by Deanna Perkins, Solutions Manager
Turnover is an expensive problem for businesses in accounting and other industries. According to Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report, employees voluntarily leaving their jobs cost U.S. companies more than $630 billion in 2019, including the hard costs of finding a replacement, training time, and decreased efficiency while a new employee gets up to speed.
Recently, our company was feeling the impact of high turnover in a crucial position. Some companies in the same position might assume they simply hadn’t found the right person to fill the role. But we take pride in hiring great people and ensuring they’re a good fit before extending a job offer. Instead, we decided to take a hard look at the position itself and the process for onboarding and training employees. We did this using a tool we learned from Strategic Coach, The Experience Transformer.
The Experience Transformer
The Strategic Coach Program defines The Experience Transformer as a tool entrepreneurs can use “to capture the learning from both positive and negative experienced, so they can repeat the former and avoid the latter.”
Fortunately, we have three people on our team who have been in the role before – one in the same position and two who moved on to other areas of the company – to help us answer three important questions:
What did you like about the role or the onboarding process?
What didn’t go well?
What do you wish had happened?
What we discovered
The results of the conversations were a real eye-opener for me. We learned three major lessons we intend to carry forward as we fill this role from now on.
Onboard people slower
For the last few people that held this role, we essentially trained them on our processes, handed over all of their responsibilities, and allowed them to learn as they went along. In hindsight, it’s clear that’s overwhelming. Asking a new employee to take over six or seven services was simply too much, even though we made an effort to offer ongoing support and coaching.
Going forward, we plan to give our new employees responsibility for one service line and allow them to learn our processes for that service line completely before turning over other service lines. This should help them feel more confident in the role and work their way up to handling their full job responsibilities.
Focus on the process
Another problem we’ve had with this role in the past is processes not being followed.
I can attest that our processes for this role are extensive, but every step along the way is extremely important. Unfortunately, it’s a lot harder to break someone of the habit of following the wrong process than it is to teach them the right way from the beginning.
Now we intend to allow our new hires to focus on one service line and ensure they’re focused on doing things the right way with that one service before moving on to others. That should ensure they’re familiar with every step, and we won’t have to re-train later on.
Connect with the whole team
During the onboarding process, we make a real effort to connect new employees with our whole team. This definitely takes intentional effort with a fully remote team, and it’s been especially important during the pandemic when we don’t have regular opportunities for in-person meetings.
The problem is, after that initial onboarding process, it’s easy for people to silo themselves to communicate almost exclusively with only the people they work with regularly.
Going forward, we’re going to be intentional about ensuring people can connect across departments, so they feel like a part of the team and know how their work serves the overall organization.
We know that a longer onboarding process, more time spent on the teaching process, and greater communication across the company will take more time and effort. In fact, some of our team members will be taking on additional job responsibilities for quite a while.
However, we hope this new initiative will get our new employees successfully onboarded and feeling confident in their roles, leading to a better fit for them and us in the long term.
As the Solutions Manager for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Deanna works to help clients and prospective clients identify their dangers, opportunities and strengths. Once these are identified, she works to develop a personalized game plan for their firm to focus on the area, or areas, they need to improve on most. These areas are critical to a firm’s success and future-readiness; Leadership, Talent, Technology, Process and Growth.