To have a successful supply chain management employment strategy, there are three components where we must focus: acquisition, development and advancement.
In a previous article, we discussed hiring practices for your team and focused on employees who were out of your current area, perhaps even in an emerging market.
Now that you’ve made a superstar hire, what’s next? Acquiring top talent certainly has its challenges, but now that they are part of your team it’s well worth it to ensure that you have a strong onboarding and training program in place. You are making a large investment – not only in money, but time and resources as well.
You may be surprised to know how expensive it is to find, hire and bring on new employees. Even more shocking is how much it costs to lose and then replace one. What we will focus on now is reducing turnover and keeping that talented person who just joined your team.
Training your new employees for long-term success starts on day one
Starting at the beginning, let’s look at your employee’s first day. This first day is as important for a top executive as it is for an hourly employee because it sets the tone for the rest of their employment.
If the employee’s first day is chaotic and unorganized, then you are sending the message that it’s okay if they work in a crazy and hectic way. It will also imply that your entire company culture is that way as well.
The employee has no other focus than to watch and observe everything going on in your business, and how people interact with you as well as with each other. They are listening intently and trying their best to fit in as quickly as possible.
The first day should be organized and well-planned. The space and tools which will be needed for the job should be available, ready and established. Give the new person some time to meet the team. Organizing a welcome breakfast or a team lunch is a great way to do this. Establish a well-organized place where employees have access to all the information they will need to be successful in their new position.
Think about what it would be like to be a new employee starting at your company.
- Do they know your dress code ahead of time?
- If they drive to work, do they know where to park?
- How do they get in the building?
- Do they need a key, a passcode, or an escort?
Imagine the employee arriving, and realizing that they have no place to park without a pass! And then they can’t get in to the building, which causes them to be late on the first morning. Stressful! It’s only day one and you already have a frustrated employee who isn’t off to a great start.
More importantly, they feel that you didn’t care enough to address these issues beforehand. All the while, you are feeling that they didn’t care enough to show up on time.
This is an elementary example, which I hope proves that it is easy to eliminate these problems if you take a minute and, with the help of your team, establish that all important issues are addressed so that their first day is smooth sailing.
Offer continued guidance, open communication and a roadmap for future advancement
Now that your new employee has their first day under their belt, it is time to deliver a very clear directive as to the job they will be doing, the resources and people to look to for guidance and a plan to move forward from that point.
I have found that progressive companies are, at this very early stage, addressing future roles and career advancement potential. If you do a great job in your current role, this is what you can expect down the road. This goes a long way to ensure that your new employees stay and turnover is kept at a minimum.
Everyone wants to know that they can grow within the company if they do their job well.
Part of any good employment relationship is solid and open communication. This may entail formal performance reviews at certain times of the year. More importantly, it’s essential that for the first 30 to 120 days you check in with one another on a regular, informal basis. These brief, regular meetings ensure that things are going according to the plan you established on day one and, if necessary, changes are made, issues addressed and information exchanged.
Train, promote and then bring in the next generation of talent
Ongoing learning and training is an easy but crucial component to your development process. If you do not currently have a program which enables your employees to develop their skills, implementing one will go a long way towards building a strong and tenured team.
Employers who encourage their employees to learn and develop are well-rewarded. Employees stay because they are being encouraged to grow and develop WITHOUT having to make a career or company change.
Another very easy way to ensure a strong team is cross-training. This is an incredibly quick way to advance collaboration and good will. At its core is learning new skills, but an added benefit is the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes and the understanding that comes with seeing things from a different perspective.
Supply chain tools and technologies are changing rapidly, and allowing employees to experience and learn from others within the company helps to keep everyone up to date and engaged in how your business is advancing.
Once a well-defined onboarding and development program is in place, it becomes easy to advance your employees throughout your organization.
Promoting from within helps keep everyone motivated and leaves you with the ability to change directions quickly and efficiently.
If your business is still growing and you need to hire regularly, then I suggest starting an internship program. Partner with colleges in your area and engage their graduating supply chain students. Offer jobs, pending graduation, to the students who best fit your company’s needs. Now they are ready for your well-developed onboarding and training program, which will drive their career with the hopes that they stay at your company for years and years to come. It sure beats the revolving door employment model we currently use.
Ultimately, you are making a talent investment which will pay you back year after year.