According to a 2018 survey from Jobvite, chances are that nearly 28% of your new employees will quit within the first 90 days.
- 43% say their day-to-day role wasn’t what they thought it would be
- 34% report that an incident or bad experience drove them away, and
- 32% didn’t feel like it was a cultural fit
Additionally, new hires felt their onboarding was not thorough:
- 23% said they wanted to “receive clear guidelines to what responsibilities were”
- 21% wanted “more effective training”
- 17% said “a friendly smile or helpful coworker would have made all the difference”
Shocking statistics but do you know what is bad? It is avoidable. All of it. All avoidable.
Hiring is expensive. Companies invest a lot of time and energy into finding and hiring the right person. The goal then becomes to ensure they start out on the right foot and will stay put.
Many organizations don’t recognize the importance of onboarding. Another organizational fallacy is thinking that onboarding is only a first day practice.
There are certain items that should be a given with new hire onboarding. For example, having their physical space ready, the computer or laptop ready to go, their email address established, a phone that is in working order, business cards ordered, and the HR package and forms ready to be completed (if you do not do it beforehand). This is the tactical part of onboarding. These basic logistics should be so ingrained that it’s second nature for any organization.
But, there is a strategic side of onboarding that spells success. Onboarding is not a one-day process. Realistically it should take place over 90-180 days, depending on the role. Considering that 43% of employees say their day-to-day wasn’t what they believed it would be, your onboarding approach impacts your recruitment process as well.
Having a well-defined onboarding process lessens your chances of your new hire leaving you within the first few months. At a time when unemployment is low, it’s reasonable to expect that your highly technical or key talent had a few offers, but they accepted yours. Give them a reason to stay!
If you want to do something exceptional for your new employee, go beyond the basics of onboarding.
There are three phases to onboarding:
- On Arrival
- The First Six Months
How many of us have taken a new job, showed up at work, and felt like an afterthought? I’d wager to guess a fairly significant number have endured this at one time or another. The last thing any new employee wants is to arrive on their first day only to find people rushing about trying to get things in order.
Proper onboarding starts before a new employee walks in the door. As stated previously, the simple logistics for the first day should always be a given. That’s your first step and the rest is as follows:
Have a Comprehensive Onboarding Plan in Place Before Arrival: Beyond an accurate position description, create an onboarding and orientation plan for how you will optimally onboard. Spell out what their first day, week, or first six months will look like.
Set the Correct Expectations During Recruitment: If your employee feels like they have fallen victim to the ole’ bait-and-switch, this is easy to overcome. First, your position description must be an accurate reflection of the role. The hiring manager, HR, and the recruiter must work in unison so that all have a full understanding of the day-to-day duties. Furthermore, everyone should be able to explain what success (goals, objectives, and outcomes) looks like in this role. Lastly, when your job description includes a truthful representation of the day-to-day responsibilities, you will attract talent who are excited about what they see.
Have the Manager send a Welcome Email Before the Start Date: One way to get the new hire excited and make them feel welcome is this simple email before they start.
Dear [New Hire’s Name],
I know that giving your two-weeks’ notice isn’t always easy. So, I wanted to send a quick note to let you know how excited we are that you will be joining the team. We are working on getting things squared away for your arrival and I’m excited to start working on the [Name something that was discussed in the interview].
If you haven’t heard from HR yet, you will soon. You’ll be receiving your benefits information and further details on your day-1 orientation.
In the meanwhile, if you have any questions that I can answer before your arrival, please feel free to reach out.
See you on [Day]!
There is nothing time consuming about this email and I guarantee you it will make your new employee feel valued.
Prepare Your Team in Advance: It is awkward for all parties when a new hire starts and their team members were kept in the dark. Involving your team in the onboarding process makes sense because the new employee needs to mesh with the team. It’s also realistic to expect that the team will be involved with some level of training. This also is a way to highlight your corporate culture. If you have the financial resources, plan a lunch in a relaxed setting. Nothing too heavy – remember that introverts rarely like being the center of attention!
Have an Informal Meeting with the Manager: In addition to what happens in your formal orientation program, plan a separate meeting with your employee. If you are not doing a team lunch, plan to have lunch with your new employee. In your first meeting, set the stage for their next few months. Establish a schedule of your future regular meetings or “touch base” sessions. Proactively set aside time slots and keep up with your meetings. Don’t cancel.
End the Day on a Friendly Note: A quick check-in at the end of the day solidifies a positive first day impression. They will leave with a sense of belonging and feeling like a valued member. This quick chat can be as little as five minutes. It should be positive and light. Nothing too heavy. Let them leave on a high note and not feeling drained.
DAY 2 TO FIRST SIX MONTHS
Have a Well-Defined Training Program: If training is needed, lay out the timeline for training. To be successful and to stay energized, your new employee needs training that goes beyond how to fill out their timesheet properly. Not only can continued training help employees contribute more to growth of the business, but your employees will feel respected knowing you are willing to invest in their career growth. Your training program should go beyond simply bringing them up to speed in their job and incorporate:
- Understanding the team dynamics.
- Understanding the company culture.
- Gaining insight into your customer or client.
- Increasing knowledge of your products and services.
Training doesn’t have to be exhaustive. It can be as simple as videos or web-based classes. Just don’t let technology be the total trainer. Human interaction goes a long way.
Ensure Expectations and Goals Are Clear: Research show that employees want a clear direction and expectations, a sense of contribution, and positive manager and peer relationships. Therefore, by the end of the employee’s first week, all new hires should understand the role, responsibilities and duties as well as the metrics, goals, and key performance measures that will be used to review their performance. Use the job description as a guide and lay out a timeline of how you will orient your new hire on each of the key responsibilities.
Get Feedback from Your New Team Member: You can refine your orientation process with each new hire. Over time, it should improve with more efficiency and results. Let your new hire know they have a stake in this process. Their feedback will help advance the onboarding for all of those who come after.
Any time you lose an employee, the organization takes a financial and productivity hit until a replacement is hired. However, if you can lay the framework for a positive working relationship and avoid orientation disasters, your new hire will feel welcomed and motivated to stay for a while.
Jan Johnston Osburn is a Certified Career Coach and Organizational Consultant.