Monday September 26, 2011
by Jacqui Hinds, Learning and Development Support
The days when people held one job for their entire working life are long gone. Today, the average person changes job ten to fifteen times; with an average of 11 total changes (Bureau of Labour Statistics, USA). Even in this unsettled economic environment, redundancies are up by 32,000 and vacancies down by 22,000 month on month, people who are in employment are still prepared to look and try somewhere new.
I’d imagine people would be digging in, and holding onto whatever job they currently have. However, that is not the case… People are just as likely to leave secure employment in hard times as in good. In fact, the recession has made people incredibly skittish – they’ve faced job uncertainty coupled with reduced pay and an erosion of benefits. As a result, job-placement firm, Manpower, found a 60% increase in employed people looking for a new position.
In the same survey, alarmingly, 84% of employed people are looking for alternative roles right now. What is most worrying, however, is almost a third of these have been in their current position for less than three months.
The first three months of an employee’s new role are the most critical. It’s in this period the joiner makes one of three decisions:
- I’ve got a part to play in this company’s story – I’m staying!
- Errrm doesn’t quite do exactly what it says on the tin… I’ll give it a year
- Oooops! I’m not a celebrity but… GET ME OUTTA HERE!
To retain talented individuals, you have to make the right impression in this period; ensuring your new ‘star’ sees a future, they are engaged from the word go and they decide to stay with you for the long term. The way you induct, and even pre-induct, an individual plays a huge part in this decision.
Being new is a massive adjustment – a new way of working, new culture, new values and everything your colleagues take for granted is a post-it note to yourself… There is a definite period of eggshell walking. No-one really knows what you are capable of so time is spent having processes explained to you. And as much time is spent again trying to figure out your new colleagues – remembering names, how they like to work, what their characteristics are, personalities etc... (This can be sped up with the use of psychometric tests – that’s for another time!)
Starting afresh and not knowing everything doesn’t need to be scary. In fact newness should be viewed as an asset; something which learnpurple strongly believe in. In Jane Sunley’s book, Purple your People, she states: “new employees take in everything around them and are a fresh set of eyes in your organisation”. New starters can see things which others may not, review processes and make recommendations. Through their feedback you could stumble across ideas that may significantly improve the organisation and impact positively upon the bottom line.
Another large part of ‘removing the fear’ is an organisation’s approach to induction. My experience at learnpurple was like none I’d been through before; there was as much, if not more, focus on people and culture as there was on the corporate strategy, paperwork and legals. They had simple but innovative plans that helped me understand what the company does. For example, I’ve never worked for someone who sends you to spend a day with a key client as part of your induction before; yet what a brilliant idea! Business is all about relationships and what better way to immerse an individual in the actual results of what your organisation produces than to see it in action.
For someone suffering from fear of ‘new girl syndrome’, I have to admit that learnpurple has been, if not the cure, certainly good medicine.
Are you a great place to work for new people? How do you ensure you new recruits choose to stay?