Onboarding: The Key to Retention and Job Satisfaction

January 30, 2018

By Rachel Makoski, Director of Food Service Equipment and Supplies

You've landed your ideal candidate. The offer letter is back, notice has been given and you'll see them on their start date, right? Wrong. Nabbing a key player is only part of the battle. The real challenge to any organization is keeping him or her engaged until the start date and ensuring a robust onboarding process to mitigate the chance of anyone else swooping in with a more enticing opportunity or their current company dangling a counter offer in front of them.

You’ve just spent a considerable amount of time interviewing and negotiating to get this person on your team, and with the average cost of hiring a new employee in the tens of thousands, it’s worth ensuring that they aren’t going to jump ship before they even come aboard.

The time between the offer being signed and the end of the candidate’s first six months is crucial to employee engagement, retention and overall job satisfaction and productivity. So, what can you do to ensure that your new hire not only shows up day one, but is excited to be there and doesn't pick up the phone when recruiters are calling?

Once the offer is signed, the next step is for HR to reach out to get all of the necessary paperwork filled out. This should not be as simple as just mailing them a packet of information. Set up a skype call with the new hire, and learn about them. Rather than laying out what your company offers, find out what's important to the new hire and focus the conversation around how the organization excels in those specific areas, then of course bring out the basics if they aren’t covered by that point. Immediately create open lines of communication, understand how they are best managed and how they’ve handled conflict or issues in the past so that in the future, HR is prepared to facilitate an atmosphere where they feel comfortable and confident bringing concerns to your attention. There are many situations where an employee is unhappy in their current role and the employer has no idea until they put in their notice. You want to preempt the situation by ensuring that you’re working with all of the information from the get-go.

The next step should be a welcome package. Maybe it’s as simple as a t-shirt or a mug with the company logo. Or, perhaps they’re working remote and it’s heartier to enable their home office. Just something to let them know they’re now part of a team that is happy to have them is a great onboarding practice. To that point, there should also be one or two reach outs from the person’s manager in the time between the signed offer and day one. Keep them close and let them know you’re excited to have them joining your team.

When possible, send out instructions on basic things that a new hire will need a few days prior to the start date. This should include basic procedures, email login info, company intranet info, standard day-to-day scheduling if there are weekly team meetings or skypes, etc. When this is out of the way prior to day one, it’s much easier for the new hire to come in feeling prepared.

When they log into their email and calendar, it should already have invites to respond to – onboarding should never only include  their direct manager, but should be diversified with lunches with peers, cross functional team meetings, mentoring opportunities outside of their department and other interactions that expose them immediately to the company culture and give them a better understanding of how each department interacts with their own while also organically creating opportunities for them to begin cultivating relationships with their new colleagues.

Be prepared, as first impressions last and it’s tough to overcome a poor one. With that in mind, day one should include exposure to your company’s values and long-term goals and showing how they’re actively present in the culture of the organization. Expose the new hire to as many team members as possible. With that in mind, keeping new employees engaged is crucial. Welcoming them to a culture that not only focuses on day-to-day work environment but also the outside interests of employees will ease their minds as they may have just walked away from stability for the unknown. Team outings, one on ones, and so many other activities happen in non-working hours, so this is an important aspect of the onboarding process.

Set expectations. Go over the metrics that their performance will be evaluated based on so that there is no confusion as to what they need to achieve and the roadmap that will take them there. Be clear and have everything in writing. It is important to be on the same page. Go over the training process, the first week, the first month, 90 days, etc. Set up monthly or bi-weekly check-ins during the first six months so that you’re both staying on track without micromanaging.

Ultimately people work for people they like. I can't tell you how often a personality clash with a higher up is the reason a candidate is primed for a move. Get to know your new employee as much as you can while maintaining your position as their leader. Earning their respect and trust is vital to long-term job satisfaction.

As a recruiter, I have seen great onboarding processes as well as poor processes. Making sure all the boxes are checked will ensure a satisfied employee and increase your chance of retaining him or her for the long run. What types of onboarding methods do you use at your company?

Rachel Makoski
Director of Food Service Equipment and Supplies
440-996-0871
rmakoski@directrecruiters.com

Rachel Makoski Recaps NRA 2017

May 31, 2017

By Rachel Makoski, Director of Food Service Equipment & Supplies

Walking into McCormick Place in Chicago last week was a food-lover’s dream. Attending the 2017 National Restaurant Association (NRA) show, I was immediately hit with so many delicious smells. After a 5-hour flight delay on Monday, you can imagine how agonizing it was to not have time to stop and taste some of the incredible food that was served at each booth! Even still, in the face of it being a quick visit, I was able to squeeze in some insightful conversations with folks in the Food Service Equipment industry and was captivated by some of the exciting innovation in the market and what that innovation necessitates for 2017 hiring within the industry.

For those that aren’t aware, the annual NRA show offers a chance for professionals in the Food Service market to attend educational sessions, view the latest innovations and technologies from over 2,200 exhibitors, and network with other professionals in the industry. As my first time attending the show, I was impressed by the show’s traffic, especially after being warned by other industry professionals that it may not be as crowded with it being a NAFEM year. Below are just a few of the interesting companies I saw at the NRA show that stood out among the rest.

RATIONAL
With one of larger displays at the show, RATIONAL certainly stood out, showcasing their NRA Kitchen Innovation Award Winning Self Cooking Center XS Model with celebrity chefs using the equipment to cook on-site in their RATIONAL restaurant space that they set up for the show. This combi boasts a 60% smaller unit than the full size with all of the full size functionality. With more than 40 years in business, and over 750,000 appliances produced, RATIONAL has been a pioneer in hot food preparation for professional kitchens. Another big hit at the show was their Connected Cooking, featuring cloud-based networking solutions for kitchens.

Micro Matic
With quite the growth trajectory over the last 5 years, Micro Matic is a global supplier of dispensing systems and solutions for draft beer, cocktail, water, and wine in over 120 countries. Founded in 1953, Micro Matic provides not only technology and solutions, but what stands out is their on-site dispense training programs and education to ensure customers deliver the highest draft quality. In addition to on-site training, they also offer online training and advanced training at their regional facilities in FL, IL, PA and CA.

Marra Forni
If you popped by Marra Forni’s booth, you were sure to be greeted by a slice of creatively conceived pizza made in their brick ovens– the Nutella-topped slice was incredible! In addition to delicious food produced by their make-to-order ovens, Marra Forni’s booth was exceptional in that their team’s energy was hard to match. It’s no wonder they’ve grown so quickly since they started manufacturing less than 10 years ago. While they’re known for hand-made Neapolitan ovens for commercial kitchens, they also have their own line of prep tables and dough mixers.

After seeing what these companies are offering, my takeaways are that the Food Service Equipment industry continues to become more innovative each year, creating growth in their engineering departments that trickles down to every other division. This increased need for talent, especially in the engineering field, was echoed by many of the companies I spoke with at NRA this year.

Rachel Makoski Director of Food Service Equipment & Supplies rmakoski@directrecruiters.com 440-996-0871

What were your thoughts on this year’s NRA show? Please reach out to me if you’d like to discuss!

*For more information on our Food Service Equipment practice area, see https://www.directrecruiters.com/food-service-equipment/