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Raising the Stakes in the Workplace

I had the pleasure of working on a project this week that opened my eyes to something very meaningful. In fact, I learned something that I believe could make a huge difference in workplace turnover and productivity. It is not a new concept, but one that has been overlooked for far too long.

The project involved putting together email letters that were being sent to new employees at 3, 6 and 9 month intervals. The emails were targeted towards different level employees with a focus on making them feel welcome and comfortable in their new positions and to find out how they were doing. These were by no means typical or standard follow-up emails, but were genuine, personal messages to find out how employees were progressing in their positions.

Behind the concept was the premise that most new employees are just dumped into a position and left to their own devices as they figure things out for themselves. However, a smart company understands that although growing a business and making money is important, building upon stable, satisfied employees is the key to future success.

In this particular case, the human resource professional had tremendous insight into turnover and productivity and was sincerely reaching out to know how things were going for the new employees. It was clear that the HR person was willing to hear what these employees really felt and so each email included pointed questions, which allowed the employee to provide truthful feedback.

I spoke about the idea with a few people and their comments were eye-opening. In fact, the feedback I received from employees and employers alike spoke volumes as everyone thought the idea should be implemented in every workplace situation. Most said that whether a smaller or larger company, people need to know they matter and that their presence is of value. One person I spoke with told me that he had always wished he had the opportunity to explain how he felt on the first day of a new job. He remembered feeling less than valuable and wished that someone had made him feel like he was truly wanted. He could tell by the lack of interest by other team members and the company itself that he wasn’t going to enjoy the experience based on his initial entry into the job. Guess what? He didn’t enjoy it and in only a few short months, he gave his notice.

It is in fact costly and unproductive to go through the onboard experience, yet show little interest in a new employee’s progression. It’s simply a waste of time and money when employers put their heads in the sand by not bothering to hear what their employees think at different stages of the position. I was sincerely struck by the idea of reaching out to employees in such a valuable and caring way and I was delighted to see that the human resource person had such deep insight into the process. She was aware that in today’s market, not only is it difficult for someone to begin a new job, it is also expensive for the company. The truth is, when an employer shows interest in what’s happening, it makes a world of difference to workplace turnover and productivity.

Of course, there are going to be times, when an employee might be afraid to tell the truth for fear of losing the job or there may be intense criticism offered, which could be hard on the employer. But, in truth, if employers would be willing to accept feedback and to hear what employees have to say about their experience at different stages of the work situation, there would probably be far less turnover at many companies and a lot more positive outcomes.

Copyright July 2017

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