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Do the Sprinkle Spiral

Do the Sprinkle Spiral

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 The common/outdated/ineffective – “fire hydrant” – approach is to spend one to three days with a team member and provide them with all of the information, tools, tasks they could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!

Stay sharp,

Holly Hayes, President & Founder
ISI Consulting