Turning First Impressions into Long-Term Relationships
How to Make Your New Hire Poach Proof part 2
“The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Not at all. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered.” – Robert Fulghum
As we’ve discussed before, it takes a lot to find the right ERP Consultant, Director of Project of Management, or Developer and costs a lot to train and onboard a new team member. So after putting in all that effort, you want to make sure they stay with your company and keep growing with you – rather than take all that training to another ERP partner.
- Fair and competitive wages for the role
- Effective interviewing
- A timely, enthusiastic and fair job offer
- A consistent, organized, collaborative and communicative onboarding process
So, now that you’ve brought your new team member into the fold, how do you keep them? How do you make your new hire poach proof? With working in the ERP ecosystem, as much as we often focus on technical skills, tasks, and productivity, we need to remember that the key to team building is to turn first impressions into long-term relationships.
First Impressions With New Hires
I love movies, and I love movie previews. Someone is paid a lot of money to get people to buy tickets to a movie. Their job is to carefully take clips from the film and arrange them to peak your interest. I’ve found, sometimes, the product doesn’t always live up to the hype. The movie doesn’t always live up to the promises made in the preview. “The most romantic love story ever told”, “You will stand up and cheer”, “Action-packed from start to finish”, “Our employees love working here.” “We have a positive culture and inclusive environment.” You have also made promises to your new employee. Now it’s time to deliver on those promises of who you are and what you expect. The most important thing you can do to cultivate a long-lasting relationship with your new employee is communication. Clear, consistent, honest, and regular communication.
Goals & Expectations
Set clear and achievable goals and expectations both in the beginning and throughout their tenure with your company. We recently encountered a hiring manager at an ERP Reseller who was ready to fire their new employee because they would arrive at 10AM instead of 8AM. Unfortunately, the same hiring manager never laid out the expectations for when to be at work. They also had no idea if the employee was actually meeting the work expectations or not, and this is not the first new employee to have this issue. So is the issue really with the employees?
We would gently suggest it might be the environment. If it doesn’t really matter when your new ERP Developer starts work as long as their tasks get done by project deadlines, then the work and deadline should be what they are measured by, not their start time. If for example, you have an office environment where everyone is expected to start at the same time of 8:00am, so you can make sure no one feels pressured to work past 5pm, then lay out that explanation and explain the ‘why’ behind it. The ‘why’ always helps.
Is your message consistent throughout the company? You gave a really good pitch to this new employee during the interview process. Whoever did the onboarding probably reiterated those sentiments. Now that they’re mixing with other team members though, are your new employees’ teammates and direct supervisors sharing a different story? Horror stories about past ERP launches or projects? Are they receiving consistent feedback?
Although you can’t guarantee what every employee might mention to the new team member, you want to make sure that what you tell them in the beginning is actually the story they’ll hear later on. If there are areas that need improvement, be honest & up front about them so the new employee doesn’t feel misled or get surprised. No one expects a company to be perfect or that everyone feels blissfully happy in their job, but consistent messaging and honesty will do a lot more towards building a trusting relationship than painting a potentially inaccurate rosy image will.
Continuing on that trend of honesty, employees need both positive and constructive feedback for their performance. While many employees don’t need a ceremony or medal for completing a project or doing a great ERP go-live, they need to know they did good work. One of the most effective ways to let someone know they are doing a good job is to tell them how their work positively impacted the company or a client directly.
Employees also need to know when they aren’t doing something correctly or meeting expectations. So long as the process and expectations were clearly laid out, this doesn’t have to be an awkward conversation – simply explain why things are done a certain way. It should be constructive and educational.
Regularly communicating with your employees is powerful. It helps you to keep your finger on the pulse of how they are fitting in and doing the job. It also shows them that you are taking a vested interest in their success with your company. If you are present during the onboarding, have weekly check-ins for the first month, and then disappear, they will feel unimportant and devalued. Unfortunately, while 80% of employers think their employees leave because of money, 79% of people quit their jobs because of a lack of appreciation. On the other hand, if you frequently appreciate great work and care about your employees, they are 38% less likely to look for alternate employment. Just like nurturing your ERP client relationships has a big impact on attrition & renewals, nurturing your staff has the same positive impact.
No Such Thing As Poach Proof
There is no magic wand to wave. There’s no protective shield you can build around your employees to ward off potential poaching from other ERP partners and you can’t force an employee to stay who is determined to leave.
We’ve outlined a number of things we’ve seen work with other ERP partners though and hopefully they’ll help you significantly reduce the chances of losing that new employee anytime soon. Pay the position fairly. Interview your Candidates effectively. Make a fair, enthusiastic, informative, timely offer. Have an organized onboarding program. Set clear goals & provide regular feedback. Communicate consistently and openly once they are hired. These things will not only help you find the right Candidate, but increase your overall staff retention.