How to Make Your New Hire a Lasting Hire

· by Brady Hammond

Brady Hammond is a certified Predictive Index Practitioner and CliftonStrengths Coach. She specializes in leading teams through assessments, team building, and leadership training.
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As an HR professional, one of the most important aspects of your job is employee retention and morale.

Anticipating the needs of your workforce and working to meet them before they arise is a constant battle with an ever-changing landscape. So how do you stay ahead of the curve? One of the best ways is to focus on your new hires. Why? Well for starters: Corey Kime from Lessonly writes,

“New employees who attended a well-structured onboarding orientation program, were 69 percent more likely to remain at a company up to three years.”

Why else?

“Up to 20% of turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment.” Cites O.C. Tanner, popular blogger in the HR world.

Still need more? How about another shocking statistic from Corey Kim at Lessonly,

“Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 54 percent greater new hire productivity and 50 percent greater new hire retention.”

Okay so now you get it, onboarding is key. But how do you achieve that excellent new hire experience to ensure your employees start happy and stay happy? We’ve got some tips that are easy to put into place and continue once the standard has been set. Any and all of these ideas will be effective, you just need to choose the ones that make the most sense for your organization. But the more you can tailor the experience to the new hire and form that connection with your team and company early, the more you’ll see employees want to stick around.

Provide plenty of communication and information on what to expect before their first day.

The onboarding experience begins long before the new hire steps through the front door. It starts with the first contact from your recruiter or hiring manager wanting to see if they are a fit for your company. So make sure communication is consistent and thorough. It’s helpful if there’s one point of contact through the whole process, usually the recruiter or hiring manager, who can be a reliable source of information. And before their first day, they can tell the new hire exactly what’s expected of them. What to bring with them, what address to come to, where to park, any applicable dress code, contact information in case they have questions. Start them off feeling certain and confident rather than uneasy and unsure as the begin their journey with your company.

Plan training and factor a set schedule into first few weeks so they know what to expect.

Training is often one of those issue that shows up on employee surveys and in roundtables quite often. So make sure no one feels it’s lacking in your new hire experience. Have a set schedule of what training will be required of the new hire established ahead of time and give it to the new hire and their manager before their first day. Setting expectations also sets priorities early on.

Create a workspace ahead of time so they’re ready to go when they sit down at their desk.

This doesn’t just mean making sure there’s a computer and phone waiting for them when they start, although that is of course important and becomes an issue more often than we might like to admit. But it also means going the extra mile to personalize it. Create a welcome sign, give them company logoed pens, create a small swag bag with company goodies, ask their favorite snack and have it waiting for them. The little things make a big difference.

Provide company gear.

You can either have some logoed items ready for them, such as notepads, tumblers, phone chargers, chip clips, whatever you have lying around. Or you can take it a step further and really personalize it. Give them their choice of clothes to order, go ahead and have a name badge ready for them, order their business cards ahead of time if you can. Even provide the opportunity to have a professional headshot taken on their first day. The less of the small stuff they have to worry about because you’ve already done it for them, the more they’ll feel at ease.

Provide policies and time to review and ask questions.

Now you’ve gotten all the work done before they start, you’ve communicated, thought of everything they’ll need, and taken the extra step to personalize their experience. So what’s one of the first things you need to do when they walk in the door? Sit them through an orientation that details all of your policies. Give them ample time to review them on their own, and ask questions of your HR team if they have any.

Introduce the new hire to the company, but also the company to the new hire.

Walk your new hire around the office and tell them about the people and departments they encounter. Let them know more about the organization’s leadership and history. But also, send out some information on the new hire so everyone knows who they are, what their role is, and how to get in touch with them. Let them know they’re important to not just their team, but the entire organization.

Make sure their manager introduces them to their individual team.

Have the team take the employee out to lunch or coffee for a get to know you. Make a scavenger hunt during which they find out more about their coworkers and environment. Find ways to break the ice and start integrating them into the team they will be working most closely with.

Provide a mentor to answer questions, take to lunch, provide guidance, and have regular check-ins throughout the first 90 days.

While the manager-employee relationship is important to establish, sometimes there are things you need outside of what your manager can provide. That’s where a mentor is great. Someone who can be a friend within the company but outside immediate coworkers. They can provide guidance, regular communication, be an outlet for questions or concerns. A confidante can make a big difference in an experience like starting a new job.

Provide clear expectations of responsibilities and due dates on training.

We talked about establishing priorities by setting clear expectations. Make sure that job duties and responsibilities are clear, understood by the employee, and easily accessible to them. And don’t let training fall by the wayside after the first few days. Set defined due dates and have policies in place to back them up.

Offer shadowing opportunities.

Let the employee spend a few days, or weeks if you can, shadowing others in their same role. Let them get real experience on the job while also being shadowed themselves. This is one of the most effective ways to teach a new skill, but also to establish compliance before they are functioning in their role on their own.

Most importantly, don’t forget your new hire after the first week or two.

While first impressions are important, people’s opinions and relationships with their job change over time. The first 90 days are critical, especially. Keep the training coming, the manager communication regular, the mentor check-ins reliable. But don’t let it all stop right at 90 days, either. Keep checking in, keep offering training, keep mentoring and guiding. The last thing you want is for an employee to feel lost or forgotten. Let them know they stay on your radar, that what they’re doing matters.

If you want to see your new hire experience turn into a lasting, effective partnership with your employee, you have to keep putting in the work. You will thank yourself in the end!






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