Drop by Drop
As an employee retention speaker, I recently presented to a group of small business owners who all had less than 30 employees. Small employers face a unique challenge when it comes to employee retention. After the program, one owner of a company came up and spoke to me about how he has dealt with the lack of talent that currently exists. He has to “work with what he can get” so, to his credit, he has changed his approach to assimilating and training the millennials that he is hiring.
In the past, he used to just bring people in, give them some instructions, and put them out on the job. They might make a few minor mistakes but they would learn from those mistakes and quickly get better at their job. Now, he has detailed checklists of what needs to be done. He sits down with the new employee and reviews a list, has them ask questions, then lets them try a few of the items to be done on the checklist. When mistakes are made, he coaches them, gives them guidance and has the employee go at it again. In essence, he gives it to them “drop by drop.”
When they succeed and do something well he will praise them and tell them they did well. He uses this to reinforce their behavior so that he gets more of that same behavior. As he does this he sees their confidence grow so he gives them bigger, more important tasks. He begins to talk to them about how they can grow and learn and challenges them with training and schooling. He has found that this method has been remarkably successful at producing solid employees.
As an employee retention trainer, I will say, he has found one of the employee retention strategies that is needed to retain many millennials. Is it perfect? No. Does it work? Yes. This owner is 66. He has adapted to a changing employment market. It’s time to start adapting. If you don’t, you won’t have any employees to run your business.