As an employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer, I regularly see my clients go through tremendous periods of growth where they have an infusion of new people into the organization on their production floor. You walk out onto the floor and see ALL these new faces and the chaos that tends to come with a flood of newbies. As most of you know, in addition to being an employee retention author, I am an avid CrossFit participant. This past week I saw a real parallel between what happens in many manufacturing plants when I was at my CrossFit box. We had a flood of newbies come into class. In CrossFit the moves are complex because you are doing dozens of different lifts and activities. In our 6AM class almost a third of the class was newbies. This created a major problem for the one coach that was present.
The coach was struggling to show the newbies the proper technique even though they had gone through a week long orientation called “on ramp.” Does that sound just like your manufacturing facility? A whole batch of new hires goes through the “HR orientation” and then get dropped into production. They all look like deer in the headlights. They are nervous. They can’t find the tools and other production materials they need yet the line is ready to start. The line starts and it looks like a herd of cats! Usually something goes wrong and production gets screwed up.
This was the scene at our CrossFit box this past week. However, because CrossFit is a close-knit community and very welcoming, chaos did not ensue. As the coach is helping one person, several experienced members began helping the newbies in between their various lifts. The newbies were relieved and got acclimated enough to be ready to do the WOD (Workout of the Day). Chaos did not ensue! Even though this is just a gym, it was reminiscent of what we used to do in manufacturing when I was an HR Leader. The only difference was…our experienced people helping the newbies was planned. It was set up in advance and done by design. We knew what the newbies would be like.
This employee recruitment speaker knows from his HR days that when you have a large influx of newbies you need to plan and then use your experienced people to help out, guide and train the newbies. The key is to plan for the event! When you do that, people don’t feel frustrated and quit. It’s as simple as that. Many newbies leave during the first 30 days because of the fear and frustration they experience. Counter those emotions by using your experienced people to guide and train them so you don’t experience a spike in your employee turnover.