The New Management Mindset - 6 Keys for Greater Staffing Stability
By Cara Silletto Founder, Crescendo Strategies | March 10, 2019
Communicate expectations early. Contrary to popular belief, professional behavior is not "common sense" to new hires, so it is critical to communicate unwritten policies and expectations as soon as new staff come on board. If you've been working as a manager for decades, it may seem obvious that taking your shoes off while at the front desk is unprofessional. But for someone new to the business, it may not seem to be a big deal. That's why it's important to communicate – regularly – all the expectations you have for employees.
Management Effectiveness: Communicate Early, Often, And Clearly
The need for communication extends to job responsibilities as well. More communication means less missed expectations down the road, so be clear up front. If, during the onboarding process for housekeeping staff, they are never told to follow a certain cleaning checklist, the results will likely be inconsistent and may not meet your expectations. This is where detailed communication from the beginning helps everyone do their jobs at the standard you expect and why fool-proof checklists are so valuable today.
Your effectiveness as a manager can often be measured by how well your employees are performing. And if expectations for someone's job responsibilities are not laid out clearly from the beginning, their lack of performance makes everyone look bad. Stronger, detailed communication can eliminate most mistakes, confusion, or poor performance.
Attraction & Recruiting: Expedite The Hiring Process In Your Department
Staffing stability starts with getting the best candidates in the door. But with unemployment so low, we are in an employees' market today; so the best candidates are not going to wait as their application or resume sits on someone's desk or in an inbox. If you need to stabilize your staffing, find the hiring process bottlenecks and eliminate them to expedite your efforts so you don't lose any more quality candidates in your pipeline. If you take your time, competitors will snatch up the top talent that refuses to wait to hear back from your company.
As a manager – especially if you are not in command of your hotel's hiring processes – this can be difficult. But your hands aren't completely tied. Check in with your HR leader or hiring manager regularly to get the status on hiring and to continue moving the process forward. Make sure no one is sitting on a pile of applications to review, or procrastinating bringing candidates in for interviews. If they are, you're losing good talent.
And be sure not to let hired applicants wait too long to get started either. Today, some candidates will accept an offer and then never show up for orientation because they got a better offer (or earlier start date) from another organization where they also applied. You can avoid losing this already-vetted talent by offering orientation start dates more often each month.
Guidance Upon Entry: Think Beyond HR For Onboarding
Speaking of orientation, gone are the days when a new employee spends day one with HR, and then is suddenly ready for the job. As a manager, it can often be helpful for you to step into the onboarding process and guide new hires as well. After HR takes them through the standard company onboarding processes, what do you do next when they hand the new staff over to your department? What does that new employee's first week in the department look like?
Onboarding is no longer just an HR gig – its falls on management's shoulders too, and seeing their manager's face on the first day can mean a lot for a new hire. Building relationships with your employees early pays dividends down the road and is critical for gaining trust and loyalty if you want them to stay. They should also be encouraged to build relationships with other staff members and be set up with a staff liaison from whom they can ask any questions and get more resources.
Managers would also do well to think beyond a standard onboarding timeline. Yes, a new employee will go through their typical initial training period. But what comes after that? Within your department, are you checking in on newer employees regularly? If your organization has experienced some staffing instability, can you pin down in which risky time periods employees are leaving? If they're leaving after a few days, a few weeks, or within the first 90 days, make a point to check in with new hires during those times to see how they feel about the role, the company and your leadership approach. Figure out what kind of additional training they might need, or what questions keep popping up for them. Putting effort into regular check-ins can be a great foundation for stabilizing your staff, as the "sink or swim" model for training is not as effective as it once was.
New Staffing Models: Expand Available Advancement Opportunities
Today's workforce doesn't want a new job they're already good at: They want a new job that is the next stepping stone to advance their career. A rise in employee turnover can often be explained by employees not getting enough advancement opportunities and feeling stuck or bored in their positions. Instead of feeling comfortable with their role and getting better at it over time, once staff know how to do the job, they are ready for the next stepping stone – and will leave if you don't offer options.
But what if your department doesn't have any higher positions available, or there's not enough in the budget to give additional pay increases? The good news is there are other ways to provide advancement to new hires beyond a traditional promotion.
An easy way to create advancement opportunities is to build out levels within certain roles. A person with three years of experience is typically better at a job than someone with three months of experience, so first define what makes the more experienced person better. After outlining that difference, you now have at least two levels of that particular job and can create a "Level 1" and "Level 2" job description. Voila! Now you have a new stepping stone that is likely to keep people in their roles longer.
Mentoring is also a good option: Either give a new employee a mentor from whom they can learn and/ or allow them to become a mentor for newer hires to help communicate your expectations.
Expanding an employee's network can also make your company a place where people want to stay. Introduce new hires to the VIPs at your hotel and give them time with your leaders to ask questions and have a conversation.
And finally, sending staff to off-site industry conferences or seminars can also be a great option for advancing their knowledge and career. Creating new models is all about getting creative.
Empowered Champions: Own Your Retention
What's the best way to strengthen retention in your department? Own it. Don't play the blame game of whose responsibility it is to reduce turnover and start pointing fingers. Be the retention champion for your department and empower leaders around you to think differently about how to retain the talent on their teams. Executives, managers and HR professionals all play a part in retention – and blaming each other is a losing (and endless) cycle.
As a manager, you play a vital role in building a culture where people want to work. This involves checking in on new hires and seasoned employees alike to ask questions about what's working and what's not. Figure out what adjustments are needed based on real feedback from staff – not your assumptions.
Also, creating an employee council who meets with leaders regularly can be a valuable tool for keeping your finger on the pulse of how staff feel about the organization and your leadership approach. Having a ready-made platform for employees to voice their opinions and provide potential solutions to big-picture issues allows for quicker, more effective adjustments to be made.
Trust Through Transparency: Be Authentic And Communicate Openly
It's no secret that today's workforce is not a fan of secrets. Staff wants to know what's going on at their company, and discomfort grows when there's a lack of communication from the leaders above them.
Managers can play a huge role in filling the information gap and creating trust between higher-level leaders and the employees on their staff. Today's workers want to know the "why" behind decisions made at their company. So, if you've created a new policy about cell phone use, or you've made a big change in terms of job procedures, you can create a greater level of trust when you explain your reasoning behind those decisions. This approach also reduces the amount of staff pushback upon rollout.
Without more open, candid communication today, employees will make their own assumptions as to why a policy was changed or how the company operates behind the scenes. Eliminate these information gaps with a greater level of transparency that keeps your employees in the know. Staff who have more confidence and trust in their leaders are much more likely to stick around.
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