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Don’t Lose Your Best: Employee Retention Starts Day One

Chris Kahrs
Written By: Chris Kahrs
Posted on September 17, 2015

I read something shocking the other day. According to Forbes, the average annual raise an employee can expect is 3%. However our high inflation rate means that's really about 1%. If a top employee chooses to jump ship they can expect anywhere from a 10 to 20% bump in salary. Sometimes as much as 50%. FIFTY PERCENT? That's a lot of money. No wonder employee turnover can be so bad!

Money is a motivator, but not the only one

What?! I can’t afford to give a 20% raise each year, no matter how great an employee he is! I get it. But the fact is that top talent is leaving every day and, unless you do something to stop it, you are likely to see your best people walk out the door. Fortunately for us, people are motivated by more than money. The Pride Staff 2015 Employee Retention Survey reports that 17.5% of interview job seekers were looking for more money. But nearly as many, 16.2%, were looking to leave because they didn’t like the company culture or wanted more training! That means we have an opportunity to fix things.

Good retention starts day one

When you have a great company culture, top talent will be willing to invest in you. I recommend that you establish your company culture early, starting with a solid onboarding process. Here’s my 10-step onboarding process:

  1. Before the first day, tell them who to ask for when they arrive. Ideally, have this be someone involved in the hiring process. A familiar face upon walking in the dealership is very welcoming!
  2. In that same conversation, tell them where to park so they aren’t embarrassed by having to move their vehicle on the first day.
  3. Email—or leave on their desk—their first month schedule. Include details about meetings and a list of goals for each day.
  4. Prior to the new employee’s start date, tell the entire organization to expect them and encourage them to say hello.
  5. Clean and prep their work station before their arrival. Do they have all of the tools necessary? Does everything work? Make sure everything is in order.
  6. Have their paperwork packet ready when they arrive. Most, if not all, new hires know there is important paperwork to sign. This shows the new hire you’re prepared and value their time.
  7. Prepare all needed log-ins and passwords and set up their voicemail. (This helps you, too. This new employee has told several people where he is working and he/she may get calls on day one. No voicemail = potential lost opportunities!)
  8. Give them a thorough tour of the facility when they arrive, and introduce them to the staff.
  9. Clarify the schedule for the first week and month. Review the expectations of the employee in their new role.
  10. Explain your organization’s goals and future outlook and how he or she fits in.

Retention matters every single day

You can’t forget about retention once that new employee is settled in. If anything, it’s more important than ever! Show your staff that you’re willing to invest in them with training and career development. Not only will it improve their performance, but it will give them another reason to stay with your business. My last recommendation is to keep your eye on the ever-changing market. Make sure you stay up-to-date with current employment and benefit trends so you attract and retain the best staff for your business. Review your procedures, such as the onboarding process I outlined above, with your management and make sure they are following it. The better your company culture, the more likely you are to keep your best talent!

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