Making the Most of Your Staff

How do I manage a new employee?
They say first impressions count and this couldn't be truer than when you're helping a new employee integrate into your team.
There's a mixture of excitement and nervous energy as the new employee tries to establish themselves in their new surroundings and the existing employees suss out the new member of the group. It's your job to make sure this process runs smoothly. Showing them the basics After greeting them to the premises and showing them to where they will be working, you should take them through the basic setup of your office and give them the grand tour. Show them all important aspects of daily workplace life (from coffee preparation to car space) Always try and take your new recruit out to lunch on their first day with a few colleagues so you can get to know them in a more informal environment. Don't be tempted to bring too many people as you don't want to over intimidate them on their first day. If possible, assign them a mentor who does a similar job to them who they can learn from when you're not available

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Learning the ropes You then need to slowly start providing them with a drip feed of information that will help them do the job that they've been employed to do. As well as organising a formal training programme, aim to schedule in some time for them to get to know the job and the systems on their own. Sometimes there's nothing like digging around to see what you can uncover yourself. You should schedule regular meetings throughout the duration of the probation period with clear goals for the new recruit to meet at each stage. This will give them something to focus on and you something to judge them by. Getting known Over the first week or so you should encourage your new employee to set up meetings with all the people they will be working with on a day-to-day basis. Rather than setting up the meetings for them, it's better to suggest they make approaches themselves as it will help them get to know names, responsibilities, meeting room protocol, etc. Introduce them to internal and external personnel who they will be meeting regularly, such as suppliers, IT teams and the person from finance who will sign off their expenses. Handling a new employee with care can have an extremely beneficial pay off in the long run for both parties involved.

‘Needle in a Haystack’ eBooks

Making the Most of Your Staff

How can I measure employee loyalty and satisfaction?
Finding out if your employees are happy is a vital part in improving productivity and reducing staff turnover.
You're never going to get a good idea of what your employees think if you don't ask them. Employees are often scared of telling you exactly what they think. There are various open and anonymous methods you can use to canvas your employees: Suggestion box - the simplest form of getting employee opinions, but one that is difficult to get any real insight from. Suggestions are open to interpretation and can often be vague.

Online comments - If your company has an intranet, launching a forum monitored by HR can create a discussion with feedback from both employer and employee. Questionnaires -these can be conducted at regular intervals and follow roughly the same format so you can get an idea of how your employee satisfaction fluctuates over time. Employee committees - Every company should aim to have a group of employees that represent the various parts of the

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business who meet regularly to discuss major issues.

Q&A - The most natural form of canvassing opinion, but not always the most effective. Putting your managers up in front of employees and getting them to answer questions gives them very little time to research answers, even if some of the questions have been planned.

As well as getting opinion of your employees as a group, you need to focus on individuals and their specific needs. 1-2-1 discussions should take place with their direct line manager, but you should also look to have a process where all employees can approach other people within the business to discuss issues they don’t feel they can raise with their usual boss. Always try and investigate if your employees need extra training. Often people become dissatisfied in their job because they feel they have nothing left to learn. Giving them a new skill to develop could be the motivation they are looking for. Take notice There's no point conducting these surveys if you do nothing with the results. After collating and analysing the results of whatever surveying methods you decide upon, communicate with your employees (either as a group or individually) on what you plan to do. Your employees need to know that there isn't a bottomless pit of funds to run the business but don’t dismiss suggestions without consideration. Nothing gets solved by bottling things up, so make your business an open environment where issues get discussed, and changes actually happen.

‘Needle in a Haystack’ eBooks

Making the Most of Your Staff

How can I introduce flexible working arrangements?
With options including combinations of compressed hours, job sharing and shift work, it’s an area that requires deep consideration for every company.
Retaining and keeping staff motivated pays real dividends to any business. More and more organizations are also looking to reduce costs and become more effective with the resources they have, and the government is continually trying to promote more flexible working hours. The business benefits of flexible working Supporters of flexible working claim that, even in a downturn, businesses adopting flexible working practices might find that it is not a mere compromise strategy. In fact, it may bring improved staff motivation, recruitment and retention, greater customer satisfaction, increased productivity, reduced sickness, and greater cost-effectiveness. The considerations of flexible working Despite its apparent advantages, flexible working is not something to be rushed into. A carefully considered approach will pay dividends in ensuring a smooth and positive transition.

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These considerations include estimating in advance:
• • • • • •

How will your quality of service be affected? What will be the impact on service delivery? What core hours do you want employees to work? What success measurements can you put in place? What equipment will distance workers require? What will be the benefits to your clients and customers?

Implementing flexible working Once you have answered these questions, there are a few hurdles you will need to overcome before implementing the new procedure:

Board buy-in - Step one is to have an agreement and support at the highest levels. Staff buy-in - This is by no means automatic. Take the time to find out exactly what your employees want. Start with a pilot scheme - Fine-tune your policy over the first three to six months, encouraging feedback. Introduce guidelines – Detail what you have learnt over the course of the pilot period to prevent problems from arising. Review regularly - Review progress against your goals and make any necessary tweaks.

If it all sounds like a lot of hard work for questionable rewards, remember that well implemented flexible working might not only passively help your company ride out the recession - it might also actively enhance its performance.

‘Needle in a Haystack’ eBooks

Making the Most of Your Staff

How can I reduce staff turnover?
You've put a lot of effort into getting the right people in your business and the last thing you want them to do is leave.
Spotting the trends of when employees leave your company will help you understand why they leave and make efforts to prevent it happening in future

Seasonal turnover - This is often connected to employees who have salaries that are mainly commission based as they will look to follow environments and markets where they can maintain money making opportunities. Responsibility turnover - Sometimes you can get into an employment cycle where once employees have established themselves in their job, they decide it's time to move on as there is no next step for them to take in the organisation. Mass exodus - The worst case scenario for a business, when a large number of employees decide to hand in their notice at the same time. This could be down to a new manager that the team doesn't get on with, a dispute on wages with a union, or stories in the media about potential financial trouble in your industry.

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Minimising exits Many of these factors are out of your control, but there are certain practices you can put in place to try and minimise staff turnover.

Improving recruitment - Look to employ people who are flexible who can meet the changing needs of the business. Communicating with employees - Be open with your employees, share your vision of the future and let them know how they fit into the overall goals. Listening to employees - You won't be able to take on all their suggestions, but it's important to at least give them your full consideration. Increasing benefits - Other than salary try and relate these to the issues you think your company may have; for example, an extra day of annual leave can help the work-life balance. Offering praise - Regularly let your employees know they are valued members of the organisation. Be careful to spread this praise around equally. Staff training and development - Continuous development plans show your employees that you are thinking about their future.

Occasionally unexpected resignations can rock the business. This is where your negotiation skills come into play. Recruiting is generally an expensive and time consuming process so the more you can do to keep the staff you have, the better.

‘Needle in a Haystack’ eBooks

Making the Most of Your Staff

Why do good employees leave?
Every company has their golden apples, but often these are the employees who are most likely to move on.
If you've got your recruitment process right, you should have some great employees within your organisation. People, who are genuinely good at their jobs, are creative, hard working, forward thinking, flexible and ambitious. The need to succeed 'Ambitious' is the key word here and it's up to you to ensure your best employees can achieve what they want within your company.

Power - This can be translated as responsibility and if you want to ensure your best employees stay, you need to show them exactly how you see their progression through the business Honour & Fame - On top of their regular reward for doing their job (their salary) it's always good to give regular praise to your top employees. Having their name up in lights gives most ambitious the necessary ego boost to continue as before. Wealth - This doesn't mean you should be throwing money at your good employees left, right and centre, but your best employees should be able to see exactly what they need to do to achieve it.

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Fighting off the competition Every company is after the best talent and good people are quickly recognised in the industry. There are various ways your best employees can become known:

CV databases - Even though they aren't actually looking for a new job, many people have their details on job sites to stay updated on the kind of jobs that are out there. Recruitment agents - Effectively talent touts, if they get hold of a good CV they will instantly let their clients know that this individual is on the market. Head-hunters - Scouring the business world to find the movers and shakers that will help them earn big placement commissions. Being head hunted is a great ego boost for anyone and it's an experience that only the best employees go through.

The catch 22 is that the more you praise your employees and hold them up as a vital part of your company, the more they will become known and will be in the crosshairs of other businesses. The ego has landed When somebody knows they are good, there is potential for them to become too big for their own good and start taking their job, responsibilities, position and colleagues for granted. Whilst praising your best employees, always steer their thoughts back to how much you have helped them reach where they are today. Ask them to help other employees reach the level of excellence that they have and show that the best way to progress is to lead with dignity.

‘Needle in a Haystack’ eBooks

Making the Most of Your Staff

How do I manage an employee departure?
Whatever the reason for a departure, good preparation will mean an easy transition period and a smooth ‘bedding in' period for the replacement.
Employees move on to pastures new for a whole host of reasons, including promotion, a new job, retirement, redundancy and dismissal. Whatever the reason for their departure, good preparation will mean an easy transition period and a smooth ‘bedding in' period for their replacement.

If you're dismissing someone at very short notice, it's not always possible to get the pre-departure preparation completed. However, you should look to get as many of the following actions completed as soon as possible. Understand precisely what the departing employee does. In addition to what is stated in the job description, ask the employee to list the tasks they perform, and the people and procedures involved. Create a plan for handling their workload. Start this process as early as possible so co-workers are up to speed in advance of their departure.

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Remind them of confidentiality. When employees leave, they know a lot about your business. If they signed a confidentiality agreement, review it with them to make sure it's clear. Communicate with affected staff. A co-worker's departure can be traumatic for the colleagues, so call a meeting to reassure them. If the departure also results in a promotion opportunity, be sure to point this out as a positive opportunity. Schedule an exit interview. There are many insights that your company can gain by conducting an exit interview with the departing employee - even the ones you are glad to see go. On the day they're leaving, retrieve company laptops, PDAs, mobile phones, USB keys, company-related keys, pass cards, and ID cards. Change access codes where necessary. Leaving drinks are the traditional way of waving an employee goodbye. These could be a few short words in the office or a full blown party with an open bar. Delete his name from company literature including letterheads, websites and company brochures, as well as any internal organisation charts or telephone lists. Take security precautions. Deactivate all network and workstation passwords, all company email accounts and any remote access accounts.

Remember - the more constructively you view and handle this process of change, the more positive and less traumatic the transition will be, for everyone concerned.

‘Needle in a Haystack’ eBooks

Finding the perfect employee is never easy, but if you use the right tactics, pulling the needle from the haystack needn’t be an impossible task. Our series of eBooks brings together expert advice to help you improve your hiring processes. For more useful tools and tips, visit hiring.monster.co.uk

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