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Managing Employee Retention with On-Boarding and Training

How Assessment Results Boost Retention and Increase Performance

Managing employee retention is one of the biggest challenges many companies face.  With so many employee retention strategies out there, it is often difficult to determine which one will work for you, your company and more importantly, your employee.  The good news is, improving employee retention doesn’t have to bee as hard as you might think, but it must be something that is a concern from day one, not when you start to feel an employee slipping away.

When you consider the employment cycle from beginning to end, it is apparent that training and on-boarding is the most crucial aspect of retention.  A company can hire the best candidate who is destined for success, but it is up to the employer to give them the training, attention and motivation it takes to build a dedicated superior performer.  Without it, the employee is not likely to build a strong connection with their new employer and will quickly feel under-appreciated, unimportant and simply lost in the shadows of the organization.

A lot of effort should go into creating the appropriate material for a new hire and the manager should schedule enough time to properly facilitate the on-boarding process.  Too often, an employee shows up for the first day to an empty desk, gets a tour of the office, meets their co-workers and is back at their empty desk with a handbook to read.  Meanwhile, their manager is tending to daily responsibilities and tied up in meetings, checking in with the new employee just before the drive home.  A more successful approach would be to present the new employee with training materials that provide everything he or she needs to know in order to understand exactly what is expected for success on the job, in addition to educational material and corporate policy guidelines.

Great training material and a dedicated amount of time is a great start to managing employee retention, but to truly make the on-boarding experience effective, refer to the methods you used to select the candidate in the first place.  Typically, an assessment component is used that measures the individual’s personal skills and work style in the same way that it measures the job’s demands and work environment.  If not, consider conducting a complete job and talent assessment program that will give you a true understanding of both the job and the individual and contribute to the success of your training and on-boarding efforts.

First, a job benchmark should be completed because it compels the company to focus on the job and allows for an unbiased process that lets the job talk.  This process should establish key accountabilities which provide a detailed job description and outline what is expected for superior performance.  Once you truly know the job, you can complete a job assessment to determine the skills it requires and the work environment it provides.  With this information, your recruiting efforts will be more effective and you will know exactly what you are looking for in the ideal candidate.  More importantly, the job benchmarking process will give you concrete information that you can use in your training and on-boarding process, including the key responsibilities of the job, the behaviors and skills that will lead to superior performance, and how the job naturally motivates an employee.  Sharing this information with the new employee will ensure that they know exactly what they are responsible for and understand the characteristics that lead to superior performance.

Next, implement an assessment that measures the new employee’s personal characteristics and skills.  If the manager already knows how to communicate with them, what motivates them and what skills they have and need to develop, the training and on-boarding process will be much more efficient and your new employee will hit the ground running.  Be sure to incorporate the information revealed in the assessment results right into the on-boarding process.  Not only will it benefit the manager, but this information also helps the new employee understand themselves and leverage their strengths while being aware of their weaknesses.

Finally, the job and talent assessment together provide a great way to compare the new hire to the job.  This comparison will allow you to manage employee retention with a training and development program that focuses on key gaps and leverages areas that show promise for success.  Including this component in the on-boarding process will ensure that the manager is developing the new employee in areas that are required by the job and not areas that will hinder performance.

The assessments used in the job benchmark and selection process are crucial components to a successful training and on-boarding program that manages employee retention.  The assessment results will provide turn-key development material that help the new employee not only understand and appreciate the characteristics they bring to the job, but also understand how their characteristics compare to the job’s requirements in the same key areas.  However, not all assessments are alike and there are many factors you should consider in choosing the assessment that fits your needs.  A reliable assessment tool that is designed for use in selection should:

  • Have strong validity and proven success for its use in selection.
  • Measure various aspects of an individual, such as behaviors, motivators, personal skills and task preference.
  • Provide a direct comparison between the individual and the job in the same key areas.
  • Include a specific job benchmark process that is used to create key accountabilities and is designed to eliminate bias and let the job talk.
  • Be quick, convenient and easily administered.
  • Provide results that can be used as development material and helps the individual understand his or her qualities and how they compare to the job’s demands.
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