Never Lose an Employee Again: The Simple Path to Remarkable Retention

Never Lose an Employee Again: The Simple Path to Remarkable Retention

by Joey Coleman
Never Lose an Employee Again: The Simple Path to Remarkable Retention

Never Lose an Employee Again: The Simple Path to Remarkable Retention

by Joey Coleman


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If keeping employees is a challenge for you, Never Lose an Employee Again offers a proven framework for increasing retention, engagement, and in the process, profits.

Joey Coleman, one of the world's leading experts on employee experience, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to recruit top talent, bring them onboard successfully, and keep them engaged while they produce remarkable results for years to come.

Finding and keeping quality employees is one of the greatest challenges facing businesses today. With more people quitting their jobs each month than ever before and employees demanding flexibility, freedom, and advancement, companies are struggling to build a foundation with new hires that leads to long-term commitment. To effectively combat the hiring crisis and remain competitive, business owners and managers must design an employee experience program that begins on day one.

In Never Lose an Employee Again, Coleman offers a step-by-step playbook for creating a retention plan with long-term success. With more than fifty proven case studies from organizations on seven continents, Coleman details how you can forge a relationship with your people during each of the eight phases of the employee journey. For each phase, Coleman walks you through the six forms of communication integral to success (in-person, email, phone, mail, video, and even gifts) so you can better connect with your team. You’ll learn how to:

• write job descriptions that attract the right candidates (and plenty of them);
• counter the “hire’s remorse” that every employee feels (yet few businesses ever address);
• welcome someone on their first day in a way that will leave them talking about it years later;
• acclimate your people to get them up and running faster and more effectively;
• re-engage your existing employees to turn them into raving fans;
… and much more.

Never Lose an Employee Again will reshape the way you think about recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and retaining quality team members–whether you are an owner looking to hire your first few employees, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or an enterprise that needs to keep growing on a global scale.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593542385
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/27/2023
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 344,245
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Joey Coleman is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Never Lose a Customer Again. An award-winning speaker at national and international conferences, Joey specializes in creating unique, attention-grabbing experiences. His First 100 Days® methodology helps fuel the successful employee and customer experiences his clients deliver around the world.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The Cost of Losing an Employee
(and How to Avoid It)

Because every organization operates a little differently, let's consider a few questions to anchor our exploration of the costs associated with employees coming and going:

When you need to hire a new employee, do you wait until you have their salary in the bank or do you start looking first and figure out paying later?

How much time do you spend searching for qualified candidates, conducting initial interviews, narrowing the field to a few finalists, and then deciding which one to hire?

Once you've extended an offer, how much back-and-forth does it take before being accepted?

How much time, money, and energy do you spend getting a new employee up to speed on your way of doing business?

How long does it take before a new employee is meaningfully adding to your business in terms of personal productivity and cultural contributions?

Now let me ask you a much more important question:

How much time, money, energy, and effort do you spend trying to retain this new employee who you worked so hard to bring into your organization and get up to speed?

Most businesses overemphasize the beginning of the employee journey, investing significantly in the hiring process while presuming that after a day or two on the job everything else will magically sort itself out. It's not that hiring isn't an integral part of bringing a new employee into the fold-it's just that the effort can't stop there if the organization hopes to retain an engaged, active employee over the long term.

YOU MUST Own Employee Experience from the Start

Nearly every large business has an entire department (often called Human Resources) focused on recruiting and hiring employees. The challenge most businesses face is that they start hiring employees without the support of an individual solely dedicated to employee recruiting, onboarding, and retention . . . let alone an entire department focused on these crucial considerations.

Research findings and anecdotal experiences show that the typical enterprise will hire more than a dozen employees before feeling justified in hiring a dedicated human resources professional to oversee employee-related topics. The problem with this all-too-common approach? Who looked out for everyone who was hired before the human resources manager showed up on the job?!

By the time someone is hired to focus solely on the employees, the culture and operation they inherit usually requires major attention and repair-and often a complete makeover. Most companies have picked up bad habits, bad procedures, and even bad employees (in terms of their fit with the long-term mission and purpose of the enterprise).

Is it possible to avoid this scenario by owning the employee experience earlier in the organizational life cycle? Absolutely. But it requires a commitment to employee experience from the outset and ongoing dedication to keep honing the interactions as new employees are added to the mix and the organization grows in size, scale, and scope of responsibility.

From the moment a prospect first learns of a job opening, through the application/hiring process, into training, and then ongoing employment . . . who is waking up every morning with that employee's journey as their primary focus and concern?

If you don't immediately think of someone, don't feel bad. You're not alone. Most organizations around the world either have multiple people looking at their own siloed aspect of the journey (recruiters, interviewers, trainers, managers, HR personnel, etc.) or they have no specific person who is directly responsible for these crucial milestones along the employee life cycle. Rarely, if ever, is one person paying attention to every step in the employee journey.

The Cost of Finding, Training,
and Then Losing an Employee

Anyone who has ever run a business, managed employees, or read a book on HR is familiar with the staggering costs of the "people" portion of an organization.

Recruiting Costs

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is one of the world's foremost experts on all things related to work, workers, and workplaces. With over 300,000 members in 165 countries, SHRM member companies' constituents represent more than 115 million workers globally. SHRM's most recent benchmarking research looked at data collected from 2,400 member organizations around the world and found that the average cost per hire was nearly $4,700. The challenge with this number is that most organizations fail to accurately include the soft costs of recruiting a new employee, such as time spent by managers supporting the hiring process. When these are factored in, a better estimate of the cost of a new hire is three to four times the position's salary. As I've consulted with companies over the years, this shortcut estimate has been consistently accurate.

Let's do some quick math: Think of an open position in your organization, or the role you'd like to hire for next. How much do you think you'll need to pay that person? Don't just think of their salary or wages. Make sure to factor in the cost of their benefits, and if you want to be really accurate, any associated tax expenses. Do you have the number? Great, now multiply it by three (let's be conservative).

I'll wait while you pick yourself up off the floor . . .

Training Costs

The most recent research from the Association for Talent Development found that the average organization spends almost $1,300 per employee on training each year. That same research found that companies with less than five hundred employees spent an average of $1,985 per employee on training. These averages are based on in-house delivery of stand-alone learning content (e.g., training everyone on a new company process), external learning suppliers (e.g., training on a new software tool by a vendor), and tuition reimbursement. What aren't included are the much more difficult to account for "on-the-job learning" expenses like coaching, knowledge sharing, and job shadowing. These ongoing, untracked, and often hidden expenses are another factor to consider when weighing the full costs of bringing a new employee on board.

Turnover Costs

When you need to hire a replacement for a former employee, the process gets even more expensive and more complicated. In 2021, the costs of turnover to employers in the United States alone exceeded $700 billion, more than double the costs incurred in 2009. Distilling that figure to the individual employee level, SHRM reports that on average, replacing an employee costs six to nine months of the employee's salary. Gallup's State of the Global Workplace Report pegs the cost of replacing an exiting worker at one-half to two times the employee's annual salary. The Wynhurst Group projects the cost of hiring a new employee at 100 to 300 percent of the annual salary. Regardless of whether you take the low end or high end of these employee replacement estimates, the fixed expense of rehiring pales in comparison to the costs associated with lost time and wasted energy as a company searches for a new hire, trains them to do the job, and then waits while the employee gets up to speed before finally producing as much in revenue and profits as they cost in salary and benefits. Organizations that fail to track the true cost of employee turnover end up losing millions of dollars in profitability that go unnoticed.

As if the economic impact wasn't bad enough, the blow to team morale that comes from a revolving door of coworkers makes losing employees one of the most devastating situations a company will face.

Combine the harsh reality of employee replacement costs with the huge percentage of employees who quit (voluntary turnover) or are fired (involuntary turnover) each year and the impact on an organization becomes even more stark. In their most recent benchmarking survey, SHRM found that across all industries, the average involuntary turnover rate was 11 percent, the average voluntary turnover rate was 23 percent, and the overall average turnover rate was 30 percent. In other words, 30 percent of the employees who worked at a company at the beginning of this year will be gone by the end of the year!

Regrettably, this trend doesn't seem likely to subside anytime soon. According to the most recent research at the time of publication, some 65 percent of current employees are "actively looking for a new job" (up from 35 percent just three months earlier). It's clear that the problem of employee retention is a significant and growing threat to businesses of every size, in every industry, around the world.

Onboarding Is DIFFERENT (AND BETTER) Than Orientation

While this situation may seem bleak, there is a solution! Organizations that want employees to be more engaged, more productive, and stay longer must implement a structured, systematic onboarding process. While many organizations and HR professions use "orientation" and "onboarding" interchangeably, I believe they are very different in their focus, intention, and outcomes-and thus should not be thought of as meaning the same thing.

Orientation addresses questions like:

Where is the bathroom?

How long is my lunch break?

What is my manager's name?

What do I do if the fire alarm goes off?

What form do I need to fill out in order to get my paycheck?

Onboarding addresses less procedural, more substantial matters, like:

Where is this organization going in the future?

How long will it be before I feel like I'm contributing?

How will I continue to learn at this job?

What are my opportunities for advancement?

What do I do if I have ideas for how to make this workplace better?

I define "orientation" as:

An introduction to an employee's new surroundings and employment activities.

The operative word in this definition is "introduction." It's not the full story. It's just the beginning. It's about simple answers to common "where is" and "how to" questions.

On the other hand, I define "onboarding" as:

Inviting in new employees using a managed, structured series of contacts, designed to create a warm, welcoming experience.

Onboarding is a more robust, comprehensive approach for bringing a new employee into the organization. Onboarding assists and supports the new employee over time so they can develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes they need to be successful in their role.

The opening words used to define onboarding ("inviting in") focus on a request extended to a new hire to join something already in progress. It's an appeal to become part of the greater organization and its purpose. It is not a command, an order, or a task to be completed. The intention behind this solicitation sets the tone for the relationship and should be remembered throughout the entire employee journey.

The second part of the definition ("using a managed, structured series of contacts") emphasizes the importance of carefully considered and expertly executed interactions-especially as an employee navigates their first few days and weeks on the job. Onboarding activities should not be haphazard. The process should be conscientious and consistent across all new hires, regardless of when they join or what role they fill.

The final aspect of the definition ("designed to create a warm, welcoming experience") is crucial. Engendering feelings of warmth and trust make a new hire feel embraced by the organization. While there are certainly key things you'll want a new employee to learn, in the initial stages of onboarding you should focus on the feelings of the process just as much, if not more than, the outcomes. New employee interactions should be friendly and collegial, as research shows that warmth creates trust. Feelings of trust can quickly temper any anxiety or concern a new hire might feel.

Most Organizations Aren't Good at Onboarding

We instinctively and logically understand that an effective onboarding process is good for employees. But as we've seen with lack of ownership of the employee experience, most organizations don't invest enough time or attention in their onboarding activities. One study found that 76 percent of HR leaders felt onboarding practices were underutilized at their organization, while another found that 36 percent of organizations lack any structured onboarding process. The employee experience paralleled these findings, with research from Gallup showing that only 12 percent of employees think their company did a great job of onboarding. For those of you who don't want to do the math, that means that 88 percent of employees find their company's onboarding to be lackluster.

Many organizations' onboarding efforts hurt the employee experience more than help it. A study of 1,500 employees across a variety of industries found that during the onboarding process, 20 percent of new hires are confused about what happens next in their employee journey. After finishing the onboarding process, 20 percent are unlikely to recommend the employer to a family or friend.

Employee Attitudes, Behaviors, and Sentiments Have Changed Dramatically in Recent Years

The impact of inadequate onboarding programs is being exacerbated by workers' shifting beliefs about the employer-employee relationship. And it's not just the millennials who are changing their attitudes. These shifts are happening across every demographic and psychographic population. The research team at Gallup summarized the current "state of the employee," noting:

Employees are less inclined to stay with a job simply because it provides them with a paycheck. They signed up for a certain experience, and if they do not get that experience, they are more than willing to look elsewhere. Employees are consumers of the workplace. They are drawn to brands they can connect with. And they stick with-even advocate for-brands that honor their promises.

This sentiment aligns with the data on employee resignations, or "quits" as they are referred to by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. When 3.6 million employees voluntarily left their jobs in July 2019, it was the highest recorded number to date and marked nine consecutive years of increasing quit rates. This number paled in comparison to the 4.3 million employees who quit in August 2021 and the 4.2 million who quit in August 2022. In 2012, 25 million workers in the United States voluntarily quit their jobs. In 2022, that number was 50.5 million workers-more than doubling in just ten years.

While these statistics reflect quit rates in the United States, the trend is global in nature. Microsoft's 2022 Work Trend Index queried 31,000 people in thirty-one countries, finding that 52 percent were likely to consider changing employers in the next year. The sentiment seems to be growing, as detailed by a Future Forum report in early 2022 that found more than half of workers around the world were planning to look for new jobs in the next year. Data from France (53 percent), Germany (55 percent), Japan (55 percent), the United Kingdom (60 percent), and Australia (64 percent) shows the trend impacting continents beyond North America. The challenge of finding and retaining employees is creating labor market turbulence in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Asia for both skilled and unskilled positions.

Diving into these numbers deeper reveals that many employees leave very quickly after they start a new job. Work Institute analyzed data from 234,000 exit interviews and found that 40 percent of new hires quit in the first year, with about half of those leaving in the first 100 days (hmmm . . . I wonder where we've heard that timeline before?). Half of all hourly workers leave new jobs within the first 120 days. The Wynhurst Group found that 22 percent of all employees quit in the first forty-five days and a shocking 4 percent quit after just one day on the job!

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