Just imagine your business is like a car. You are driving forward, focused on the road in front of you, and intent on reaching your destination. Along the way, there are signs and points of interest that grab your attention. A billboard reads, “In ten miles purchase beef jerky, visit a clean restroom, or grab a cup of coffee!” You see these signs every few miles until you feel compelled to pay attention and stop.

Each day as you drive forward in your business, mental billboards grab your attention! You may be distracted by product assortments, technology upgrades, supply chain shortages, operation changes, customer feedback, and social media. Consider your employees are your passengers, and you are driving like you “drive your business.” When the seats in your vehicle are filled, you rarely look at the “passengers” to see if they have their “hand on the door.”

Then one day, an employee gives notice and you “hit the brakes.”

Depending on the person or position, you may come to a “screeching halt!” Your first inclination will be what do I do now?

You may feel compelled to look in the rear-view mirror to review the warning signs or “potholes” you may have missed.

  • Was the employee spending time visiting out of state family?
  • Was the employee missing work?
  • Was the employee asking for a new opportunity, work changes, etc.?

Gather the insight and map the future to help engage and retain employees and avoid a “blowout.”

You may not think this will happen to you however, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record 4.3 million employees quit their jobs in August 2021. In addition, only 15% of employees are engaged with their job in the workplace, according to a 2021 Gallup Survey. That means that 85% of employees are not engaged, and if offered an option may choose the alternate path.

Assuming those statistics are true, getting ahead of the recruiting curve is critical. Don’t wait for a “speedbump” to start looking for new talent. Pay attention to the insights gained by looking in the “rear-view mirror,” and be willing to try new ideas to reach your ultimate destination.

  • Market to candidates as you would customers.
  • Place ads that are short, impactful, vivid, and enticing to grab attention.
  • Be flexible with schedules; quality of life is a high priority.
  • Hire people with less experience and train them about your values, product, procedures, and processes.
  • Cut the recruiting process by 50%, this may translate to fewer interviews or an abbreviated timeframe. Move quickly as candidates have options.
  • Use virtual interviewing, this allows for a personal conversation in less time with little stress.
  • Interact continually with candidates through the interview process. Include current employees to participate to provide company, and culture information.

You might imagine it would be great if you could avoid these “bumps in the road” or experience them less frequently. Hiring is a reality in every business, just like the “speed limit.” To minimize turnover, introduce training and development programs.

Here are some ideas that may help you “cruise down the highway.”

When you hire a new and perhaps less experienced employee, you will need to create and provide a basic yet detailed level of training to get them “up to speed.”  If you use an online application for directions such as MapQuest, you are familiar with the short phrases that get you from one point to the next… “in 300 feet turn right.” This prepares you for what lies ahead. When you “take a wrong turn,” you are patiently redirected to “make a U-turn.”  You are not scolded or judged for an error; you are handheld until you “get it right.”

Remember when you were learning how to drive, there was a sign on the back of the car identifying “student driver!” You had a wheel and brakes for practice,  and the driver’s education teacher had the same to prevent  an accident. First you drove in a parking lot, then a side street in a quiet neighborhood, then  a major street with traffic, and finally on the highway. Set your employee up for success! Introduce them to their roles and responsibilities in a manageable environment before you place them in a busy shift, weekend, event, etc. that does not allow you or another team member to train, monitor, and coach. If an employee gets overwhelmed and hits “stop and start” (like driving a car with a clutch), they may “pull over, park, jump out, and leave the car running.”

Prepare your training in a step-by-step manner.

  • Greet a guest by following steps 1, 2, and 3.
  • Clean a cabin or clubhouse by 9 a.m. and follow the laminated checklist hanging on the back of the door.
  • Load a van by placing the latest delivery toward the back of the van, next …

Another way to minimize these situations is to slow down and pay attention to your surroundings. When you are present and observe, you can “midcourse correct” and take an alternate path, if needed.

If an employee is having a challenge, provide compassion, coaching, training, or a solution to help them avoid a “pothole”. When you engage employees proactively to help them stay on the right path and chart their course, you retain them for the future.

An employee may get anxious and wish to “speed” to their destination.  How can you keep them stay on course and provide captivating scenery along the way? Identify experiences to broaden their view and provide options for projects, mentoring, or training. This “reskilling” is called internal mobility, which is a strategy that enables you to nurture and retain key talent by matching employees with internal opportunities to help both the employee and your business grow.

Remember, “When life’s roads have speedbumps and potholes, it makes you a better driver.”