Not much time ago, I visited a packaging plant that used to be the best of all their company facilities. The plant performance, from quality to on-time delivery, from safety to operating costs was excellent. This was possible thanks to their workforce stability. Most of the employees had more than 15 years of experience, very committed with the company and very knowledgeable of their procedures and policies.
One day for reasons out of their control, they lost almost 50% of their hourly team and was necessary to replace them with temporary employees. The people coming, apparently with no reasons or desire to stay; walk out the door almost as fast as they come in. The turnover rate grows exponentially from less than 1% to way more than 100%. Why they leave?
Have you tried to assemble a piece of furniture? You start putting the thing together with great difficulty. You scream you curse, you are really aggravated, frustrated. The instructions provided may help or not; most probably every time you read them you become more frustrated. Out of frustration, you want to quit and most probably you will and let somebody else deal with the problem. Most probably, that is what happened on the plant I mentioned before. There is no formal training program, new people come in and start working with some training, after several supervisors intervention for defects or downtime, frustrated employees walk out.
Everything starts with the hiring process, identifying the right candidates, people with values and beliefs that match those of the company. If the candidate is not a match with these or the company culture, it will not stay long. But even if the candidate is a match, no training, proper instructions and follow-up can frustrate the person up to a point where it feels neglected.
Training is highly important, especially during the first ninety days. If things go wrong during the probation period, most probably it will not be any better later. During this time, companies are also on probation, employees are also checking on how they are treated, how well they like the environment, how they feel being part of it. Are we giving them any reason to stay or commit to the company? What are we doing to attract and retain the best employees? Are we doing anything to understand their needs? If not, we better start soon, companies can gain or lose World Class Employees during that time.