MTC Turf News – Neal Glatt, CSP, ASM
Work can be so hard sometimes. I don’t have to tell you this as nearly every organization is short staffed and desperate for labor to help. But as hard as work can be, it’s got to be even tougher for new hires when impatient customers and nearly impossible deadlines overwhelm even experienced employees. Maybe that’s why they’re quitting so quickly. As managers, we need to make it easier for them.
In fact, before we talk about how to boost retention by creating a better new employee experience, let’s think about all the people who haven’t even applied to our job postings. In a world of job descriptions that are often too long, too boring, and too confusing, we need to rewrite descriptions that introduce our organization’s mission and inspire people to help the team. We need to talk about what’s in store for them beyond pay and benefits that every job offers and focus on the career development and purpose that is unique to each organization. And we need to post our story in a clear, concise, and inviting manner.
One of my colleagues also believes that most organizations make it far too difficult for prospective employees to apply for work. He strives to make it as easy to apply for a job as to order a pizza from Domino’s (if you don’t know you can order in at least 15 different ways: from a voice command on Alexa to posting a pizza emoji on social media). By streamlining applications to the essentials and allowing job seekers to text-to-apply, you can engage people faster and provide a more convenient application process. I like this idea so much that I don’t even have a job application anymore. And we all know most people under 30-years-old hate talking on the phone, so why do hiring managers continue to make job seekers uncomfortable with a phone call to start the process?
When we do manage to hire a candidate, the experience needs to be a smooth ramp up rather than a swift jump into the fray. I believe that leaders need to focus first on building a relationship with their people before they can lead a team toward real production. Without a foundation of trust and opportunities to learn the positional and cultural expectations, success is impossible, and burnout is likely. But how long will it take to build these relationships and integrate someone new into a team?
After considering and testing the time requirement for many years, I believe it takes a full year to expect someone to be working successfully. This doesn’t mean they don’t complete tasks and add value in their first year of employment, but rather that managers need to be intentionally investing in their development at the base level of job performance for a full year to help them stay engaged. A large part of this effort is protecting first year employees from overbearing expectations.
When I propose my one-year theory to most managers, it isn’t met with enthusiasm and excitement. I empathize with their frustration and have worked hard to disprove this idea by onboarding people faster for years. Yet every time I accelerate the expectations it fails, and I find myself trying to rehire for a position (costing a fortune in recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding time and costs). So, I’ve given up attempts to fast track new employees.
The good news is that I have found incredible success in a patient approach of weekly coaching and development. In fact, people produce at basic tasks more reliably than ever and while it takes a year for them to reach their potential, I think that their potential grows immensely during that time. By committing my time and patience to my people, both production and retention skyrocket.
It’s time for managers to change their approach for success. If you want help implementing a better application process or would like to discuss how to better coach your people through onboarding and beyond, I’d be happy to help. Just send me a note at Neal@GrowTheBench.com. When you change your approach, you’ll be amazed at how the outcomes change too.
Neal Glatt is the Managing Partner of GrowTheBench, an online training platform for the green industry. Learn more about him and his solutions at www.NealGlatt.com.READ THE ISSUE