New Hire
MARCH, 2015

New Hire Onboarding is a critical piece of retention and engaging new employees. If you don’t do it correctly, they may quit on you quickly. One report I read said that over 32% of new hires have little or no onboarding and 17% of them said they quit within the first 6 months because they did not receive proper training. That’s almost one in five (and a very expensive one in five). Failure to properly orient new employees is risky, whether it’s culture-related issues, specific job-related points, or union avoidance messages. The result, unfortunately, is new employees who perhaps don’t know what they’re doing, who don’t engage with the company, and who usually don’t stick around long.

We see it regularly. A company hires a new employee and fails to do some of the basics because the person giving the orientation is having a bad day or is just tired of giving orientations. Thus the new hire gets random information and does not understand the big picture of the wonderful new company they are working for.

It costs about $4,000 to hire an average new employee for all categories. That’s money wasted if he or she doesn’t stick around.

Here’s what we’ve found works well: Have your orientation plan in place with a checklist to follow. Automate your orientation as much as you can. Utilize the human touch for introductions, but use technology to its fullest extent. Develop interactive courses, show videos with features that uniquely set your company apart and show employees you care and want them to be successful.

Don’t just hand out a value statement. Show new people how you follow through on your values. We have numerous clients that truly live by their value statements and it shows. They have long-term loyal employees, proud of where they work. They promote from within as much as they possibly can. As a result, those companies constantly win national awards for best places to work. All that comes from making an investment in orienting their employees, constantly training them, and enriching their lives by having formalized on-the-job training that is relevant, timely, and consistently presented. One other big factor: The most successful companies also give back to the community so they are employers of choice.

Ten ideas to help make happy employees:

1) Engage with your new employees before they even start (that interactive course works wonders here).

2) Walk the new employees through the facility like they’re your newest and greatest customers. Give them the “backstage” tour. Show them the ins and outs of their new company.

3) Introduce them to coworkers that you think they would have something in common with. (Extra advantage: This coworker can serve as an unofficial mentor as well.)

4) Introduce them to executive team members and let them spend a few minutes with some of them.

5) Enable your managers to work with the new hires and set measurable goals with timelines. Give them regular timely feedback and make sure you recognize their achievements . . . even the little ones.

6) Cross-train your employees. Don’t always initially stick them in the worst/highest turnover position. Let them get engaged first then rotate people through the hard positions so you don’t burn them out.

7) Continue the onboarding process perpetually. Always try and keep them informed about what the company is doing and why. Just like you were hiring them the first day. Make sure employees are “in the know” first before any outsiders. Give them the opportunity to ask questions about the job and the company all the time. This will help keep unions out by developing a level of trust and pride with the employees. (Side note: We encourage our clients to share new employee onboarding videos with their long time employees as well. This refreshes their memories and to some degree can remind them how good they have it.)

8) Make sure you have a mechanism in place to get feedback on the onboarding process from new hires. It’s the best way to make sure you’ve accomplished your goal of engaging the new hire and started a long-term relationship.

9) Make sure you have the new employees’ work areas ready for them when they arrive. (Yes, I know it’s a no-brainer. And I’m sure you do this . . . but I hear stories . . . so I’m going to mention it.) If it’s a position where they need a computer or other technology, make sure it’s up and running so they don’t spend the first day getting to know tech support better than their coworkers. Explain your company policies, help them complete paperwork and most importantly, make them feel at home from day one by arranging some “down time” with fellow coworkers so they start developing friendships that will help them engage.

10) Be certain management buys into the onboarding process. This should actually be #1. Managers are the greatest influence on new employees. And a good relationship with a supervisor ultimately helps lead to a happy long-term employee that will go to bat for the company when it needs it most.