Exploring the Landscape of Employee Engagement and Retention

Exploring the Landscape of Employee Engagement and Retention

The training of employees doesn’t just begin once they’ve established themselves at an organization. It can — and should — be something that is implemented from the very beginning of their career in order to make sure that they are clear of their role, company culture and job expectations. Without a comprehensive onboarding program, an employee may feel like they do not fit in at work and potentially, may leave.  If this occurs frequently enough, it could negatively impact retention rates.

The Problems With Retention

I recently came across some startling facts in an excellent paper “Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success” by the SHRM Foundation.  In this paper the author, Talya N. Bauer, delivering some sobering facts about recruiting talent.

  • Half of all senior outside hires fail within 18 months of a new position ~ Topgrading: How leading companies win by hiring, coaching, and keeping the best people.

  • Half of all hourly workers leave new jobs within the first 120 days ~ Onboarding the hourly workforce, Krauss, A.D.

In the oil & gas industry, employee retention is a particular challenge because of the transient nature of the workforce, who have the tendency to leave an organization if they fail to see the benefit of staying. A report from the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada confirms this fact by observing that employee turnover is one of their most serious challenges. Furthermore, the issue of turnover even trumps the matter of attracting talent.

The immediate question that comes to mind is simply, “Why?”

The answer to this is, that without a clarity of expectations and organizational culture an employee is often left without a clear idea of their role and may leave before they have an opportunity to reach their full potential. Without an onboarding program or a performance process, an organization could lose some of its best talent to the competition.

A successful onboarding process begins with “The Four C’s”.

  1. Compliance

    Compliance teaches new employees the specific policies and regulations within the organization.

  2. Clarification

    Clarification sets the expectations of an employee in the organization.

  3. Culture

    Culture describes the way a company’s owners and employees think, act, and feel.

  4. Connection

    Connection informs the interpersonal relationship and networks an employee will need in order to be successful.

Expediting The Onboarding Process Within Your Organization

The degree in which organization’s implement onboarding can vary.  However, the success of onboarding new employees is directly tied to not only their performance but an organization’s performance at large.  As a result a proactive approach is needed to maximize success.

Today’s organizations use online training in a variety of different aspects.  From training employees in the field about new equipment, to in-office training on aspects of leadership and interpersonal skills, online training fills the gaps that traditional instructor-led training can leave wanting.

With this in mind, it can be seen that an onboarding program can benefit with the employment of online training.  In order to do so, it needs to be able to be designed to do the following, which touch on the Four C’s discussed earlier. It needs to:

  • Use milestones at defined intervals (30, 60, 90, 120 days) to track post-organizational entry

  • Be clear of the Four C’s of onboarding

  • Monitor progress over time

An onboarding program that is implemented with online training isn’t simply a single course that covers company policies and procedures. It’s a comprehensive program that tracks how well an employee progresses from their moment of hire. Consequently, follow up systems and progress checks are equally important to the onboarding process.

Training management software has the ability to keep track of how well an employee progresses during each course that they take. The data captured will help to indicate any deficiencies in learning and/or performance.  If performance is found to be lacking, it can then be promptly addressed and acted upon to remedy the issue.  Subsequent training can be delivered at defined milestones in time, with reminders from the training management software.

An important part of the onboarding process is the support required if the employee has any questions.  There will always be questions, or at least there should be. A support mechanism needs to be in place to handle those questions, so that an employee will feel confident in their role. However, support should never be passive, as employees may feel apprehensive about asking for assistance from anyone, as they may think that such actions will reflect poorly upon themselves. This can become harmful to both the employee and the company and is the reason why any onboarding process, regardless of the use of online and offline components, needs to be proactive.

With the competition attracting your talent, you need an onboarding process that helps to distinguish your organization from it’s competitors and can demonstrate to new employees the advantages of long term employment.  In order to stem the tide of employees leaving to chase an extra dollar, they need to understand how sticking around your company for the long haul can benefit them.  A comprehensive onboarding process augmented by custom online training can assist in achieving that goal.

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