Making Hiring “Sticky”
When Constant Change is altering the technology and business landscape, companies must retain those employees who have proven they can navigate that environment. Corporate cultures that embrace collaboration, teamwork, and professionalism engage and retain employees.
Human Resources (HR) has a variety of tools for measuring employee engagement. For a start, the Glassdoor job and recruiting website and similar services have company pages that show how current and former employees feel about their employers. Surveying employees about benefits, new initiatives, and preferences can help understanding group opinion. Surveying, though, doesn’t get to the specifics for each employee. With Exit Surveys, organizations gain insight into the work environment and why a terminating employee “took the call.” In a hot job market, that’s all it takes. Good people always have options and only need to nibble at an inquiry to receive a compelling sell from a recruiter.
Exit meetings give solid feedback, but it’s too late to change the exiting employee’s mind. At CVP, HR conducts New Hire Touch Calls where an HR leader meets individually, in person or by phone, with all new employees after they have been with the firm for a few months. This New Hire process helps understand if there are issues after people join. The first six months is the riskiest phase of employment from an attrition perspective. Everything is new, and there is a natural reconciliation of the employee’s role and the firm as advertised versus reality. CVP applies this New Hire Touch Call process, using the similar questions, in a Project Pulse where all team members are individually interviewed. The Project Pulse tests engagement and morale within a team.
HR conducts most engagement assessments. What’s missing?
The biggest influence on an employee’s tenure is the direct manager who communicates job expectations and makes the best use of an employee’s skills and aptitudes. Managers ensure the team has what they need to do the job and assignments are challenging. They set the tone for company culture by maintaining a respectful, collaborative workplace where opinions are valued.
From the employee’s viewpoint, the direct manager represents the company and its culture. At CVP, managers conduct Stay Interviews with all employees. A Stay Interview is a conversation between a leader and an employee to learn specific actions the leader must take to strengthen that employee’s engagement and retention with the company. The focus is on the employee. CVP conducts Stay Interviews annually, starting with the CEO and cascading through the organization. A manager doesn’t start conducting Stay Interviews with his staff until the manager has had his or her own interview.
Most important, every CVP employee gets a Stay Interview. Other organizations may use Stay Interviews for high-potential employees or have HR personnel conduct them. CVP trains its managers to conduct Stay Interviews. All employees are asked the same eight questions. From that chat, managers gather information they can use today to improve engagement and retention for each employee. The manager passes on to HR any information that might improve corporate culture. CVP managers have shared how useful the information they gained is. Often, simple changes can make a big difference for an employee and the team.
This approach to employee engagement comes straight out of our ADAPT C3 playbook: assess readiness, identify blockers, and determine capacity for change. It feeds into our roadmap for capacity building, mentoring, coaching, and communication. Only by identifying the strengths that contribute to resilience and resourcefulness in the face of change and by filling the gaps to reduce organizational turbulence will a company make the most of its human capital and set a course forward.