HR leaders have come up with unique ways to improve retention rates within their organizations through enhanced benefits and greater employee recognition, but there is one basic approach that is often overlooked for existing workers: onboarding.
Employers with strong onboarding practices improve employee retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%, according to research from Glassdoor. Re-onboarding existing employees — providing a refresher course on company policies, goals and information on a recurring basis — can make just as much of an impact on your current workforce.
“It’s just a matter of taking the time to invest in our employees who have been here for a long time,” says Sarah Britton, senior manager of employee operations at recruiting software company Lever. “If someone’s been here for five years, are they still aware of all the resources we have to offer? Do they remember our origin story? Onboarding is a way to maintain engagement and connectivity with our existing employees.”
To successfully re-onboard employees, Britton encourages companies to get a strategic plan in place and consider ways to consistently hear their employees’ concerns and address them in a meaningful way. Conducting what Britton calls a “stay interview” is a strategy her team utilizes at Lever. These interviews, as she explains, don’t have to be formal calendar events, but rather, simple conversations that can take place on a quarterly or annual basis depending on the employer’s preference.
“We address things like what are our employee needs, how can we fill in gaps and make improvements within the company,” she says. “Where do we need to double down? Is it on better communications around our benefits or development and performance? It’s an active listening conversation so we can enact change in the organization.”
The first step is to get a real sense of how the employee is feeling, not just about work, but in their life overall. Personal stressors can have a major impact on a person’s ability to do their jobs, so making sure employees are well is key. Other work-related questions Britton suggests can cover if the employee feels there are any gaps in their career development, any areas where company benefits may be falling short and whether or not they feel more can be done to improve their relationships with managers.
The responsibility of re-onboarding doesn’t have to fall exclusively on the shoulders of HR. Managers and other leaders can take an active role in better supporting employees who have been loyal to the company.
“Managers are interacting with their direct reports and employees on a day to day basis,” Britton says. “How do we equip them with the right tools and resources to make sure that they are aware of all the things that we have to offer and they know how to make sure that their employees are best supported?”
The strategy here, she says, is to hold training sessions on manager expectations, benefit resources, and professional development resources. Managers should also know how to have meaningful conversations around professional development and career advancement with their direct reports.
“Employers need to listen to their employee population and be transparent about what their mission is,” Britton says. “Uplifting our managers to make sure that they’re not only supported but can support their teams in the best way possible is what will help combat the Great Resignation.”