Building Engagement with Mobile Employees Part 2: Maximizing Engagement During On-boardings and Post-Assignment Reviews

In this three-part blog series, we teach you proven strategies to keep your mobile employees engaged and fulfilled, increasing your chances of avoiding the costs of a disengaged team member or turnover.

If you missed it, check out part one of the series. We discussed what many companies are missing in their approach to mobility management, and explained the significant, data-backed costs associated with disengaged employees.

Now, let’s examine two areas of the employee lifecycle and how to maximize engagement during these times: onboardings and performance reviews.

On Assignment and Post-Assignment Onboarding

It doesn’t matter if it’s an employee’s first day with the company, or at a new office on assignment, or a new role in the same office—employee engagement begins (or immediately starts eroding) with the onboarding process, starting on day one.

To maximize employee engagement, the onboarding process should start with the employee meeting their new boss, being shown around their new workspace, and introduced to key team members. The manager should then make sure the employee receives the tools they need to do their job, and then walk them through a 30, 60, 90-day plan so they understand what’s expected of them in their role and what success will look like. This provides clarity for the employee regarding the role they play in achieving the strategy to make money for the company and how they fit into that, which in turn sets them up for success in their new role.

Unfortunately, many employees come to work on their first day, and their manager isn’t there—leaving HR or an office manager to show them to their workspace. No one has a 90-day plan for them. They don’t know who they need to connect with internally. No one has provisioned a laptop for them or made an appointment for them to get their photo taken for their security badge. They don’t know if there’s a cafeteria on site, and they can’t leave to find lunch since they can’t get back into the building without a badge.

This new employee, instead of being in the honeymoon phase and excited about their new role, will feel lost and afraid. Employee success hinges on emotion—how they feel about the job, the company, and their career. If there is an issue in any of these areas, they will struggle.

This sort of a negative start puts the employee on the defensive and can cause them to reconsider their decision to join your company.

The team at Gallup has identified “having the things I need to do my job successfully” as one of the most critical components of employee engagement. With mobility, we do a great job of getting employees where they need to go logistically, but the onboarding often stops there, even though we haven’t met some of the employee’s biggest post-move needs.

For example, someone is leaving their job in New York City to come to San Francisco on assignment. Their biggest concerns may be outside of the workplace, including “I go to therapy, I need a therapist. I need a dentist, a personal trainer, a nanny for the kids.” These employees also need their new boss to understand they will need a few weeks to get all these important daily life matters settled before they can dive into the work. Whether you take this on in-house or work with a relocation services company, as part of the duty of care for your employees, you need to ensure your employee on assignment is ok in their personal life and set up for success.


The Post-Assignment Performance Review

Once an assignment is over, the employee expects—and deserves—to receive a post-assignment performance review based on the defined metrics that you established during their onboarding. Be clear on how the employee’s performance in the role tied back to the business goals their assignment was designed to support. Give them a clear and fair answer to the question that’s on everyone’s mind at the end of an assignment: “How well did I meet the metrics and goals?”

Often, performance reviews are rushed through by managers who dislike giving them, and who didn’t have enough time to spend on the evaluation. These haphazard reviews often are based more on the manager’s opinions about the employee (or their boss’ opinion) instead of being an objective accounting of how well the employee’s work met their previously defined goals in support of the business’ objectives.

Employees crave having well-defined SMART goals. They want to know how you will measure their success and how they will know they are doing a good job. When people know the answers to these questions, even if the answers show them they have room for performance improvement, they feel cared for and know what is expected of them. As a manager, it is your responsibility that your employees returning from assignment receive an evaluation on their performance against the assignment’s success metrics. It is important to keep this conversation focused on performance evaluation—how the employee did versus their goals—and not stray into performance development, which should be its own, separate conversation.

Many temporary assignments are just about the company needing an employee’s specific skills in a specific location. They don’t set up KPIs or objectives, which means when the employee returns from the assignment, it is difficult to measure their success and the ROI of the assignment.

Performance Development to Nurture Employee Engagement

In the next and final part of our series, we will discuss the third stage of an employee lifecycle, performance development, as well as best practices that managers should follow in leveraging the right technology to support mobility efforts.

Can’t wait for the next blog, or want to receive even more information on this topic along with actionable ways you can better manage your mobile team today? Download our “How to Build Engagement with Your Mobile Employees” e-book now for resources and advice stemming from years of mobility management experience. It has all the insider knowledge you need to stay competitive and maximize the return of your mobility endeavors.