Why HR Should Be Asking "How Do I See This Employee Here in 5 Years?"

The Daily Muse recently wrote an article about how employees should answer this famous question posed during most interviews:

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

And it’s still a great question to ask; you need to know what this potential employee’s aspirations are, whether they want to be challenged with a promotion, etc.

However, while the hiring manager is asking that question, they should also be asking themselves this question:


It’s no surprise that hiring a replacement costs companies a lot of money. While it’s hard to gauge during the interview whether an employee has long-term staying power, companies should still have a 5-year plan (at least) in place to make every new hire think twice about leaving.

Here are some important steps to add to that plan:

  • Onboarding with a purpose: If you ruin a new hire’s first day with a complex onboarding system - or no onboarding program at all - you’re painting a bleak picture of your company. You need a quick - but continual - way to train new hires on company goals, job expectations, open enrollment information, and other areas that help newbies stay afloat, informed and satisfied.
  • Ensure management actively communicates: Supervisors must be active and upfront with new hires, helping them adjust to their role, setting them up to learn new, career-building skills, and just continually mentoring them to be greater than they were a day ago.
  • Remain true to career progression: New hires should not expect to be on the career progression train the day they’re hired, but they need a signal sooner or later or they’ll leave the station. If, during the interview, you spoke glowingly about employees moving up the company ladder, you shouldn’t be surprised if they ask when their turn is - if their work merits it - and how the company attempts to stay true to their word.
  • Remove red tape: No matter the size of the company, unnecessary red tape is a morale killer for employees. Policies that stunt productivity - like having to communicate to 5 people to get to 1 supervisor to sign off on something, or having unnecessary pre-meetings about future meetings - can cause some employees to look for an escape hatch after a while. If there are important policies that are proven to raise accountability and profitability, then obviously keep those; but unnecessary policies that don’t reflect either of those two themes should be examined (and modified, if need be) and communicated to employees.

That’s just a sample of ways to see your staff in a 5-year plan and beyond. The important thing is you build an effective new hire training program that sets them up for success the minute they adjust to their workspace. From there, it’s about building open and honest communication of company goals, and trying your best to eliminate unnecessary roadblocks that put the competition one rung up on an employee’s wish list.

See how ej4’s New Hire Curriculum can set your new employees up for a lengthier stay with a free 15-day trial of Thinkzoom.

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