ability.
- Try to relax the candidate as a comfortable candidate will deliver more information than an anxious one.
- Stick to the list of behavioural-based questions you have developed to ensure you can compare all candidates later, and take notes on each candidate’s responses.
- Probe for further detail where it is not provided. Also probe for further information if a candidate displays uncomfortable body language or attempts to evade a question.
- Ask further questions around anything you haven’t had satisfactory response to. For example, if you have not obtained enough information around a candidate’s adaptability during the interview, ask follow-up questions around this subject.
- Remember, the BBI is not an interrogation.
Examples of BBI Questions
- How would you describe yourself?
- Tell me about a situation during your career that was particularly challenging. How did you overcome the challenge?
- Describe a situation in which you weren’t able to achieve your goal. How would you do things differently if you were faced with that situation again?
- Tell me about a situation where you have had to take initiative
- How have you dealt with difficult customers in the past?
- Tell me about your biggest accomplishment
- Describe a time when you have had to confront a colleague. What was the situation? How did you resolve it?
- Tell me about a time when you have had to achieve something with limited resources. Did you achieve it? How did you resolve it?
- One of our company’s biggest challenges is ... How would you deal with this?