By Terri Reed, Human Resources Manager
Whilst the benefits of high speed internet connection or a discussion highlighting the importance of growing your online connections via social media are important, this article tackles connection from another angle. Your people.
Connecting with your staff is as vital to your business as any relationship in your life. Building a connection with your staff needs to start from the first contact in the recruitment process through to the end of employment and beyond. Even after they leave your business they may be a future client or referral source for additional clients or staffing needs.
Consider for a moment how you have engaged with your team at the above markers. In addition to talking about the job or the client were there any moments where you spoke with them as an individual? Have you delved into what makes them tick, what drives them and what they value as opposed to making a judgment on what is presented to you on the surface?
Developing real connection starts from your first interaction and grows expediently in the first few months, if you’re both trying. If one party isn’t connected then ultimately the relationship isn’t going to flourish and wheels will wobble until there is either an intervention of sorts or one party elects to cease connecting and the staff member moves on.
Being connected needs to take into account each stage of contact, i.e:
Recruitment – first impressions count both ways. What message are candidates getting when they see your ad, your office, and your people? How did the recruitment process progress – was communication fast and frequent showing that you’re keen?
Appointment – if there are any delays before making an appointment, keep in touch with your candidate and let them know that you view the process to date as positive. Continue to keep them informed each step of the way and move swiftly to get their contract to them. Ensure your offer represents what has been discussed. Be transparent on what you can deliver.
Onboarding – show them the love! Ensure their work space is set up, clean and tidy maybe a personal touch too, like a welcome card or small gift. Continue to create a positive onboarding experience by pre-testing their technology, ensure they can access all the software they need and that they are invited to upcoming client or social events and appointments relative to them.
Induction – outside the key HR related tasks, like office orientation, WHS, outstanding paperwork or talking through the ground rules, also create an opportunity for them to get to know their team. Appoint a buddy to show them the ropes. Schedule meetings with key personnel outside their team eg. organisational leaders, internal finance teams; whoever holds a key role in your business.
Performance – two way feedback plays a major role in building a strong connection. Create an atmosphere where your staff are confident they can come and speak with you at any time. Have a structure within your team of who their first point of contact is for on the job queries. Ensure that the person reviewing the work is the person giving direct feedback to the individual. If your structure means that feedback needs to go to more than the individual, invite all relevant stakeholders to the discussion so nothing is lost in translation and everyone understands expectations and clarity can be gained from certain decisions.
Growth – separate to performance as it is important that there is frequent contact around where individuals are heading in your business as well as where your business is heading and how they fit in your plans. Encouraging staff to take ownership of their role also means that as an employer you take ownership of communicating how they can contribute to your business, now and into the future.
Exit – when an employee has decided to exit your business, view this an extension of them owning their future. It may be that your business wasn’t for them, they’ve outgrown their role or simply that they have secured an opportunity that is more aligned with their values. Whatever the reason it is theirs to make. If you have truly built connection then their decision to leave will make sense to you as you’ll understand their drivers and whether your business is or can align to their ongoing goals.
Remember every stage of a relationship is an opportunity to foster greater engagement with your people meaning they will feel more valued and willing to do their very best for your business. Having authentic touch points where people feel understood and valued means you’ll see people stepping up to meet expectations and producing the work you retained them to achieve.
An Important Message
While every effort has been made to provide valuable, useful information in this publication, this firm and any related suppliers or associated companies accept no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents. Any suggestions should be considered carefully within your own particular circumstances, as they are intended as general information only.