Nobscot Corporation and HRPA Retention and Mentoring Tips
Nobscot Corporation is partnered with Human Resources Professional Organization (HRPA), the top HR association in Canada. On this page, you’ll find the latest tips featured in HRPA’s weekly e-newsletters.
Employee Retention Tips
How to Create an Effective Exit Interview Strategy
As the economy picks up in 2014, more and more publications are reporting that employees are indicating they plan to change jobs this year. Has this begun to occur in your organization? Do you have a plan to prevent valuable high performers from leaving? Exit interviews are the first step to gather the data on what motivates employees to leave.
Here are some tips to help you set up an effective exit interview plan:
- Choose a methodology.
Conduct the exit interview in the "sweet spot" time window. The ideal time to exit interview an employee is between 3 days before the employee’s last day and 3 days after the termination date. This is when employees still feel emotionally connected to the organization, and they will be more apt to give honest feedback.
Think about your demographics BEFORE you start exit interviewing. One of the most important features of exit interviews is looking at the results by demographics. This allows organizations to view the data in different ways. For example, if they ask if the employee is male or female, they can compare why males are leaving vs. why females are leaving.
Ask the right questions. Make sure that you’re not asking two questions in one. Use a combination of qualitative (numerically-rated) and quantitative (open-ended) questions so that your numbers will point to where the issues might be and the comments will flesh out that information.
Communicate! Let your employees know that you are conducting exit interviews because you want to get their feedback to make improvements. Publicize any organizational changes that you’ve made based on exit interview feedback, as well. When an employee resigns, notify him or her about the upcoming exit interview when you’re giving other departure instructions, such as where to turn in his or her office key, etc.
- The paper and pencil method is the default method when organizations do not have anything else in place. The common issue with this method is that they do not all get returned (15-35% average participation rate).
- The in-person exit interview method gives a personal touch and gives HR the opportunity to probe for more information. However it’s difficult to get open, candid feedback and the resulting information is difficult to analyze.
- The telephone method used to be a great method, and may still work with employees who do not have access to computers, but in the modern age, it is very difficult to reach people via telephone so it’s hard to get high participation rates. Like, in-person exits, the information is anecdotal and difficult to break down by department, division and other demographics.
- Technology-based exit interviews work by inviting departing employees to complete an exit interview online. Exit interview management systems track the data and can be used to generate reports. Done properly, participation rates for this method can average 65% or higher.
If you’d like to learn more about how to set up or improve your exit interview program, click here: How to set up or improve your exit interview program
Back to Latest Employee Retention and Mentoring Tips
The New Year is a great time to assess your current employee retention strategy. While you may already have new hire surveys, employee engagement and exit interview survey processes in place, did you know that there’s an additional tool at your fingertips? Employee Transfer Surveys!
For many organizations, more positions are filled internally than from the outside. That means a lot of employees are transferring from department to department. While new hire surveys gather feedback from external hires and exit interviews capture data from those who are leaving the company, those who transfer between departments may be a lost source of important employee retention feedback. Transfer surveys, polling employees when they move within the organization, is an innovative method that helps HR to receive critical feedback from current employees on a wide variety of topics – their soon-to-be past departments and managers, their acclimation and work experience in their new department, company culture and more.
Benefits of Transfer Surveys
- Transferring employees can help HR identify problems in a specific department.
- Transfer surveys assist HR to make sure that transitions into new departments and roles are efficient and seamless.
- They send the message to employees that HR and the organization truly values them.
to learn more about the benefits of Transfer Surveys, as well as best practices and tips.
Tips for the Best Times to Survey Employees
From new hire surveys to exit interviews – and everything in between - employee surveys are wonderful tools to find out what’s going on in your organization so you can make improvements. But what if you’re not getting the right (or enough) data from which to make decisions? You may have a timing problem!
Here are some tips on WHEN to survey your employees:
- New Hire Surveys
The best timing for new hire surveys will actually depend on the goal of the survey. For example, if you want to measure how well the new hire’s expectations match up with the actual job, survey them right after new hire orientation or a few days after the employee starts the job. If you want to focus on learning about the recruitment process, survey new employees between 30 and 45 days after the employee starts the job. If you want to measure the overall new hire experience, conduct a survey around the employee’s 90-day mark.
- Employee Engagement Surveys
While employee engagement surveys can be conducted year-round, some of the best times to administer them are after a change in leadership, after mergers and after any major changes to organization policies and procedures. These are great times to allow your employees to voice their opinions to see if the changes are working or if you need to re-assess the plan.
- Exit Interviews
While you may have heard that post-exit interviews are a good idea, research proves they are not effective. In fact, conducting exit interviews a month (or several months) after the employee has left the organization is a bad move because he or she has moved on (emotionally and physically) and no longer wants to think about or help the company. The ideal time to administer an exit interview is between 3 days before the last day worked and 3 days after the termination date. During this short window, exiting employees are still emotionally attached to the company and are more prone to give organizations honest information.
Tips on How to Prevent “Quick Quits”
“Quick Quits,” or employees who leave within the first 90 days, is a very expensive retention problem. This issue is becoming more and more prevalent as the job market heats up, but there are a number of things you can do to prevent it. Here are some tips on how to engage and retain your new employees:
- Use a “welcome” that works. Onboarding should begin the second your new employee accepts the job offer. Let him or her know what the onboarding and training process is going to look like to ensure the new employee has accurate expectations.
- Get new employees excited in the orientation. The orientation should include everything the new employee needs to know – from required employment forms and a training plan to letting the new employee know where to park, etc. Invite charismatic senior leaders to present during the orientation meeting, and talk about the company history and the vision for the future.
- Implement an innovative training program. Training should be informative and fun at the same time. Training is critical, because if an employee doesn’t feel that he or she can do the job well, frustration and demoralization can set in. A cost-effective resource for fun and creative training activities is Glasstap out of the UK. A Glasstap membership provides unlimited access to a wide variety of training games, articles and case studies.
- Focus on early socialization. Socialization occurs when the new employee begins to identify with the company and feels like he or she really belongs. The socialization process can take anywhere from 90 days to two years, depending on the employee. Once employees have completed this stage, they are less likely to leave the organization. Set up a buddy system or implement a new hire mentoring program that will give your new hires the support they need.
- Measure the success of your onboarding efforts with new hire surveys and make changes as needed. New hire surveys can be utilized in many ways – expectations surveys (immediately after orientation) measure if the new hire’s expectations match up with the actual job. Initial onboarding and training surveys (between 45 and 60 days after the start date) measure how well training and assimilation are going, etc.
If you’d like to learn more about preventing Quick Quits, please join us for a free, informative webinar on Thursday, September 12th at 2pm EST. Register for it here!
Training and Engaging Millennials
If you’ve been hiring millennial employees, you’ve probably noticed that they work and learn differently than other generations. Organizations who want to retain these young workers are quickly realizing that traditional training methods are not quite doing the trick to keep these employees engaged. The good news is that there are innovative training programs out there that are PERFECT for millennials. Here are some tips on how to train them more effectively:
- Use experiential training that features activities and games. This young generation of workers were raised by parents who dragged them from activity to activity throughout their childhood and adolescence. Because of this, most millennials enjoy competitions and games. You can use this to your favor by administering training games, rather than “boring” classroom training or lectures.
- Focus on multiple, short training sessions. Most millennials have short attention spans. Some blame television, others blame video games and the Internet – it really doesn’t matter, but it does affect how Gen Y should be trained. If you want to grab their attention and keep it, break up long training days with short activities and sessions that are both entertaining and creative.
- Utilize group and team activities. Millennials are the epitome of the word “team player,” and they typically work very well with others. They also enjoy learning in groups, so use training exercises that feature small team or group activities.
- Bring different generations together in training. Use team building games to bridge the gap between the different generations. Baby Boomers and Gen X will get the chance to see what skills and knowledge millennials bring to the workplace, while Gen Y will have the opportunity to learn from older workers’ knowledge and experience.
One great source for innovative training activities is Glasstap
, a U.K.-based training subscription service with representation in North America. Glasstap provides a fresh approach to training with unlimited access for members to hundreds of downloadable activities, course modules and other resources that can be used when training millennials or a mixed group that includes multiple generations.
Differences Between Exit Interviews and Stay Interviews
Have you heard that you should be conducting "stay interviews" rather than "exit interviews"? Before you make that switch, learn the real scoop on how to use stay interviews and why they should NEVER replace exit interviews. The truth is that stay interviews are a great management tool, but they have nothing to do with exit interviews. Here’s how they differ:
- Stay interviews are about the INDIVIDUAL and should be conducted by the employee’s manager to learn more about the specific employee’s needs, goals, aspirations, motivators, etc. Exit interviews, on the other hand, are about the ORGANIZATION, and they are used to learn what can be done from an overall systemic standpoint to improve the work experience/culture on an overall basis.
- Stay interviews are a management tool, while exit interviews are an HR tool.
- While most employees will give honest feedback in stay interviews about what motivates them and their career goals, it’s unlikely that they will share the “irritations” that they experience which may cause them to quit. If you’re looking for candid feedback on drivers of turnover, you’ll find it in exit interviews.
There’s a great book on stay interviews by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans called, "Love 'em or Lose 'em: Getting Good People to Stay." Learn more about exit interviews
How to Reduce Employee Turnover with New Hire Surveys
You most likely already spend lots of time and money on hiring the best people, but how are you ensuring that those new employees stay at your organization? Early turnover, when employees leave within two years, and “quick quits” (when employees leave within the first three to six months) is very expensive. If all your employees left within two years, your turnover rates would be between 50 and 100 percent. At these rates, an organization that has 2,500 employees would lose between 1,250 and 2,500 employees each year. If the cost of this turnover is calculated using an average cost of replacement of just $5,000 per termination, then that same organization would spend more than $6,250,000 per year on turnover alone! Fortunately, there are tools available to help you avoid this kind of financial disaster.
New hire surveys are effective tools to help you improve your new hire retention rates. They allow you to avoid several common new hire issues and misunderstandings around employee expectations about the job, amount of workload, co-worker support, quality and/or quantity of training, supervisor encouragement, clarity of corporate goals and perceived professional growth opportunities. When choosing the best type of new hire survey for your organization, think about your main objectives. There are several purposes for new hire surveys:
- Measure new hire expectations.
Are your recruiters effectively communicating the position requirements, day-to-day job responsibilities, and culture of the organization? Sometimes your new hires’ expectations don’t match up with the reality of the job. This can lead to unnecessary early turnover.
- Measure your recruitment process.
Find out how the entire recruitment process went – from the first interview to the job offer. Was it a good candidate experience or could it be improved?
- Measure onboarding and training.
These are critical components to getting your new employees up to speed and prepared for the job. If your employees don’t feel they can do their jobs well, frustration and demoralization can set in, which leads to turnover.
- Measure new hire socialization.
Socialization occurs when the new employee begins to identify with the company and feels like he or she really belongs. The socialization process can take anywhere from 90 days to two years, depending on the employee. Once employees have completed this stage, they are less likely to leave the organization. Use your new hire surveys to find out what can be done to speed up the time to socialization.
New hire surveys can accomplish several objectives at once or you can conduct a few (two or three) surveys over a set time period. The key to making them work for your organization is clarifying your main objectives and choosing a survey (or surveys) that fit your identified needs.
Click here to learn more about how you can retain YOUR new employees.
How to Replicate Successes to Increase Employee Retention
While most HR professionals are familiar with using employee surveys and exit interviews
to uncover drivers of employee turnover, they may be overlooking an additional use of employee feedback – identifying what they’re doing well! This field of study, called "Appreciative Inquiry
," focuses on identifying organizational successes and then seeks to replicate them throughout the organization.
All kinds of employee feedback channels and surveys, including new hire surveys
, stay interviews and exit interviews, can be used to discover organizational strengths. Here are some things to look for in your data:
- Feedback about Management
Some people are born leaders, while others need more training. Exit interview data can help you find not only those managers who might be driving away employees, but also your superstar supervisors. These managerial stars should be recognized and rewarded for their performance and used as coaches or mentors for junior managers, as well as earmarked for high-potential programs and succession planning.
- Valued Programs
Use employee surveys to identify which programs and perks are the most highly-ranked and popular with your employees. You can expand those current programs or find similar types of new programs to implement. Keep an eye on the data for unique and successful programs started in specific departments or divisions that could be replicated in other parts of the organization.
- Successful Recruiters
Identify your top recruiters by examining the results of Quality-of-Hire surveys. Quality-of-Hire surveys poll the supervisors of new hires to gain their feedback on the performance and future prospects of the new hires. In-house recruiters who consistently recruit and hire A players can share their methods (and the characteristics and traits they look for in candidates) with the others on your recruiting team.
For more information on replicating successes, see Chip and Dan Heath’s bestselling book, "Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard
The good news is that if you’re currently surveying current and/or exiting employees, you don’t have to do anything extra to replicate successes! Just look for your bright spots and go from there.
How to Reduce Employee Turnover with Mentoring
One of the best secrets (and most cost-effective opportunities) for improving employee retention is implementing a formal mentoring program. One company used mentoring to reduce turnover among new nurse assistants from 64% to 4%. Mentoring programs feature many benefits for participants, including career development, visibility within the organization, increased promotions and higher salaries. In fact, in a wide variety of academic papers, mentoring has been directly linked with employees’ increased commitment to their companies.
Choose from a wide variety of mentoring programs, from general mentoring programs for all employees to specialty mentoring programs, such as those for new hires, high potentials, women and diverse employees.
If you’d like to learn more about mentoring programs and how they can help you combat employee turnover, get advice straight from award-winning mentor-mentee pairs. Nobscot Corporation is sponsoring a FREE, informative webinar on Tuesday, February 19, at 2pm EST that will feature mentors and mentees that won the 2012 Mentor of the Year award. Hear stories from successful mentoring pairs from organizations like UTC Aerospace Systems, Xerox Corporation and Covance Inc. Click here to sign up for it!
How to Improve Employee Feedback Participation Rates
If your employee retention plan is based on employee feedback, such as utilizing exit interviews or employee surveys, high participation rates are the key to a successful process that yields helpful, useable information in which to make improvements and changes. For exit interviews, a good participation rate goal to aim for is 65 percent. If you haven’t met your participation rate goals, or simply want to improve them, we recommend the following actions:
- Make sure you are sending the employee surveys in a timely manner. For example, the ideal window for sending exit interviews is 3 days before the employee’s last day and 3 days after the last working day. If you wait until after that time window, the departing employee will probably have moved on and no longer want to help your organization.
- Review your employee survey questions for simplicity. Put yourself in your employees’ place, and ask yourself how you would feel answering the particular questions. For example, avoid too many questions that ask for feelings and/or emotions. Some employees are not in tune with their feelings (or don’t want to share them with you!). It’s much easier for employees to rate the effectiveness of a process, rather than how they "feel" about it.
- Get your logistics right! This is a major area for review if you’re not getting the participation rates you want. Examine the entire chain of events for the survey process. For example, who is responsible for sending out the employee survey and when does this person come into the loop to know when to send it? How is the employee notified about the survey? Does the employee know where to take the survey? In what ways are employees encouraged to complete the survey? Is the survey easy to complete? Is the survey easy to submit?
- Make sure your employees know about your employee feedback program BEFORE they are asked to complete a survey. You can publicize a program by simply communicating the successes and improvements that were made based on employee feedback. Let your employees know that you’re listening to them and not wasting their time.
If you’d like to learn more about this important topic, and exit interviews in general, read the following white paper document links on how to improve exit interview participation.
How to Address the Top Three Employee Turnover Drivers
It’s 2013 – out with the old, in with the new! It’s a great time to build a strong retention strategy for the new year. Start by analyzing last year’s exit data to identify your organization’s main employee turnover drivers. After you’ve figured out your organization’s unique issues, you can start to make real changes by addressing the specific problems. Here are some of the most common employee turnover drivers and solutions on how to get rid of them!
Most organizations give new (and current) managers the same training, regardless of their management abilities or skills. Use your exit data to identify managers and supervisors who may need additional training, as well as areas in which all managers need improvement, such as showing appreciation for employees. Other common issues include managers with poor communication skills or those who do not know how to hold their employees accountable. Share this valuable information with your training department so they can create training programs around your specific problem areas. You can also look at your exit data to identify your strong managers and recruit them to mentor junior supervisors.
- Hiring Issues
Many organizations have positions that are notorious for high turnover, such as call center representatives, bank tellers, retail clerks or nursing assistants. Use exit interview comments and suggestions (usually found in open-ended questions) to identify the strengths and characteristics needed to work in the given environment, and be sure to share this information with your internal recruiting team. For example, if you find that many employees are leaving due to fluctuating work schedules, your recruiters can seek out applicants who enjoy variety in their schedules and don’t have other commitments hindering them from working the required hours.
Sometimes, it really is about the money. If your exit data shows trends of employees leaving specific positions because of compensation, then it may be time to re-grade positions that are falling behind. For example, it could be that the job responsibilities have increased or the necessary skills sets to do the job have changed. Some companies have found that the cost of increasing salaries in high turnover areas is less than the amount being spent dealing with the turnover. Use your exit data to conduct an analysis and to create a case to your CFO. For a short-term fix, you may want to consider offering bonuses based on merit or achieved goals, which my remedy turnover without increasing long-term payroll costs.
Making fact-based decisions based on your organization’s exit data is the most effective way to approach retention issues in the new year.
Understanding Employee Retention
Do you know the real reasons why your employees are leaving? Every organization has their own unique turnover drivers, so making fact-based decisions based on exit data is the most effective (and efficient!) way to approach retention issues. The first step is identifying your organization’s unique irritations, the things that get under your employees’ skin and make them want to leave.
Fortunately, exit interviews are the most effective tools to identify these irritations, and automated systems will allow you to capture, track and statistically analyze your exit data. With these innovative systems, you can view the exit data by demographics (such as tenure, department, division, sex and age) to see why particular groups of employees may be leaving faster than others.
Save Money by Increasing Employee Retention
Do you know how much money your organization could save if you increased employee retention by 5 percent? This significant figure shows how much money you could lose if turnover increases, as well as how much money you could save your company if you improved retention. For example, an organization with 2,500 employees and a 15 percent turnover rate, spends $2,812,500 per year, with the cost of turnover averaging $7,500 per turnover. This organization would spend an additional $937,500 per year if turnover increases by 5 percent. If that company reduces turnover by 5 percent (down to 10 percent), it would save $937,500 per year.
Want to see what the number looks like for your organization? Use Nobscot’s Employee Retention Savings Calculator
to see how much an increase or decrease in turnover can cost or save your organization.
Latest Employee Retention and Mentoring Tips