It seems that everyone is scrambling to hire employees. How would the focus be different if instead organizations placed their emphasis on retaining good staff?

In Daniel Coyle’s The Culture Code, he describes an experiment at a call center in India that had turnover rates between 50-70% per year — embarrassingly normal for that industry. Attempts at raising salaries and adding benefits did not yield many results but a one-hour experiment did.

During employee onboarding, one group received an extra hour of orientation that focused on the employee rather than the company. Trainers sought to understand more about the people as individuals and what they brought to the organization. At the end of the session, instead of the company-branded shirt the other groups received, this experimental group received a shirt with the company name and their name. Those were the only differences in their initial intake process.

Seven months later, the group who received the personal emphasis was 250% more likely to be retained than those who only received company information and 157% more likely to stay than a control group. Wowza — that’s a difference from only one hour of intervention.

It wasn’t the hour — or the shirt. Coyle describes it as creating “psychological safety” — a culture-defining moment by the organization to engage people from the start and signal that they belonged. Keep scrambling to hire great people — but when you find them, put in the extra effort to connect them to your organization to make it more likely that they will stay.

Source: The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle, 2018

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