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How to retain hourly employees longer than two days

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Today’s post is from Smartbrief Editor Megan Conniff, who is attending the annual conference of the National Retail Federation in New York. You can also follow her reports and others on the NRF’s 2009 Convention blog.

Is your company still hiring? Maybe not right now, amid the current economic conditions, but at some point, your company will be hiring again. Because it costs several thousand dollars to replace an hourly employee, it might behoove us all to make sure that new employees are properly introduced, trained and engaged — so that your Friday hire doesn’t quit by Sunday.

So what are the worst things that can happen to a new retail employee? Consultant Harold Lloyd’s Monday afternoon session explored his teenage daughter’s first experience in retail — one that was less than ideal. Used, dirty uniform? Check. Instructed to conduct tasks her first night with no training? Check. No introduction of the store manager for weeks? Check. All in all, a harrowing experience for a new, eager 16-year old employee who left the ranks of retail with a bad taste in her mouth.

Lloyd presented 30 ideas to better integrate a new employee into a retail work environment. Here are a few of the standouts:

  • The store manager should personally greet a new employee on his or her first day.
  • Each new employee should be assigned a mentor.
  • Don’t just tell an employee how to do the job — the store manager and new employee should discuss their top 10 priorities together on the first day.
  • Store manager should conduct a store tour to introduce the employee to the surroundings, answer questions about breaks, payment and other concerns.
  • Ensure that new employees are adequately trained (at least 20 hours of training) before an employee goes “live and solo.”