“The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.”
~ Ayn Rand ~
Client Trisha Asks: “Attrition is costing my company a fortune. We seem to have a particular problem keeping our new hires from jumping ship. Turnover in the first 90 days is the main area of concern. As the HR manager, it’s my responsibility to solve this problem before any more damage is done. Any suggestions?”
Coach Joel Answers: You’re absolutely right about the high cost of turnover. The Saratoga Institute says that losing a single employee can cost you 50% of his or her annual compensation. The numbers are even higher when you get into the executive ranks. So let’s talk about three steps you can start taking right away to turn your situation around.
• Plan for success
• Get on board
• Follow through
1. Plan for success. Your employee retention efforts need to start long before the first resumé hits your inbox. There are a number of reasons for the early turnover syndrome. By setting up a structure to avoid these stumbling blocks, you are creating an environment for success.
Employees most often leave because of a flaw in the recruiting and orientation process. On your end of things, you need to make sure the position and the company’s expectations are thoroughly explained during the hiring process. You need to screen and test carefully to be sure that both the employee’s skills and personality are right for the job. For example, if the employee is an introvert, you should not hire him for a front desk or customer service position, no matter how well he sells himself during the interview. Intensive background checks with former employers and other references may uncover poor work history or truth-stretching on the resumé.
2. Get on board. The first few days and weeks are critical to cement the relationship. Keep the schedule full with not much downtime, but it doesn’t need to be all work. Plan to take your new employee to lunch. Let her get acquainted with her co-workers and start to feel comfortable. Stay close and be available, but don’t smother. The first month or so should be fairly structured. You want to do a lot of training, but you also want to get her started working on projects. She’s probably on an emotional high about her new position, so take advantage of all that enthusiasm and let her show what she can do. Set up training and project goals for the first 90 days.
Don’t waste a lot of time getting bogged down in logistics during the first week or so. Take care of details in advance—have business cards already printed, the computer set up, phone working, ID badge ready. Make sure existing staff members know she’s arriving and are ready to make her feel at home.
3. Follow through. As the HR manager, you should have a clear structure, in writing, set up with the new employee’s manager for how to handle communication during the critical 90-day onboarding process. Start by debriefing the new employee at the end of the first day. How did things go? Any questions? What’s missing?
At the end of the first week, spend an hour or so with the whole team or department. Make it casual and semi-social with drinks, pizza, cake or whatever fits your company protocol. Let everyone have a chance to ask questions and encourage the new employee to talk about what went well and what could be changed or improved.
At 15 and 30 days, schedule a one-on-one with the new employee. Review goals that were set in the first week, chart progress, and make any mid-course corrections that are needed. Continue this process at 45, 60 and 90 days. Although formal appointments are on the calendar, make sure the employee understands that any job-critical questions or issues need to be raised immediately and that you’re always available for that purpose. Be sure you have a mentorship program set up to support the employee through the onboarding process.
Good employee retention doesn’t just happen. It takes planning and plenty of personal attention. But it’s worth it, because you’ll see your investment drop straight to the bottom line.
Are you experiencing a turnover problem? Joel has some ideas that can help you resolve this issue. Contact him today.
Talkback: Do you have a recruiting or retention idea that’s working for you? Share your experience here.
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“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~
While it’s hard to walk into a new job, sometimes the most difficult jobs to take are in-company promotions. You have the advantage, of course, of being familiar with the company and its policies. You know the work and the people. But… you need to transition from peer to boss.
In a job in a new company, you can more easily step into that leadership role, but you must get to know the people, the policies, the company and the workload. How can you step into this new management job and be successful regardless of the new circumstances?
Here are seven steps to help—whether it’s a new job or an in-house promotion.
1. Talk to your boss. You want to clearly understand your role. What does he or she expect of you in this new position? What are your added responsibilities? You might ask the boss how he has dealt with a similar transition. How did he relate to his former peers? Don’t just talk at the start of the new job. Keep in frequent contact with your boss asking for feedback on your performance on a regular basis. That way, you can make sure you don’t stray far from his or her goals without correction.
2. Remember why you were promoted. Sometimes, when we’ve been working with talented successful professionals, we wonder why we were chosen over them. There’s always a reason. Make a list of your skills and talents. Look at the projects you’ve accomplished and the value you’ve brought to the company. You are ready and capable of taking this step. Own it.
3. Read up. Your new management job may call for new skills. Certainly you will need to step up your leadership qualities. Read books on management and leadership. Schedule your time to include learning leadership skills for your new role.
4. Consider coaching or finding a mentor. When you are in a new job, you’re uncomfortable. There’s so much to learn. At times like this, an experienced voice can be invaluable. If there is someone you admire within the company, take him or her to lunch and ask for advice. Most people are generous when they know you’re interested in learning. If there are no mentors at hand, you may want to hire an experienced coach to streamline your progress.
5. Choose leadership. When you are interacting with former peers, it’s easy to slip back into old ways. Even in new situations there are times where you can to choose to be a leader or choose to minimize yourself. Be aware of those times. Be conscious of them. Then make the decision to lead.
6. Give yourself time. When you’re new to your job, you can’t expect to be perfect right away. Not any more than a young basketball player can have the same skill sets as a Michael Jordan. You can, however, practice like he practices and value what he values. As a new manager deliberately make choices to lead.
7. Adapt management attributes. Make a list of all the qualities a great manager has. Perhaps you’ll list organization, follow through, listening, authority, decisiveness, or integrity. Each day write one of these qualities in a place you’ll see it throughout the day. Make each action, decision, email or interaction deliberately considering this quality. Own the quality for the day. As you do this each day, these attributes will become yours.
Whether you are promoted from within or hired from outside, these seven steps can assure you fill that new management job successfully… and set yourself up so you can advance again.
If you have questions about your new job, contact Joel.
Talkback: What have been some of the difficulties you’ve faced in a new management job? What tips can you give others to successfully overcome new leadership challenges?
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~ Stephen R. Covey ~
Client Rebecca Asks: I’m fairly new here and my company seems to rank pretty low on the trust scale. I want to create a more open, trusting environment where my people feel free to share and grow. How can I use your executive coaching tools to work around my corporate culture without making waves?
Coach Joel Answers: Executive coaching and the work we do together can give you the tools you need create the environment you want, regardless of your company’s philosophy or operating style. So let’s talk about what trust actually looks like and the tools you can use to build it within your own team. Here are four key trust factors that I’d recommend putting at the top of your list:
- Be consistent
- Show respect
- Create transparency
- Have their back
1. Be consistent. Why is consistency important? Sometimes people associate consistency with someone who’s a plodder, boring or lacking initiative. I see it differently in the corporate environment. When you’re trying to build trust, it’s letting people know where you’re coming from, reassuring them that you’re not going to change your mind about key issues and assignments without warning. Your people will produce their best work when they know you’re giving them guidance without restricting their initiative or creativity. .
2. Show respect. A lot of managers, especially those who are relatively new on the job, are anxious to get the respect of their team. But you have to give before you get. There are many small ways you can show respect for your people. Ask their opinion about projects and work assignments. Show respect for their time. Start and end meetings on time. Keep appointments and don’t cancel at the last minute unless it’s an emergency. Respond promptly to their emails and phone calls.
3. Create transparency. In a lot of companies where the overall trust level is low, people feel left out of the process. You can start to reverse this trend by being open and honest about decisions. Open communication is a powerful tool. Don’t just tell people when a decision has been made; show them what’s behind it. Share the big picture so people know about company as well as departmental goals and objectives. Unless facts and figures are confidential, share them with your people on a regular basis. Above all, avoid having a hidden agenda.
4. Have their back. People need to know that you have their best interests at heart. Make a list of your key people and, at least once a week, ask them how things are going. Then really listen to their answers and engage in a dialog. Speak up for your people in meetings. Be their advocate. Give public credit for good ideas within your department and promote their ideas to company leaders whenever you can.
An environment without trust is an environment with poor motivation, low productivity, and high turnover. By using these four coaching tools, you can build a strong team and create a workplace where your people feel valued and challenged to do their best.
Is your workplace missing the all-important trust factor? To jump-start your own action plan, begin creating these 4 steps immediately. If you have any questions, please contact Joel.
Talkback: What have you done to build trust in your work group? What advice would you give someone whose company environment was low on the trust scale? Share your ideas here.
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“You do not lead by hitting people over the head. That’s assault, not leadership.”
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower ~
You worked hard to get that promotion, but the work is not over yet—in fact, it’s really just beginning. Now you have to prove yourself—not just to your bosses, but also to the employees who will be reporting to you. They will be looking to you for an example to follow, and if you are not able to share your vision and get them on your side quickly, you could lose the respect and trust of your team members. One way to ensure that you get off on the right foot is by listening to keynote motivational speakers and leadership coaches and implementing the things they recommend to become a strong leader. Here are a few tips to establish yourself as a strong leader in your new position.
- Seek advice from the right people.
Leaders need advice too. Everyone benefits from having someone to ask questions and bounce ideas off of. Choose your mentors carefully, and then listen to what they have to say. They can help you steer clear of potholes because they have been down that road before. Learn from their mistakes as well as their successes.
- Don’t be afraid to press forward with your vision, even when the conditions are unfavorable.
Sometimes it seems like everything is going wrong. Someone in upper management has decided that they don’t like your project, your budget is cut, and your strongest team member gets a better job offer. Don’t let these things kill your vision. Instead, use them as opportunities to come up with solutions and find better ways of doing things.
- Be passionate about what you are doing.
Enthusiasm is contagious. If you believe in yourself and are passionate about your work, your employees will get swept up in your excitement and eagerly follow your lead because they want to be a part of your vision.
- Great leaders are also great followers.
You won’t get far at all if you can’t follow the lead of those in authority over you. Being a loyal employee and a good follower will give your employees an example to emulate and make them more valuable team members.
- Don’t quit.
Great leaders never quit. This is something that keynote motivational speakers, leadership coaches, and management gurus repeat over and over again at their meetings, conventions, and seminars. Leaders don’t quit. When they run into an obstacle, they figure out a way to climb over it, walk around it, or blast it out of their way—and then they keep right on going.
Do you want more strategies to help you stand out as a strong leader at your new job? Read my latest book, Getting Ahead.