To lessen the challenge of finding and keeping good employees, Farris established a simple but effective method for screening and hiring. Below are her suggestions for achieving greater retention among new hires:
Pre-screen by phone. Rather than relying on “open days” when all prospective employees apply, take several minutes to have one-on-one telephone screenings instead. Speak to applicants about their experience and explain the job. “That eliminates 30 to 40 percent who'll realize it's not for them,” she says.
Standardize background checks. Set up application days during which potential employees understand they'll have to undergo background checks. “You might lose another 10 percent then.”
Use short, face-to-face evaluations with remaining job prospects to thoroughly go over the job description, so there are no surprises regarding duties and expectations.
Stage a formal orientation to familiarize new hires with terms and equipment, and expectations for personal hygiene and uniforms. Send new employees to a site for a half day where expectations are reinforced.
Follow up with site managers by giving them a detailed check list to complete on how new employees are performing tasks.
Stage a training session two weeks after start date, with selected, reliable managers. Go over more detailed procedures such as HACCP and reimbursable meals.
“Many problems with turnover stem from people never fully knowing what their jobs entailed” says Farris. If you let them know up front, they'll do better and they'll stay.”