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Thoughts From Our Director

Create a Sense of Belonging and Significance for Employees

Parenting expert and founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, Amy McCready, says that children want a feeling of belonging and significance. The same is true for our employees. They want to fit in and feel like they are making a contribution.  Business owners have a responsibility to create such a work environment.  Why?

Because it pays dividends.

A growing body of research is confirming the need to feel connected to other people is as important to our survival as is air, water and shelter.  When people feel connected, they are more engaged and willing to go the extra mile to serve the customer. Organizations that have such an environment don’t just happen, they are purposefully created.  From attraction to retention, every step of the employment process is designed to create a workplace where people feel valued and connected.  Every interaction shapes how people feel about the company they work for and how willing they are to go above and beyond to meet the customer’s needs.

Let’s start by evaluating how you find employees.

Do you have an employee referral program in place? An employee referral process can be a less expensive way to hire, a faster way to hire, generally produces a better hire and lowers the turnover rate at your company.  Here are some questions to think about to get you started:

  • Will we offer some kind of incentive to employees and job seekers recommended by employees?
  • How will we communicate our referral program?
  • How will we track referrals?
  • When will we evaluate the success of our referral program?

You may also want to include a metric that measures the job performance of non-referred to referred people to see if you are getting a higher caliber of employee.

Next, let’s tackle onboarding; in other words, how do you introduce new hires to the way your company works?

New hire orientation is more than tax forms, benefit enrollment and an introduction to co-workers.  Think of new hire orientation as setting the direction you want them to take. We want to align employees to move along the same path. Important information to share with new employees can include:  the position of your company in the market place; how their position relates to the overall success of the company; what are the short and long term goals for the company and where their job fits in the overall structure of meeting those goals.

We often don’t give our need for connection much thought as we bring people on to the team.  Something as simple as arranging lunch on the first day can go a long way toward fulfilling the human need for connection and making a lasting impression on the new person.

Finally, consider retention.

What’s it like to work in your business? Like it or not, every business has a culture, and if you don’t have a plan to create a positive culture, you will get negative by default. Companies like Southwest Airlines and Zappos quickly come to mind as prime examples of positive workplace culture.  It all starts with trust – a topic we’ll dive into in my next blog post.

I’d love to hear how you would respond to the questions I’ve posed in this post. Please comment below.

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