The hard bit is already over. Whether you’ve chosen to recruit online with human resource management software or otherwise, the interview slog is finished. Kaput. You’ve found someone who you believe will fit nicely in the team and company culture. So, how do you engage them quickly, and better yet, retain them for the long-haul?

It’s no secret that happy workers = a more productive workforce. Recent statistics find that bringing a smile to your employee’s face will make them 12% more efficient. Not bad, eh? So how do we get the latest addition grinning from ear to ear?

Well if you ask an expert on people management, James Malia of performance improvement specialists P&MM, he says that introducing the new employee to their main colleagues is a key first step.

“They’ll feel much more comfortable once they’ve had the chance to meet and talk with everyone they’re going to be working with,” says James.

Why not consider taking the new recruit out to a pub lunch with the team? It’ll help them feel valued and an integral member of the
group. “Whatever a new employee is going to be doing, everyone has a vital role to play in making the business succeed. It’s important for people to feel part of the team.”

Time for a beer

So, your new employee has bonded with their colleagues over a lunch-time beer. Now the training begins. But just how quickly should your new colleague be playing by your rules?

For small businesses in particular, most training involves learning on the job. “You want people working and contributing as soon as possible. That’s the biggest cost of training people – the time it takes for them to become productive.”

But James cautions against rushing in too quickly. “Give them a chance to question the way you do things and come up with new ideas. You might learn something – and it’s another way to help the new employee feel a valued part of the business.”

If you’ve already got other employees, involving them in training is a win-win. “If you tell someone how good they are at their job and ask them to share what they know with a new employee, they appreciate the recognition.”

Unlimited coffee (and other perks)

One of the reasons your applicant applied in the first place may have been thanks to the bundle of benefits you have on offer. So it’s worth repeating these during the induction, and finding out whether it’s the free, unlimited coffee from the in-house canteen or the regular meetings with their superiors that floats your employee’s boat.

“Offering the right benefits can be an important part of the package, from helping you attract the right people in the first place to making it more difficult for someone to decide to leave.”

But as James points out, everyone is different. “You can’t expect the same reward to suit everybody.

“You need to understand what makes that individual tick. Some may be motivated by money, or prospects. For others, regular discussions that help to involve them in the business might be the key.” The human touch can be just as important. “The little things, like treating everyone to coffees from time to time, or remembering their children’s names.”

Passionate people = the holy grail

Keep up the good work – after all, being respectful and inclusive of your colleagues isn’t just for Christmas, or, er, their probation period. After all, it’s your employees who will drive the success of your business.

“It is critical that employees feel part of the business; they are its heart and soul. You can have the best product in the world, but if you haven’t got people
that are passionate about the business the enthusiasm will be missing and the effort diminished as a result.”

And once they’ve been here six months, two years, fives years – treat them as if they were still just as special as that new receptionist you just hired. Here’s 10 ways to keep all your employees feeling valued, and who knows, you might just keep them for life.

10 ways to get the best out of your employees:

  1. Take a genuine interest in the people you work with
  2. Recognise that any new employee will have a lot to learn including the full range of benefits you offer
  3. Accept that not everyone is like you - make the most of their individual talents
  4. Take the time to sit down with employees and get to know them
  5. Really listen to your employees and think about what they say
  6. Accept that everyone makes the odd mistake
  7. Provide training to address any weaknesses or misunderstandings
  8. Deal with persistent underperformance before everyone else gets demotivated
  9. Keep employees informed and explain the reasons for any changes you make
  10. Be upbeat - your own mood sets the tone for everyone working for you

By Gerfried Aigner, Head of Product Development, Sage