In tackling sub-standard productivity levels, high turnover rates and increasing manpower costs, many companies make the mistake of putting the most emphasis on recruiting the right person. This is actually just the first step. In order to improve retention rates and improve productivity, especially amongst ‘star employees’, companies have to realise that the only way to discourage talents from leaving is as simple as the next two words: Employee Engagement.
On average, labour accounts for more than a third of total business costs in Singapore – especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). With high manpower costs and an uncertain economy, it’s now more important than ever to retain talents and keep them from resigning.
With this in mind, let’s explore how your company can do this accurately and effectively through these 3 simple ways of employee engagement.
An impactful Onboarding Programme
Typically, when a new hire starts his first day, he’ll get a desk equipped with the stationery he’ll require to start work – a computer or laptop, pens and paper, et al. And more often than not, the new hire is welcomed by a senior staff who’ll introduce him around the office while he struggles to remember who is who working for which department. This is followed by either a list of tasks he’s expected to deliver or access to information about the company for him to study on his own. Sounds familiar?
If your goal is to disillusion the new employee and allow him to be lost in uncertainties, then this is the way to go. But don’t be surprised when this idealistic and energetic new hire submits his resignation even before the probation period ends and you have to restart your recruitment process.
Instead, take the time to implement a dynamic and effective onboarding programme. A comprehensive onboarding programme can last for anywhere between 6 months to 2 years. Multinational corporations (MNCs) such as Shell, Microsoft and the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) engaged their new hires even before they join the company. This has allowed these companies to have one of the lowest turnover rates in Singapore as well as being consistently awarded as Top Employer of Choice and/or Gallup’s Great Workplace Awards.
An effective onboarding programme is role-specific, engaging and informative. Click here or here to find out how to create this simple yet substantially cost-saving recruitment tool so that your new hire advances his career with your company.
A constructive employee feedback loop
Once you’ve started your new hire on the right footing with a customised onboarding programme, the next level of employee engagement is to put in place a productive employee feedback loop.
An open communicative channel between management and employees should not be relegated to just the bi-annual performance reviews or the year-end bonus audit exercises. Rather, it should be an ongoing process that engages employees on a meaningful level. Research has shown that companies that promote open internal communications are more likely to have a lower employee turnover rate and inspire their employees to reach their potential and improve productivity.
Employ an open-door policy whereby employees are encouraged to voice their opinions in public during meetings or in private during informal coffee sessions with their managers. This will not only allow your manager to recognise rising talents, but also to understand any office conflicts or potential issues that may be undermining productivity in the workplace and resolve them quickly and proficiently.
Management of expectations
According to a recent study conducted by international recruitment firm Randstad, 55% of Singapore employees would stay with a company that promotes a good work-life balance while 53% will leave if there is a lack of career growth opportunities. What’s more, disengaged employees have cost Singapore’s economy between $4.9 and $6.7 billion annually.
However, as an SME, your company may not have the luxury yet to provide the high salaries and variety of benefits that MNCs can give. In this case, focus on what your company can do – which is to provide more opportunities for career progression through a robust training and development programme and flexible work arrangements to improve work-life balance. Take advantage of the Ministry of Manpower’s Work-Life Grant that helps applicable Singapore companies provide a work-life friendly environment, thereby engaging their employees to play as hard as they work.
Ultimately, ‘star employees’ may choose to leave despite the efforts your company has put in. However, this can be simply because they’ve been with your company for quite a while and it’s time for them to move on. In this event, they’ll be leaving with a positive experience and may even be your company’s unofficial spokesperson – encouraging the next generation to join you and your ever-growing company.