Good on-boarding of new employees and volunteers in your organization is THE secret ingredient in 2023. Finding and retaining team members is a recurring theme playing out right now across the country. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee turnover rate in 2021 was 47.2%. In addition, the average cost to replace an employee can range anywhere from half to two times their salary, according to data from Gallup. And those numbers are only getting worse. You must…I repeat…you must flip your on-boarding process on its head if you want to keep your new team members.
On-boarding in 2023 needs to be completed in phases. I call it the sprinkle spiral. Let me explain. The common/outdated/ineffective – “fire hydrant” – approach is to spend one to three days with a team member and provide them with all of the information, tools, tasks they could ever need and then walk out the physical or virtual door. Boom…you’re done. You encourage them to reach out to you with any questions. You notice that “deer in the headlights look” but think…they will magically be fine the next day. You’ve done your part, and after all, you have important work to do and need to get caught back up. You recognize that the “fire hydrant” approach isn’t working when you’re frustrated and not sleeping at night because you are not getting the results you and your team desired. Sound familiar?
We need to move away from the “fire hydrant” approach and do the sprinkle spiral. I’ve completely made this phrase up – so please don’t Google it. Instead of soaking newcomers with information, let’s spray team members with information in different chunks. Start with broad/high-level information and then go deeper – just like all of the adult learning models show works best. Allow time for the team member to practice/demonstrate a skill before moving to the next item on a checklist. We put together a plan that could range anywhere from two weeks to six months, depending on the complexity of the job role. We must adopt a mindset of the long game. We want this team member to be wildly successful and with us past the 60-day mark. To accomplish that we must invest our energies to train in more engaging and effective ways. We all need to create spray spirals.
I have no doubt that new team members and volunteers will be excited to join your team this year. But I want them to stay excited past the first day and three month mark. How might you flip the on-boarding fire hydrant on its head and have spray spirals across your department?
Let’s all start doing the sprinkle spiral. And if you and your team want to work on some strategies to help develop your own sprinkle spiral, give me a call, and let’s get together. I cannot wait to hear your success stories!
Holly Hayes, President & Founder
Yep…I did it. I’ve been off the grid for nine days and I’ll admit, it feels a little strange. I whipped into work this morning ready to roll (I thought) and realized I’d left my cell phone at home. Had to turn around and run back for that. Next, I struggled with setting my laptop up in the docking station. You see – my laptop has not been touched in nine days. Needless to say, I was a little rusty and my team members let me know they found it quite humorous. It was definitely a Monday kind of Monday.
There’s more and more evidence that we all need to take a “screen break” every now and then. I completely agree that we all need to “detox” from the large and small monitors in our lives and reclaim how to think without them. We need time to think and marinate on a topic without immediately Googling it or researching an idea. Having time to sit with our thoughts and ideas without a single email, phone call, text message or notification is essential. Don’t worry – the world will still go on, I promise. And I submit, you will probably be more thoughtful, creative, and in-tune with your surroundings by intentionally fasting from the digital monitors that have overcome our daily lives.
Just because I was off the grid while in Mexico this past week doesn’t mean I wasn’t productive. Quite the contrary. I created two new frameworks for strategic planning and an accelerated action plan and even crafted a poem depicting part of the origin story for my business. I did this all with nothing but pen and paper. Throughout the week, I scribbled over pieces of the work and refined ideas further as I was able to think about them more. I’ll even revisit all of this again before taking to the keyboard to type up my final versions. It felt refreshing changing up the process, and first starting with paper and uninterrupted space to really reflect and think about issues. How might I help clients who are having a particular problem? What framework, over-arching focus question, or scripted story could unlock the gridlock and help clients move past their blocks and move toward action? Because I had nine days of no phone calls, no emails, no reminders, and no internet to tell me what the answer was, I was forced to be creative. To come up with ideas and answers that work for MY clients, in OUR collective environment.
If you are stuck with an issue, I encourage you to take a day or two and unplug. No phone calls, no laptop, nothing…but you, some paper, some books (not work-related) and time. I’m sure it will feel downright weird at points, but it will be worth the effort and discomfort. You were created to be creative. You were called into your position at your organization for your perspective. What do you think? Don’t worry what 1,000 followers think or the latest peer-reviewed article says. What do you think and know? What do you want to test and explore? The most successful people always say there was a point where they had to trust their gut and instincts. What they personally knew and had learned. You can’t do that unless things are quiet enough to listen and hear.
Holly Hayes, President & Founder