Reduce Turnover And Boost Productivity By Redefining The "Employee Experience" One of the most challenging aspects of being in business is recruiting, onboarding, and retaining talent. It can also be the most rewarding, if done right. It’s no secret that hiring the right person is important. Hiring right leads to better retention rates and engaged employees that enjoy their job. But hiring the wrong employees results in high turnover rates and low productivity. This can be detrimental to your organization’s success. Not providing these employees with an experience that sets a positive tone for their relationship with your organization can cause disengagement and morale issues. Have you ever thought about the real costs, in terms of time and money, of having to hire a new person? Various studies show that when you lose an employee and have to hire a new one to take the ex-employee’s place, there’s usually a 14-month productivity gap from the time the employee leaves to the time the new hire is at 100 percent productivity. Because of that gap, research reveals that an estimated $37 billion is spent every year to pay for unproductive employees who don’t know how to do their jobs effectively, in the U.S. and U.K. alone. Additionally, lost productivity due to turnover and new hires can cost an organization one to 2.5 percent in total revenue. The more effective you are at hiring, onboarding, and creating the environment that supports your culture objectives, the better off your organization is, and the more revenue you can generate. The employee experience starts the moment a candidate inquires about your job opening and remains throughout the lifecycle of their employment. EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE Employees are at the core of any business. The way we create an environment that allows for a positive employee experience can have a major impact on your bottom line. Looking at the “employee experience” the same way you look at your clients’ experience gets to the core of this concept. Currently, the labor market is in a “full employment” situation, meaning the candidates are in the driver’s seat. Because of this, organizations are going to have to sell themselves, just like they do when selling to potential clients. To do this, you have to refine and redefine your employee experience. In redefining the employee experience, you would treat your candidates just as you would treat your interested clients. You have to start with enticing the right people, then onboarding them effectively, and building an environment that enhances your culture. This is the trifecta of a positive employee experience and, naturally, lends to organizations leading their competition. Let’s break it down. TALENT ACQUISITION “Talent acquisition” is similar to recruiting, but not the same thing. Instead of hiring for standard vacancies and openings, talent acquisition is strategically planning and looking for qualified candidates for current and future job openings. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines it even further: “Talent Acquisition is the process of attracting and recruiting the best talent available to ensure your organization has the right people, with the right skills, who are in the right job, and are working against the right requirements.” Talent acquisition is being strategic and in-depth about who is hired. Dee-Ann Turner, a Chick-fil-A executive, says: “In today’s competitive environment for people, all talent markets need an acquisition strategy. At any given time, some markets might be “hotter” than others, but the best organizations are projecting future needs and are always scouting the best talent.” Understanding what talent you need within your organization further ensures that you have found the right person, enabling the candidate’s experience with your organization to align with their personal goals. Talent acquisition strategies are an essential component to retaining talent and staying ahead of your competition. UNDERSTAND WHO YOU’RE HIRING Bringing in high performers who can do the job better and create efficiencies will delight both external and internal customers. Create a high performer profile and use that when recruiting and vetting candidates. This profile should include certain behavioral traits, specific skills, level of experience, and other custom requirements needed to excel at your organization. The more specific you are, the better. If you aren’t sure what to put here, take a look at your current top talent (your best employees) and identify what you like about them and what made them succeed. Not only does this profile include the skill set required for the particular position, but also a required cultural fit. Almost half of an employee’s on-the-job success in the first 18 months can be attributed to how the employee fits in with others in the organization, while the rest of the success depends on whether the employee can do the job, according to Brian Kropp, a managing director at Corporate Executive Board. Staggeringly, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports the cost to replace and hire new staff may be as high as 60 percent of an employee’s annual salary, whereas total costs of replacement, including training and loss of productivity, can range from 90 percent to 200 percent of an employee’s annual salary. Creating comprehensive job profiles on the front end will save you time and money after the hire. It’s costly to hire the wrong person. The Association for Talent Development reports that if the employee leaves or is let go after a month or two, it costs businesses with less than 500 employees $11,000. For business with more than 1,000 employees, a bad hire costs $24,000. If this happens frequently, it can begin to affect your organization’s bottom line very quickly. To hire the right people, you have to look beyond the resume and implement a strategy to entice candidates to your organization, while making sure they are the right match. This means utilizing other strategies, such as effective interview questions, pre-hire assessments, and candidate evaluations. DELIGHT YOUR CANDIDATE POOL To enhance your employee experience, you need to alter how you attract talent, so that you’re offering a great experience from the very beginning. The employee experience starts right when a candidate sees your job opening online. They click on the job, read the job description, upload their resume, and apply. However, it doesn’t end there. After they apply, they want to know who you are. They will look your organization up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Google to see what you do and what you’re like. They will read your customer and past employee reviews. They will go to your website. As each candidate does this, you want to make sure what they are seeing is accurate and delightful. You want them to want to work at your organization, and that happens by working on your employment brand. Your employment brand is your reputation as an employer. The ability to be articulate and descriptive about what it’s really like to work at your organization is an incredible advantage in recruiting top performers who also fit into your organizational culture. So, take a look at what you say online about working at your organization, what others say, and what your public-facing online presence reveals about the employment experience. Check or create your company profile on Glassdoor, target candidates with social media posts, and update your company LinkedIn profile. Candidates are researching your organization, so make sure you know what they’ll find. As candidates apply and start to go through the interview process, how you treat them makes all the difference. It’s best to treat candidates as you would prospects. Give them everything they need to know your organization, what you do, and what they’ll be doing for you. This means providing realistic job previews that accurately describe precisely what the candidate would be doing day-to-day. In addition to those two areas, you also want to focus on the overall recruitment process. Is it difficult? Complicated? Nerve-racking? Time-consuming? You may need to change your process to cater it to the candidate, allowing them to have a simple and pleasant experience. When you do this, make sure you keep your candidates involved and informed every step of the way. ONBOARDING AS A STRATEGY Early engagement leads to higher productivity, lower cost, and increased revenue. The Aberdeen Group reports that only 37 percent of organizations have their onboarding program go beyond the first month of employment. However, UrbanBound reveals as much as 20 percent of turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment. They also found that organizations with longer onboarding programs resulted in employees becoming 100 percent productive 34 percent faster. During this onboarding period, give the employee everything they will need to be successful and fully trained, so they can assimilate quickly and effectively. “Fully trained” will vary by organization and position, but providing new employees with comprehensive information about expectations, software and on-the-job training, step-by-step instructions, and additional material that will help them be productive right away, is essential to make this process work. Done right, this can redefine the employee experience, and allow your new hire to feel engaged sooner, increase their productivity in their new role faster, and allow for heightened proclivity towards your organization. It can also help you generate revenue more quickly, since you’re getting new employees up to speed faster. However, this may be easier said than done. To fully onboard them effectively, you need to be prepared. That means creating an established process for fast and comprehensive onboarding. Document all the essential information an employee would need to know, then communicate it to them within the 60-day onboarding period. Statistics show organizations that have an onboarding program experience a 50 percent higher new employee retention rate, so implementing a plan is very beneficial for your organization and new employees. CULTURE Challenging traditional organizational structure and processes can align with the needs and wants of the ever-changing workforce demands. This includes ideas around redefining what leadership means and how leaders define the culture of the organization, good or bad. Or it could be redesigning how your team members conduct their work, whether that be through new technologies or outside the box processes. Lastly, it could be restructuring where and how they do their work. Challenge yourself with the traditional ways organizations operate, and think about the best ways to do business. When you onboard new employees, make culture integration a primary focus and communicate it clearly. During this time, address the following areas: Workplace practices, policies, and philosophies. Leadership, mission, vision, and values. Work environment, dress, acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Work ethic and productivity standards. Professional standards of communication and behavior. Believe it or not, employee happiness and organizational financial results are tied to a strong, positive workplace culture. When you create an environment that is motivating and pleasant, your employees pick up on it. Acknowledging these changes and leading your teams to focus on the employee experience can give any organization a leg up in the talent race, as well as reduce turnover and boost productivity by having engaged employees that enjoy their job and do it effectively. Where are you winning the recruiting game? Where are you losing? Anne Barry Anne Barry is the Director of HR Operations at Aureon HR. She possesses more than 13 years of HR and leadership experience, currently leading a team of HR professionals who help managers and employees navigate their HR challenges. She's best known for identifying unique employment-related challenges and working with her clients and team members to create a positive resolution. She earned her Master's degree in Public Administration from Drake University.