It seems that nearly every business continues to struggle with staffing and finding new employees. That’s why in the last year, PSSI has focused on employee retention. A recent Gallup poll showed only one in three employees strongly agree that they belong at their organization – and so retention is volatile, perhaps now more than ever. We understand that at PSSI, where we have maintained a flat retention rate of 55% over the last year.
While we must continue improving our own numbers, we owe our recent success to developing a set of onboarding and training programs that focus on outcomes and setting new employees up for on-the-job success. Those programs, built on our foundational safety-first culture, has helped retain team members for the long haul. Recent staffing data shows that the average employment tenure for our hourly sanitors is three years, while our salaried team members have an average 6.3-year tenure at PSSI.
Our focus on retention has helped us determine four ways that have helped us build a reliable workforce. Below are some ideas that could work for your business.
1. Be transparent about the work involved in each position.
It’s not enough to tell candidates about a role anymore. By taking the time to take candidates on a tour of your facility or workspace to see real people working in the role they are interviewing for, you are already investing time and transparency in that candidate – and it makes an impact. Take the tour (or perhaps a live or recorded video tour if an in-person experience isn’t an option) to ensure you have a prepared new hire on day one or to ensure they have the chance to self-select out of the role if it isn’t for them.
2. Enhance your onboarding and training experiences.
Creating an engaged employee starts with having engaging hiring processes, onboarding and training experiences. Building that pre-hire relationship with the candidate will help build the trust needed for a new hire to stay and work through the first hurdles of the job. A proper onboarding experience involves giving new employees a positive first impression. PSSI provides a structured, 30-day training program aimed at providing these employees with skills and tools they need to succeed such as safety protocols and our eight steps of sanitation. They are assigned a personal trainer to help mentor them and ensure they are working safely. Having a dedicated mentor during their first 30 days of employment helps set them up for success, and it also creates a feedback loop for them to improve their onboarding experience.
3. Managers set and model the culture.
Employees want to feel like part of a team – to feel connected and valued. At PSSI, we train our managers to have an open-door culture where any team member can talk about issues. Our team members look out for each other, encouraging the reporting of any potential hazards or safety issues that could cause injuries. Mangers regularly recognize and show appreciation toward their teams for working safely by hosting celebrations, providing meals, giving away prizes and thanking them for their hard work. These behaviors model the behavior we want to see and instill in team members who will then model the culture – and may become managers themselves one day.
4. Set a clear career path.
We encourage managers to talk with new hires about future goals to help connect those aspirations with a potential career path. These conversations also create goodwill and a sense of loyalty, which will boost retention. When we visualize ourselves advancing within our career, it is critical to know if we have the support, training, mentorship and education needed to grow – and we typically end up a more engaged and committed member of a team.
The challenges associated with finding employees in today’s hiring climate can be overwhelming, and by focusing on hiring the right people, enhancing your onboarding experience and showing appreciation to your team members, you can build a loyal, committed and sustainable team.