Making workers feel welcome not only builds morale – it increases retention and reduces staffing costs.
Staffing costs are a major challenge in 2023. Recent Flex research found that 59.7% of companies are reducing expenses or cutting budgets this year, with two-thirds struggling to find the right talent.
What should leaders do once they do find the right talent? With recruitment costs increasing and an unusually tight labour market, organisations can’t afford to lose new hires. The solution: invest in a better onboarding experience to make workers feel welcome and increase retention.
Here are six ways to do that:
Employee experience starts long before a worker arrives on-site. By that point, they’ve already jumped through a series of recruitment and administrative hurdles. Whether it’s medical declarations, signing contracts or simply talking to hiring managers, workers routinely spend hours onboarding before they actually start earning.
Simplifying this process has a huge impact on workers – especially if they are used to complicated, boring onboarding. Making the process digital and easy to navigate will help a lot here, as will ensuring someone is on-hand to guide workers through the process.
Create personalised ‘moments’
In Thinking In Moments, behavioural scientists Dan and Chip Heath describe the simple power of personalised onboarding experience. Companies don’t necessarily need to mimic the specific tactics they describe – a personalised screensaver, an email from the CEO. They just need to understand the underlying idea: that of creating ‘peak moments’.
Peak moments are memorable, positive experiences that stay with a person. You forget most of your first day on the job, but a few instances will stick out. Leaders should cultivate those moments. It could be something as simple as a personalised welcome by the team manager or lunch food voucher; what matters is the worker doesn’t expect it – and feels valued because of it.
Assign a buddy
Many workers feel uncomfortable asking for help or guidance – but most need it. Assigning the workers a specific buddy solves this problem. The buddy becomes their go-to guide and makes them feel immediately at home.
The buddy should not just be chosen at random though. Instead, carefully select someone who will have a point of contact with the person, whether they are from a similar background, work in a similar role or are just similar in personality to the new worker. This not only increases the chances the pair will hit it off – it gives the buddy a way of explaining why they have been chosen, and therefore providing a more personalised experience for the newbie. If you have a group of temporary workers joining on the same day, it could be a good idea to assign the internal buddy to more than one of them, to encourage them to help each other.
When a new worker is introduced, the existing workforce is generally operating as usual. Many workers don’t make an effort with new colleagues not out of rudeness, but because they have work to focus on. Leaders should take this into account and actively incentivise workers to include the new worker.
When integrating temporary workers, making them feel part of the organisation can make all the difference in shaping them into an extension of your workforce. Make sure team managers are expecting the temp worker so that they can shape the training and integration tactics accordingly.
Make information manageable
The first day on a job can result in information overload. From remembering names to getting orientated, the cognitive load is immense – and plenty of workers feel overwhelmed. But there are several ways leaders can make the experience more manageable.
Providing collateral containing information about the workplace, role and protocols reduces the burden on individuals to memorise everything they hear. Equally, making clear that they are not expected to remember everything – and won’t be shamed for failing to do so – is a great way of relieving tension and allowing workers to ease into their new workplace.
The first day is difficult partly because new hires feel pressure – to fit in, to memorise information and to avoid making mistakes. This is an equal arrangement: you are also gaining from their labour, and should therefore share the load of that pressure.
Encouraging feedback from a new hire makes clear that their opinion is valued, and signals that you are also invested in making the arrangement work. It will also help you address any hurdles in the process and make it even better for future employees.
See it in action
Indeed Flex helped hospitality leaders and long-term clients, Hotel Du Vin achieve a 98.1% repeat worker rate through the worker rating and feedback features available on the platform.
Both the employer and worker can input a rating out of 5 stars and provide written feedback. This encourages two-way communication that benefits both parties and helps them to build trusting, lasting relationships.