There are many factors to consider when hiring a new employee. There are the obvious defined duties, responsibilities and tasks that will be required for the new employee to fulfill. Additionally, there are many non-essential qualifications that an employer may ask for that can be an asset to the role. These contribute to a person’s “fit” within the team and organization. New employees can come from a variety of backgrounds with varying experience, so it is important for an employer to meet new hires with appropriate expectations and meeting new hires “where they are.”
Guest Blogger: Jen McKenzie, Business Freelancer
Bringing in strong employees is only the first step to making your business thrive. You also have to keep those employees happy within your company. Great employees leave all the time, and it’s not always due to pay or benefits. Interested in learning more about employee retention? Read these five tips to avoid employee turnover.
Why Worry About Employee Turnover?
According to Glass Door, employers report that it can take up to 52 days to fill an open position. That’s almost 2 months where other employees are having to pick up the slack for the missing worker. It’s time that your business isn’t operating at peak efficiency, and you’re likely spending time advertising and interviewing candidates.
Increase Employee Retention
There are certain things you can do to increase employee retention and almost none of them have to do with providing more money for employees. The most common strategies provide a competitive benefits package like a savings plan for retirement or a great health insurance plan. High employee turnover is a hit to the morale for the entire company, and it should be avoided at all costs.
The flexibility an organization and position provides is often directly related to a positive workplace atmosphere and employee satisfaction. My professional career has included work for several different organizations, while I also had experiences with internships and high school/college jobs. I’ve experienced stark contrasts, from a strictly scheduled business to a very flexible workplace.
At one job the door locked at 8 am, so you’d better get there early, and a buzzer signaled the beginning and end of each break time (no this wasn’t a factory, it was an office). One where you were required to use all your PTO for maternity leave, with no way to accrue more until the next year. Or another where you had to use vacation time when there was a death in the family as they hadn’t developed a bereavement policy.
On the other end of the spectrum, one employer encouraging you to volunteer with community organizations during work time. Another where you could come in ahead of the start time in order to leave early to attend a personal event. One offering the flexibility to work in a professional capacity part-time to balance the needs of a young, growing family. Without hesitation, I can tell you I’ve been the happiest when and where I had the most flexible workplace. You may wonder if this is just a personal story, but there is research to back up the power of workplace flexibility.
Managing remote employees is much more prevalent these days. In fact, regular work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 103% since 2005 (GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com). You can find a lot of data, webinars, and articles circulating around the pros and cons of being a telecommuter and the impact for companies that provide telecommuting options. Achieving the right balance of engagement is a tall order, and there are personalities that are a solid fit for being home-based, while others are not. I personally feel that managing remote employees is one of the hardest parts of my job, and I am continually trying to find ways to enhance the level of connectedness. Here are just a few tips that may help if you are headed on the journey of managing remote employees.
1. Utilize Technology.
Skype video is a great tool to help give communications with your telecommuter a more personal feel. It gives you a chance to still get “face to face” as you interact with them. I like to connect in this manner once a week at a minimum. Instant messenger can help telecommuters feel more connected to their teammates as well. It is the equivalent of stopping by someone’s office to ask a question.
Despite decades of progress towards worker rights and protections, discrimination continues to be an issue in many workplaces across the country. To deal with discrimination in the workplace, we first need to understand what it means, who it affects, and what can be done about it.
Typically, in the United States, discrimination in the workplace refers to actions and decisions that negatively affect individuals or groups of people for reasons such as race, sex, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability (physical or mental, including HIV status), age (for workers over 40), military service or affiliation, bankruptcy or bad debts, genetic information, and citizenship status (for citizens, permanent residents, temporary residents, refugees, and asylees).
If you have not been involved in a corporate merger or acquisition, current economic conditions and trends indicate that the chances of you experiencing one is increasing. When a company chooses to merge with or acquire another company to boost financial performance or ensure long-term growth, the role of the Human Resources professional is vital and identified as one of the strongest influences in the ultimate outcome of the process. According to Harvard Business Review, an estimated 70-90% of all mergers and acquisitions fail to achieve their anticipated strategic and financial objectives. “This rate of failure is often attributed to various HR-related factors, such as incompatible cultures, management styles, poor motivation, loss of key talent, lack of communication, diminished trust and uncertainty of long-term goals. “ (Source)
While executives access in fine detail the financial and business aspects of a potential merger or acquisition, the synergies and challenges that will exist on the people side of the business are often examined at a higher level. HR professionals are uniquely challenged in working out the details to ensure the business transaction’s success.
Taking into account the unique set of challenges that mergers and acquisitions bring, there are three key areas in which HR leaders must execute to help ensure a successful transition:
Let’s face it – hiring a new team member can be an exhausting process. Spending time sorting through candidates to identify real talent vs “half-hearted” talent is a tough process. Many have been in the situation when we have had to “settle” on a slightly-less-than-desired candidate due to time pressures or lack of solid candidates. So there is never a guarantee that you will not end up getting burned after hiring a new employee.
As leaders we should always make it a priority to keep quality talent along the journey. But sometimes, for various reasons, good employees quit and if you are not paying attention these situations can surprise you and can leave you in a pinch. If you are aware of a few warning signs, you can spot the employees that are considering a departure before they have made up their minds.
You may also want to check out an upcoming AgCareers.com workshop centered on Leadership Enhancement in order to distinguish how to keep good employees around.
Employees have personal lives too and leaders should never forget that fact. If something happens in one aspect of their lives, chances are that it’s going to affect another aspect of their life. For example, if an employee is going through a nasty divorce, lost a loved one recently, or is suffering from a health issue, these events will often cause one to rethink priorities which could result in evaluating career options. Usually effective leaders can spot this change within employees on a real personal level with their staff. Asking them how they are doing and showing genuine empathy with them in times of need will go a long way!
Sexism in the workplace is a complicated topic that can be very difficult for both men and women to deal with. Effective methods of coping and reacting depend very much on the situation and the individuals involved. But most importantly, people should understand that no one should have to deal with harassment or sexism in the workplace. In any situation, if a person feels threatened or harassed, they should go to management or their human resources department immediately.
While overt sexual harassment is a very real problem, many people have to deal with more indirect forms of discrimination which can be difficult to navigate. Specifically, many women are expected to tolerate sexist jokes, pet names, comments about appearances and expectations that they take on a disproportionate share of office domestic work and tasks. What can women or men do in these situations? Ideally, we would want people to call out sexist behaviour publicly, but many times, that approach can result in a backlash against the complainant from coworkers and supervisors.
Hopefully, your interns are getting into the swing of things, learning and exploring the industry. But how are they doing? We’ve all hear that this generation desires constant feedback. Interns continue to tell us they want to hear from employers regularly, sharing positive feedback and constructive criticism. “Let me know how I’m doing!”
We know from our internship research that almost 75% of agricultural companies formally review their interns. Likewise, interns say one of the ways to improve an internship program is by giving performance reviews!
• Is the team or individual reasonably happy and motivated? If not, some issues may need attention before attempting to invest and reward employees.
• Assuming the team or individual is happy and motivated, as leaders, we should seek ways to “light fires within people.” Along this path, leaders need to explore ways to continuously invest in and reward talent for retention purposes.
• Notice the image above. The red fire suggests leading by fear or threats, while the blue fire suggests a more inspiring approach – of which I prefer. Don’t get me wrong, there are occasions where certain people need “a fire lit under them.”