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Herb Niles on sales and marketing: You hired them, now keep them

August 16, 2006
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As reported in our previous article (May FDO), we are noticing a trend to higher salaries, reflecting a stronger job market and a shift towards an employee-driven market. That shift has seemingly been validated by a surprisingly strong jump in wages, according to the government’s June jobs report.

Our own business has continued to reflect that as well; most significantly by virtue of having three offers turned down recently, an event that is frustrating to the hiring company as well as the recruiter. Probably the only thing more frustrating in the hiring process is to make a hire, and then have the employee quit after a short period of time.

It’s easy to blame the new hire (and even the head-hunter if one was involved!) when you lose a new recruit, but I suggest this is one of those situations that also requires some self-scrutiny.

First impressions

First impressions are crucial, especially the first impression a new hire gets of your company. According to the Pryor Report, studies show that a negative impression of your company during the first 60-90 days of employment can lead new personnel to look for a new job within the year. While circumstances will be different for various positions, here are some suggestions for putting your best foot forward.

Start before the new person does: Stay in touch with the candidate after he/she has accepted the position to answer any questions, help in any way or simply reinforce their decision. And make sure the new hire’s work place is ready for the first day. This can include business cards, computer/lap-top, cell phone, etc.

Designate a mentor or partner: It makes a strong statement to have someone, other than the manager, lined up to show the person around, give them the ”lay of the land,” make introductions and be an ongoing “go to” person for questions advice, etc. For field sales, this might be a neighboring sales rep.

Begin with the basics: The learning curve is shorter if people are firmly grounded in the basic knowledge they need to understand their job. Focus on the why, when, where and how before moving on to assignments with specific expectations. Don’t drown new hires with too much information.

Keep the person’s family in mind: A new job obviously represents change, which can be stressful not only to the person but his or her family as well. While true of any change in employment, this is especially so when the new job involves relocation. Here you have a “package” deal. In these situations care needs to be taken to help the whole family acclimate into the community as well as the new hire into your company.

The hiring process is time-consuming and expensive, both in real dollars and opportunity cost. By creating a positive environment for your new hires, companies can help ensure retention, maximize their investment and minimize turnover.

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