Individualism beats conformity in a happy workplace

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The best way for an organisation to garner employee commitment from day one is to encourage workers to make use of their unique strengths, rather than be forced to ‘fit in’ to the workplace, according to the latest research.

The London Business School recently surveyed newly hired employees of an Indian call centre and found at least 60% were less likely to leave within a period of a few months, if they went through an onboarding process that focused on individual strengths.

Kirsti Grant, head of talent at New Zealand’s VendHQ.com, agrees with the findings.

“Some advice we were given was a new hire becomes more engaged with a business faster when they feel they are contributing from day one.”

She added: “Right from the beginning staff are made to feel like their unique skills and styles are key to Vends’ success.”

Rebecca Clarke, manager HR solutions at Drake International, agrees. She said retention is personal. “Most of us want to work for great bosses, with great co-workers and do work that matters. If we feel we’re contributing every day, we’ll naturally feel successful and motivated to repeat these behaviours, and this level of contribution can lead to higher recognition by peers and management.”

Clarke said effective onboarding is all about individualised, personalised experiences.  “Onboarding begins the moment an applicant, who may become a new hire, interacts with your organisation, and their perception is their reality. Providing realistic expectations about the job, organisation, environment and challenges, is essential.”

Donna Lynch, chief operating officer at Adecco Personnel Services, added: “When unique strengths are identified as aligning to a goal or task, it creates a heightened level of understanding and greater opportunity for successful outcomes.”

She continued: “It is firmly established within our organisation that effective onboarding is the key to retention and to develop early organisational commitment. Each new colleague is unique and leaders need to be flexible in their leadership approach to meet the needs of our team.”

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