The 1st Week – Getting off to a good start

by: Ian K. McEwen

In this series of articles, we have talked about: promoting your business to prospective employees; establishing a proper and meaningful job description; conducting effective interviews; and checking references. Now that you have made the hiring decision, what do you do to retain employee loyalty? It starts with making a proper, meaningful and memorable introduction of a new hire to your business.

During the first week or for that matter, the first six months of employment, both you and your new employee are evaluating each other. Each of you wants to get off to a good start to solidify a long-term relationship. Studies have shown that new employees who participate in a well structured orientation program are 70% more likely to remain with their employers for 3 years or more. Here are a number of key steps for consideration.

  • Have the supervisor communicate with the new hire and confirm where and when they should report on the 1st day. Communicate with your staff and make an announcement prior to the new hire arriving for work. It is often a good idea to print up an official announcement and distribute it to the entire staff.
  • A good orientation plan for the new employee includes a warm introduction to the department colleagues and then the rest of your staff. Talk about how each member of your organizations contributes to the success of your business. Employees like receiving accolades.
  • Make sure the new hire understands what is expected of him/her as outlined in the job description. The supervisor needs to review each responsibility to determine if there needs to be further clarity. Make suggestions about how the responsibilities should be prioritized, especially what should be accomplished in the 1st week. Don’t forget that the job duties and responsibilities will form the basis for the probationary period performance evaluation.
  • The hiring manager needs to know the probationary period of each new employee. It is the manager’s responsibility to carefully monitor the performance of the new hire and address concerns in a timely manner.
  • Explain the performance reports used in the business – number of calls, number of ups, number of demonstrations, number of orders written, the closing ratios, etc.
  • Explain compensation models – when they happen, the decision process, and how the employee can influence the outcome.
  • Is the work station prepared in advance? There is nothing more demoralizing for a new hire that shows up on the 1st day of the job only to find there no place to sit and conduct business, no business cards, no supplies, no internet connection (email address) or telephone. Does your new sales associate have access to service customer lists or lease renewals?
  • Have as much of the official employment paperwork completed in advance including benefit enrollment forms, personal contact information, and bank deposit details.
  • Plan a tour of the facility/business identifying specific areas such as washrooms, location of photo copier, fax machines and supplies. Your new employee needs to know your short and long-term goals. Your business is not just about selling vehicles, parts and service. It should also be about customer acquisition, customer satisfaction and customer retention. Employee loyalty and customer loyalty go hand-in-hand. All the jobs in your organization are intra-dependant. You need to show the new hire how his/her job affects the other departments and the organization overall.
  • Review your company’s policies and procedures which should be printed in the handbook.
  • If the position requires some training, outline the specifics (computer systems, sales documentation, sales processes, and timeframe etc.) and identify the trainer/manager who will conduct the training.
  • Develop strong two-way communication. In addition to the annual performance appraisal, ask the new hire how he/she would like to receive ongoing feedback. As a manager, do you give your employees timely, constructive feedback when necessary? Do you give your direct reports timely, positive feedback on their accomplishments?
  • Some organizations assign a “buddy” to each new employee, to get assistance and information when the supervisor is not available.

People do get attracted away from your business if your compensation and benefits are not competitive. But, starting your new employees off with a solid foundation will prove worthwhile by thoroughly integrating them into your entire organization. You have spent time and money finding the right person, your investment shouldn’t stop there. Start building employee loyalty Day 1 with a well designed orientation program.

Call us about your career placement or recruiting needs:
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