All pressured and over-extended entrepreneurs, leaders, and business professionals know one golden rule: Training new employees is an investment. It is an investment of your most precious commodities: Time and money. It takes time to train new employees to understand the inner working of your business, client relationships, and how the work is done.
Depending on the nature of the job, there is a good chance the first few paychecks will not bring you any significant return on investment because the team’s newest member is still on the learning track. This means they may not be working as efficiently and effectively as other more seasoned team members. Apart from this, there is also the admin investment: setting up their emails, creating passwords, getting them desks and computers, etc. There is also the people relationship element: introducing them to the team and giving them time to settle in and feel comfortable.
It is no surprise that it’s a devastating blow and a significant setback every time a resignation letter is handed in. This entire process needs to start again. From recruitment to training, to set up, you name it. So, why do your employees keep leaving? How can you make them stay longer and stop a revolving door of exits?
Here are the 3 mistakes I see most leaders or companies make in my experience building high-performing teams.
1. Appointing People Out of Necessity
“These appointments often cause the most discord in the office, have the most issues in their work output, have little loyalty to the company mission, and ultimately leave quickly.”
Companies rarely have a set pool of potentials to draw from in times of crisis. There is never a good time for an employee to leave, and in most circumstances, this leads to crisis management. All systems are “GO” on getting a job description drafted, getting HR to post the vacancy, making time in your schedule to conduct interviews, etc. The bad news here is that you are running on urgency and making decisions out of necessity. This means you may appoint “the best” of the limited options available and who meets the “most” of the requirements you set.
There is no time to confidently and diligently recruit the right person for the correct position. This leads to all sorts of drama down the line, and I have seen it happen many times. These appointments often cause the most discord in the office, have the most issues in their work output, have little loyalty to the company mission, and ultimately leave quickly. Of course, there are undoubtedly exceptions to this, but there is a more effective way to prepare yourself for times of crisis to ensure you not only build but maintain a high-performing team.
Building a good team starts with step one: Recruitment. It’s so important to have clear roles and responsibilities set for every employee or position in the company. Not only does this help them understand what is expected of them, you are clear on what this person should be able to do and their skill level. Have a job description for each employee on file that includes their roles, responsibilities, technical skill sets, experience, and, most critically, the soft skills you require from them. A good employee is not made of solid expertise alone. Soft skills are vital in any environment and often overlooked or not considered. Update these documents every quarter so you know exactly who does what and what is expected from each role. Make sure to have a section where you add additional skills you may want to see in this position in the future.
When you have this on file, it makes posting a vacancy much easier and much more accurate in times of crisis. When we are pressured to make a decision, we run through this process, forgetting half of the requirements for the job and, in many cases, not even knowing all the roles the resigning employee is fulfilling. Most importantly, we do not allow room for changes or additional soft skills we would like to see in this position. When you are unclear on what you want and need from the new recruit, it is unfair to your team, yourself, and the new employee.
There are so many excellent recruitment sites out there that we can rely on for a constant pool of extraordinary potential employees. Set a quarterly goal to identify a certain amount of resumes that meet the general company values, mission, purpose, and job description you already have on file and which you are constantly updating. Save this in folders for future use, and ensure you have an excellent pool of candidates to draw from when the crisis resignation inevitably hits your table.
2. Appointing People Based on Academic/Experience Criteria
Of course, it’s essential to appoint someone knowledgeable about the job you are selecting them for. If this particular job requires an academic or other qualification like a law or accounting degree, it must be part of the criteria. However, I see many leaders and companies getting stuck on the “technical criteria” of the job. They want someone who can walk in and immediately do the job or be able to settle into the responsibilities of the position as soon as possible. Again, this comes back to appointing out of necessity, and you can see how the vicious circle starts churning here.
No matter your appointment, one thing stays true: There will always be a learning curve and a transition period. You cannot escape this, but you can choose how to utilize this to your benefit. If you are investing time in training and settling in the new employee in any way, why not appoint someone with the most future potential? Yes, this means maybe overlooking the most qualified at the moment and instead putting more weight on other qualities. How eager is the candidate to learn? How invested do they seem in your company’s mission and purpose? What do they want to be able to master in the next year? Why are they here, interviewing for a job with you? You will often find that those with less experience and technical skills are hungry to better themselves, grow and achieve. Think back to when you were ready and eager, checked all the boxes, but lacked the experience listed on the job ad. You’re willing and motivated but can’t catch a break because you need the experience to qualify…the ultimate conundrum! Suppose you combine this appointment philosophy with a good company atmosphere. In that case, it sets you up for a loyal, motivated employee who will deliver impressive work in the near future.
You must also consider that technical skills and qualifications do not necessarily make a good team member. If high-performing teams are your goal, this is an essential consideration. You may have a candidate that meets all the experience and qualification boxes. Still, they have horrible people skills, show no interest in learning, or have other qualities that do not fit the personality or vibe of your team or company. This is bound to cause issues down the line, and there is a good chance this person will leave as soon as the next best offer comes along.
3. A “Casual” Leadership Style
“There are many ways to set good company vibes without bending over backward, throwing all policies out the window, or letting everyone walk over you.”
I am not suggesting you have to be one of those bosses who are like mythical creatures: Rarely seen, always in their office behind a closed door, and only talks to employees by appointment. However, there must be standards and rules in every office space. Building and maintaining a good company culture goes a long way to retaining employees. The shocker here is: Not everything is about money! I say this many times, and I will repeat it: Employees spend most of their waking life in your office; they want this time to be pleasant. If you are unhappy at work, there is a good chance this unhappiness will flow into other areas of your life. When a better opportunity arises that promises more positivity and contentedness, even with less money, they may jump at it.
There are many ways to set good company vibes without bending over backward, throwing all policies out the window, or letting everyone walk over you. However, it is not a one-size fits. Companies are as unique as people. Each has its own mission, values, purpose, goals, culture, etc. Setting up and maintaining a good culture depends on your company’s personality. However, in broad terms, here are a few tips to get started:
- Show respect for your employees; after all, respect is earned.
- Teach. We all do best when we can grow, learn and evolve. Barking out instructions without rhyme or reason will not get you anywhere in the long run.
- Make the tough decisions. Keep the team vibe glowing by addressing discord in the teams, decisively dealing with team members, constantly bringing down morale, and sticking up for your employees and team members when needed.
Employees are ultimately investments. Taking as much care and time with appointment new people as you would with other financial assets is one of the wisest choices you can make for your company. Investing time in a bit of preparation and the maintenance of the initial setup will change the landscape of your team and ensure the best people are doing the good work for you.
How do you retain employees?
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Love and light