Yesterday, we talked through five reasons your new hires won’t last. Continuing on in that vein today, here are five more reasons (we’ll number them 6 – 10, just to make it easier). Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be another bumpy ride.
6. Orientation and onboarding are largely reduced to a review of relevant policies and procedures before moving on to training on operational skills.
What’s missing? Culture. In an organization with a clear identity and culture, orientation and onboarding is just the next link in the chain, so to speak; and it’s here that new hires learn even more about this tribe of humans they’ve just joined. They’re given a closer look at “how we do things around here.” They should learn stories, and be introduced to symbols, traditions, and rituals (Pro tip: Omit any references to animal sacrifice at this point in orientation.). They should learn about the core values — what they mean, how they look in action, and what accountability around them looks like. And that’s just the beginning.
7. Training stinks for any number of reasons.
This one almost deserves its own post, and maybe I’ll do that at some point. As a former HS educator, and as one involved in corporate training & development/organizational development for a good while now, I can tell you that there’s a lot of really great training out there. I can also tell you there’s a lot of pretty terrible training out there.
The far more complicated part is explaining why that’s the case. There are so many reasons and combinations of reasons that training can end up being less-than-amazing. (And before my non-training readers nod your heads in agreement too hard, not all — and probably not even most — of those reasons have to do with the training department. Many training issues can be traced back to larger organizational and/or systemic roots.)
For example — and this is only one of literally dozens — sometimes organizations make the mistake of starting from a timeframe. What I mean is that managers understandably feel shorthanded when they’re down a person, so naturally they want their new hire as soon as possible. Well, sometimes, somewhere, in some meeting, between two executives, they probably rather arbitrarily decided that, oh…say…two weeks sounded like a reasonable amount of time for new hire training. The problem is that that’s not even remotely close to how training and development is supposed to be designed. Believe it or not, the how-long-is-it-going-to-take part is near the end. And frankly, the presupposition that the new hire training model should be a nonstop, x-week, block of time is not one I’m willing to concede; but again, that’s for another post.
But sticking with this particular example, say a training team is given two weeks to train; and say that for whatever reason, they don’t feel able to push back and suggest a different methodology for determining learning objectives, timelines, and so on. In that scenario, they’re going to put together a two-week training curriculum, by gosh. And they’re going to train it. At the end of that two weeks, it may or may not (read: probably won’t) actually prepare new hires for what the managers on the other end are expecting them to be prepared for.
That’s just one example of how training issues can get a bit more complex than they appear at first glance. The bottom line, though, is that when a training program doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, people aren’t prepared for their jobs. And when people aren’t prepared for their jobs, they start to feel unprepared for their jobs (shocking, no?). And when they feel unprepared for their jobs, they begin to dread coming to those jobs. And when people dread coming to their jobs, eventually, if it doesn’t get better, they stop coming to those jobs so they can go work somewhere where they feel they’re given the tools to be successful.
8. They don’t get meaningful support after training.
From a developmental perspective, this is a ball that gets dropped an awful lot. When folks land in their branches or departments or teams, it’s not the time to take a hands-off approach. On the contrary, this is where the next link in their developmental chain should occur. Previous learning should be reinforced and applied to that context, and the groundwork should be put in place for continued growth and development. There should be coaching and mentoring that takes off from this point, and it should be planned coaching and mentoring that happens across the organization.
9. No one asks for their feedback.
How are you collecting feedback from folks during their first week? How about after two weeks? First month? Three months? Six months? You’d be amazed what you’ll learn by connecting with new hires at those intervals. You’ll be amazed how you’ll be able to adjust your processes from both a recruitment and training & development perspective based on what you learn over time from those conversations. Additionally, it means something to people when you ask what they think. It communicates to them that they matter.
10. The culture is terrible.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If they get there and people are negative, or their boss is a jerk, or performance standards are either non-existent or enforced arbitrarily, or teammates don’t seem to get along, or any number of things; they’re not going to want to stay. Why would they?
So what’s the bottom line? Here’s the scary part. As lengthy as these two posts were, there are still other reasons I edited out that can contribute to new hires jetting. However, these are some of the bigger ones, and should be a good place to start thinking through some things.
***On a different note, organizational culture and alignment is what I do, so if you’re interested in some formal help with any of these things, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re not ready for formal help, but would like to bounce ideas around, I’m game for that too. Same email address applies.