Good employers recognize the importance of attracting the best talent – and keeping these good people. They understand that the costs of poor recruitment and retention are heavy. Therefore many organizations take an enlightened approach to their new employees. One of the keys is to communicate well with new arrivals. PR can work closely with HR to make new arrivals feel welcome.
Some organizations establish a formal process of ‘re-recruiting’ new employees to accelerate their performance and minimize the costly problem of premature resignations.
Typical newly-recruited, mid-level staff can require six months to reach the point at which they stop costing their employer money and start earning their keep. US figures show that average employee turnover is around 20% per year, so anything that can be done to reduce this figure will save thousands.
Contribute to a re-recruitment program for new employees at milestone dates
You can make a positive impact by recommending a re-recruitment campaign and participating in the communication elements of it. The re-recruitment campaign can take place at 30, 60 and 90-days after new arrivals start.
At 30 days, an HR person meets with new employees to see if their expectations are being met and to check whether they have all the support they need to perform their work. The 30-day period gives the employee long enough to learn about the job and its context, which can produce some unexpected issues on both sides that are better addressed.
At the 60-day point, new employees receive a second orientation to boost their communication and service skills, and the employer seeks feedback about the employees’ training and anything else they feel they may need to be successful. PR people can establish a communication coaching program to ensure the newcomer has the skills to communicate well in the workplace.
At 90 days, employees have a formal review with their manager, which focuses mainly on joint goal-setting for the balance of their first year on the job. In the US health-care sector, more than 25% of employees leave within the first 90 days.
Key questions to ask during re-recruitment
All this may seem labor-intensive, requiring a lot of time to implement. But experience has shown that a re-recruiting program is likely to cause departures to drop by two-thirds, an impressive reduction. The key questions to ask the new people include:
- How do we compare with what we said in your interview process?
- What’s working well?
- Who has been helpful to you…and who hasn’t?
- Using your past experience as a guide, what systems or ideas do you feel could improve our operations?
- Is there anything you are experiencing that would cause you to think about leaving?
Create connections for new employees
Some employers also find a good way to bring new employees up to speed quickly is to get experienced employees to share their secrets of success with the organization. These employees need to be successful and to have worked there for 2-3 years, which is long enough to know the ropes and short enough to remember what it was like to be new. These employees are interviewed and their answers recorded on video, which is supplied to each new employee on arrival. A typical interview question is “What do you wish you had known about this place before you started?” Again, this has several communication elements.
Some successful employers try to connect the new arrivals with key people in the organization. The manager lists about 10 contacts for the newcomer to make themselves known to early on because they will be important to their job.
Other organizations conduct a 90-day integration program for new recruits by supplying them with an orientation ‘passport’. The passport consists of about 100 task statements (it could be fewer) that the new arrival must complete within their first 90 days on the job. The new starters must network through the organization to acquire the information to enter in their passport. Every task has to be signed off by a mentor who is assigned to them for that particular task. In this way the recruit’s learning period is spread over three months rather than in a few formal orientation briefings, and the recruit gains access to a wide cross-section of the organization and its staff. The process creates social contacts as well, which are important for a new arrival. The recruit receives a reward when they return the completed passport to HR at the end of 90 days.
Build in feedback loops to managers
Feedback loops to their manager or supervisor are built into the process so their boss can keep track of their progress. The process also helps to reduce any inconsistencies of input from their managers, especially in organizations with decentralized operations spread over several locations or even several countries.
Think about the elements of the above activities that you could apply or recommend in your workplace for a more productive result.
Kim J. Harrison has authored, edited, coordinated, produced and published the material in the articles and ebooks on this website. He brings his experience in professional communication and business management to provide helpful insights to readers around the world. As he has progressed through his wide-ranging career, his roles have included corporate affairs management; PR consulting; authoring many articles, books and ebooks; running a university PR course; and business management. Kim has received several international media relations awards and a website award. He has been quoted in The New York Times and various other news media, and has held elected positions with his State and National PR Institutes.