Expert Tactics to Retain a Happy Workforce
The Great Resignation is the universal connector of all industries right now. We're all trying to hire and keep the right workers, but sometimes it feels like such a huge task to tackle that you don't know where to start. Employee retention is naturally a topic in our industry because the cost of employee turnover, in terms of the additional recruitment efforts and training required to replace an employee, is high.
We recently hosted the great Donna Ecclestone, FASPR, Director of Provider Integration at Duke University Medical Center, for our Campfire Sessions webinar where she shared her expertise on finding and keeping great employees. Donna has 27 years of recruitment experience and is an expert in employee onboarding and retention, and the webinar was full of great information. [members can watch it here]
Donna shared these five fast facts employers should know in order to increase employee retention and foster a happier workforce get you started hiring and keeping employee:
- Retention starts at your initial contact with a potential employee. First impressions matter, and the warmth of the voice of the first person they have contact with during the recruitment process will set the tone for how they perceive your campground. Also, remember that when you’re interviewing an applicant, they’re interviewing you, too. “Then follow up with them,” she says. “It used to be that you were waiting for the candidate to follow up. Now the market is almost the opposite of that so you’ll want to follow up, as well. You want to ensure that you allow time for them to ask questions and to make sure they know the next steps.”
- Happiness at work is not always money focused. She says there is a myth that money determines happiness. Granted, people want to be paid well, but employee happiness also comes from factors such as feeling valued, having a positive work environment, having opportunities for growth and having some flexibility.
- Proactive pre-boarding and continual onboarding efforts increase retention rates. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), pre-boarding involves the activities that begin once a person has agreed to an offer of employment. The process helps develop and even cement the relationship between employee and organization, reducing the risk that an employee will change their mind and not show up on day one. It’s less about the transactions involved in starting a new job, such as filling out forms, and more about the emotional experience of joining an organization and embarking on a new work relationship.
The term onboarding refers to the processes in which new hires are integrated into the organization. Ecclestone clarified the difference between orientation and onboarding.
“Orientation is short term. It’s one to two days or a week and it’s paperwork focused. Onboarding is relationship focused. Some employers do it for three to six months, but it’s best to do a year. The goal is to have joint long-term relationships for all parties. The reason you have people that want to come back year after year is that they were onboarded well and you provided a wonderful work environment.”
Part of the onboarding process is to make sure new hires know the history, the mission, the vision, the values and the leadership of your organization so they can represent them in their interactions with your employees and your customers. Having them shadow a seasoned employee who’s willing to be a mentor is also important.
- The most critical time for new hires is the first 90 days. “Remember,” Ecclestone says, “even though they have said ‘yes’ to you, it doesn’t mean that they’re not still getting offers, that their ears aren’t still open to opportunities. You want to make sure that what you’re doing makes them feel valued and makes them say, ‘I don’t want anything else. This is the place I want to be.’”
- Incorporating retention strategies doesn’t have to be costly but having repetitive turnover is! One step Ecclestone recommends is to make sure each applicant receives an accurate job description so they’re clear on what to expect. To make new employees feel welcome and part of the team, you can also do things like giving them a mug or t-shirt with the campground’s logo, inviting them to join your Facebook group and telling them, “We’re really happy that you’re part of our team. We know you’ll fit in great.”
“I also can’t stress enough how important it is to give shout-outs to recognize employees,” she says. “It’s something I feel is really overlooked. Whether it’s a shout-out on your web page, during your team meeting or on their birthday or anniversary, it makes the employee feel good when they’re recognized. Awards and recognition are wonderful ways to show appreciation, and if those are part of your culture, make sure that new employees are aware of that.”
As Ecclestone says, “It’s hard to be new, so you want that transition to be positive and to be a relationship that fosters growth and skill development and a team environment. The investment in time will pay off. It takes a person about eight months to a year to be as polished and as knowledgeable as somebody who’s been in your organization for a while. Employees stay where they are paid well, they’re mentored, they’re challenged, they’re promoted, they’re involved and they’re valued.”