We exchange some documents, meet for a couple hours of interviews, and then it happens: a company and a candidate decide to move forward with a new relationship. Depending upon the criticality and influence of the role within the company, the new team member can either have a significant positive or negative impact on team culture and productivity. Similarly, the organization can have a similar impact on the new employee, impacting their motivation, performance, and health.
Taking a job means committing to spending a majority of one’s day at a new place that could be exciting, inspiring, and fun. Conversely, it could quickly turn into a toxic drain that can turn people into zombies going through the motions waiting for the work day to be over. According to the latest State of the Workplace research report by Gallup, more than half of employees (51 percent) said they are actively looking for a new job or watching for openings. Employees cite growth opportunities, management, culture, and job fit as some of the top reasons they decide to leave. This should not come as a big surprise given how difficult it is for a candidate to assess these nuanced topics before actually spending some time in the new role or organization. Although an interview should truly be about both sides interviewing each other, most candidates are usually eager and focused on impressing the potential employer and then worry about whether it’s the right fit.
It’s no wonder that so many employees continue to have job regret. Job hopping has become the norm. According to a study based on data from over 34,000 exit interviews analyzed by the Work Institute, a workplace research and consulting firm, approximately 40 percent of employees who quit in 2017 did so within 12 months of being hired, and about half of those workers left within the first 90 days. These are truly lose-lose statistics that neither employers or employees should accept.
It’s time to meet your match
What are employers doing to combat this chronic restlessness? The most common responses are usually focused on financial incentives such as higher raises, bonuses, or vesting equity plans, all which are simply a means to an end rather than any type of lasting or reinvigorating commitment to one’s work or company.
It’s time to consider some new approaches, and the right place to start is before anyone signs any offer letters!. While a thorough interview process can help the employer and a candidate get well acquainted with with each parties respective backgrounds and goals, the best way to know if the relationship was meant to be is to actually spend some time working together. What better way to know if the day-to-day job is a good fit for a candidate than to actually have them immerse themselves in it, even if for a short period of time before either side commits to anything more. It may sound unconventional but it’s not unheard of as a few forward-thinking companies have already implemented this approach.
Consider the autonomous culture of a software company called Automattic for example. The company’s remote work style and flexible office culture wouldn’t be a great fit for everyone, but it’s a dream for the right employee. To avoid a bad match, Automattic encourages their new talent to give the job a try before signing on for keeps, just to make sure they’ve found a great fit.
San Francisco based Weebly is another great example of a workplace offering a test-drive. Their new hires receive a standard trial week, every time. At the point where most employers would present a potential hiring offer, Weebly invites new talent for a paid week with a standard project, just to test things out and make sure both sides want to move forward. Roughly 75 percent of these candidates end the week with an offer,
Call it a company test drive, a job trial, or whatever you wish but providing a job candidate the opportunity to experience the realities of a job will give both sides a more realistic idea of what to expect from one another and determine if its what they want or if a clean break is the best next step. And if that test drive is set up with no-strings-attached, it’s a guilt-free way for either party to cut ties before any major commitments are made.
We know and often hear about how lower turnover can have a significantly positive impact on key company indicators such as revenue, innovation, and efficiency. Let’s not forget the likely immeasurable joyous impact on everyone when people wake up with purpose and excitement to go to the place where they spend most of their day, the workplace.