I recently had a conversation with a manager who was struggling with employees leaving their job soon after starting, both voluntarily or getting fired.
He was frustrated and curious how he should best handle the employees, because he hated sacrificing time away from his own work and larger team to train someone who wasn’t ultimately going to be there long-term.
It was the exact same question I asked my Dad as a child when I rode with him to work during the summers.
“Why would you spend time and energy training someone who’s going to quit or be fired within the month? Seems like a waste of your time.”
My dad owned a small chain of convenience stores in east Texas. Like most stores of its kind, you cycle through employees frequently. He’s been fortunate to have some of the same employees for well over two decades, but many more haven’t lasted a month. Some quit. Some no-show their shifts. Some steal. Turnover in the convenience store industry is common.
But while I don’t remember my Dad’s exact words, I remember the truth he shared is echoed in a quote I use often today:
“There is a great chance if you train a new employee that they will ultimately leave. But what if you didn’t train them, and they chose to stay?“
The truth is: As painful as it is to invest time into helping a new employee succeed at your company, only to watch them leave soon after, it is far more painful to your long-term success if you rush, shorten, or half-effort their on-boarding – and then watch that employee stay for years.
How Can You Use It To Your Advantage
Psychology professor Carol Dweck introduces the concept of a “Growth Mindset” in her book Mindset. Someone with a growth mindset believes that they can improve and grow their skills through work, overcoming challenges, and applying effort throughout their life. It’s not about being born “smart” or “stupid,” it’s about committing to learning and growing with each experience.
It’s also a key piece of The Competitor Mindset.
I shared with that manager three ways he can build his growth mindset by viewing each new-employee training as beneficial to his own career, regardless of whether that new hire stays or leaves. Here’s how:
1. Consistent Practice of Your Training Skills
The best way to improve any skill is by consistently practicing it over time. Each new employee that you onboard provides an opportunity to improve how well you communicate the information and demonstrate necessary tasks they’ll perform. The better you are at simplifying complex instructions, communicating with people, and teaching them how to succeed, the better you actually position yourself for future roles in career as a valuable asset.
2. Review Onboarding Processes
Another advantage of each new-hire training session is that you have the opportunity to evaluate the on-boarding process. Is there a specific hang-up each new employee has during their training? If so, how can we improve it?
Is there one area that isn’t being clearly communicated, and every new hire is tripping up over that area while working? Let’s discover it and change how we are training for it.
You receive real-time feedback and can evaluate ways you train and on-board new employees more effectively each time you take someone new through the process.
3. Build Your Leadership Skills:
A key trait of a Competitor is to do your best in every situation – even those you don’t necessarily want to be doing. You don’t always control why an employee quits, but you do always control three things:
- Your focus
- Your attitude
- Your actions
Despite frustrations of having to train yet another new hire, view it as the chance to strengthen your focus toward only those 3 things you control, and improve your mental toughness by showing up and doing your best, even if it’s not what you want to be doing.
The easy decision.
No one wants to invest time and energy into training someone that will only leave the company in the near future. But when you consider the alternative of them not being trained and staying, it’s an easy decision.
Commit to doing your best in the moment. Use the opportunity to improve your training, communication, & leadership skills. And use every interaction with new hires as a growth opportunity that will set you up to succeed throughout your career.