For most conversations around HR, I inevitably compare the topic-at-hand to parenting (of which I have no experience) or dating (of which I have some good and some not-so-good experiences to pull from). Well, this article is no exception… you’ve been warned!
Let’s face it: Hiring great employees just isn’t enough. You’ve got to work to keep them. Sound familiar? Like any long-term relationship, it isn’t just about getting the first date. You have to continue working at it so the other person never forgets why they were excited about you in the first place. You know the drill – if someone’s interest in you begins to wane, they may begin to consider other options or forget just how awesome you are. And sadly, there will always be other dates – er, companies – vying for attention.
And to top it off, holding onto team members today is harder than ever.
People tend to stick around if they feel taken care of and appreciated (by the companies they work for – and their romantic partners alike). So there’s an obvious “to do” our team can’t recommend enough, particularly for businesses needing help with retention: Take advantage of every possible employee touchpoint. Yep, all of them.
We’re talking about each instance of communication with your team members – from the time they hear about your business to when they celebrate their 10th work-iversary and beyond. Employee touchpoints represent a chance to reiterate why sticking with your company is the right choice. And if you think it’s fine to wait until you see signs of restlessness or dissatisfaction from your staffers to start getting intentional about your touchpoints… don’t. They’re likely too far gone.
This strategy is a particularly big win for small and medium businesses that may not have the budget to provide other perks to employees. Communication – while it does require time and intentionality – doesn’t cost money, and, statistically speaking, it has a positive impact on your bottom line. Employees that receive personal feedback and company updates are more engaged; an engaged workforce increases business profitability by 21%!
When it comes to connecting with your team members,”less is more” does not apply. There are obvious touchpoints in nearly every employee journey (an annual review or acknowledging birthdays, for examples). But there are additional touchpoints you can choose to build into their experience – some of which can even be automated, yet still personalized. And adding this extra touch (pun intended) can make all the difference in the satisfaction and longevity of your team.
We’d like to believe that for most businesses it’s not a lack of caring that results in leaving touchpoint opportunities on the table, but of not knowing what opportunities they’re missing out on. So to nip that excuse in the bud, here’s a list of eight great, low/no-cost employee touchpoints businesses can easily implement if they haven’t already.
- Application / Interview Survey
This is a chance to ask, How did we do during this process? This is the first real experience an employee has with your company. If you make the effort to open communication with them right off the bat, you are setting the precedent that you genuinely care about their feedback and experience. And we urge you to step away from the boring, templated documents and processes. Weave in your company’s personality and culture. As one of the first touchpoints, make sure the candidate-turned-employee comes away from the job ad, the application, and the interview survey knowing you better and feeling even more connected to the brand.
- First Day Welcome
Most companies have some kind of special plan for a team member’s first day. But what touchpoints could you add to really make them feel welcome and part of the team? An orientation of some sort is likely necessary (Here are our policies, benefits, etc.). What about an office tour so they can get acquainted with the area and say hi to coworkers? How about scheduled chats with leadership? This shows that no matter where a new employee may be on the “chain of command,” they are worth the time for upper leadership to meet. Here’s a super simple idea: The day before the new hire joins, have team members write a short message on post-it notes and have them stuck to their desk when they arrive. It’s an unexpected and easy way to get coworkers involved in the big welcome.
- Onboarding / Orientation Survey
This is yet another opportunity early on to show team members you care about their employee experience and are seeking ways to improve it.
- Two-Week Check-In
Two weeks may seem early to do a formal check-in, but we think it’s just the right opportunity. At this point, you can ask about the “little things” that add up to make the difference between a work day that’s smooth sailing or frustrating – like, Is your desk chair comfortable? How’s your commute working out? Is your tech working for you? You can also ask if they have any questions about their KRA (Key Results Area) and what’s expected of them in their role.
- 90-Day Check-In
The 90-day mark is a big milestone for new employees – particularly those who enrolled in benefits that “kick in” at 90 days. This is your opportunity to not only check in on their workload and see if their work-life balance feels suitable, but to ask if they have any questions about their benefits. It’s also usually been long enough for team members to get a handle on the overall work climate, so now’s a good time to ask how they feel about the culture of the workplace and whether they have any recommendations for improvement or a coworker they wish to shout-out.
- Weekly Newsletters or Emails
If you’re not already communicating regularly with employees via email, intranet, or some other form, you really are missing out. Weekly may sound daunting or a bit extra, but you’ll be amazed how easily HR can come up with fresh things to communicate. We’ve found that weekly communication is effective and an easy cadence to stick to. Emails are a great way to pass along timely company news and updates, but don’t skimp on the fun stuff: Shout-out team members who are really working hard or are living out your culture; Share exciting personal updates from the team, like vacations, engagements, weddings, and babies; Share links to your company’s blog posts and social media posts to promote interaction (more touchpoints!). By getting in front of team members on a weekly basis, they realize they are worth the extra work it may take (though, trust us, it doesn’t take much).
- Company Meetings
The Covid-19 pandemic has made large in-person gatherings tricky, but when it’s safe to do so, we definitely recommend making company-wide meetings a regular occurrence. If there are updates to communicate to the team that are particularly exciting or impactful, this is a great excuse to gather together for an announcement and allow an opportunity for team members to strengthen work relationships. And then there are the annual excuses for getting together, like holiday celebrations or start-of-fiscal-year kick-off parties. And for those who work with remote team members, Zoom parties are a thing, so there’s no excuse not to include company meetings (be them virtual) as a regular touchpoint.
- Leadership Development Opportunities
A company can do all the right things when it comes to communicating with employees and keeping them engaged, but if there is no prospect of being promoted or adding new skills to their resume, many team members won’t stick around. Creating opportunities for professional growth and leadership is key for employers who wish to promote from within. It’s a win-win: The business can save on recruiting costs associated with finding new talent to fill management roles, and team members who’ve already assimilated into the culture and built relationships with coworkers feel rewarded when given the opportunity to move up. So what exactly can these developmental touchpoints look like? They can be in the form of leader- or employee-led workshops, educational lectures (from team members or from outside experts), team member advisory boards, and more.
When it comes to employee touchpoints, doing the bare minimum just isn’t enough. (And I’m not a couples therapist, but feel free to apply that in other areas of your life as well.) It’s time to get intentional about the overall experience of your people. Turnover is costly (according to this Forbes article, the average cost of replacing just one employee ranges from one-half to two times their annual salary), and it’s a cost companies can potentially avoid if they start seeing touchpoints as individual opportunities to remind their team members they are cared for and appreciated. So don’t wait – map out your current employee touchpoints and start filling in the gaps where opportunities are being missed.
If you understand the value of touchpoints but could use some help getting started, the Montani team is here for you! Reach out today to schedule a free, 30-minute call to bounce around some ideas and potential solutions.