made a great hire and you are looking forward to onboarding your newest
employee. Expectations are high and
optimism abounds. But before you rely
too heavily on those positive feelings, here are some sobering statistics to
· Up to 20 percent of turnover happens
within the first 45 days of work.
· Nearly 33 percent of new hires look
for a new job within their first six months on the job.
· 23 percent of new hires leave before
their first anniversary.
· 60 percent of companies fail to set
milestones for new hires.
· It typically takes eight months for a
newly hired employee to reach full productivity.
· Organizations with strong onboarding
processes experience 50 percent greater retention of their new hires.
These statistics should be especially unsettling
to you if you do not have a formal, structured onboarding process. Onboarding – the process by which new employees acquire the
necessary knowledge, skills and behaviors to become effective organizational members
and insiders – does not have to be complicated, burdensome or
expensive. It just needs to be planned
and executed well.
Here are five tips for setting up an
effective program in your company.
1. Start Onboarding Before the First
Day. After the job offer has been accepted and before your
new employee has started, stay in touch and communicate often. Check in frequently before the start date. Ask if there are any questions. Make sure your
new employee has all the information needed to be prepared for day one. Not only will this help make the new hire feel
valued and appreciated, but it will help to deflect any competing interest from
2. Make the First Day Special. The good news is that, chances are, your new hire
is excited about his or her new job.
Make that first day special – be as excited about your new hire as he or
she is about the new job! Have a special
welcome ready, have your new hire’s workspace ready, and if possible, have
business cards ready. Make your new hire
feel like he or she is expected and welcome in the new job. The goal is to show your new hires that you
are as excited about them joining your company as they are!
Of course there are the formal things one does to orient a
new employee on the first day(s) on the job.
Be sure to:
· Provide the employee handbook and
obtain acknowledgment that the handbook has been read and understood.
· Collect all payroll and benefit
· Process all necessary I9 paperwork.
· Highlight specific policies and
procedures that are important on the job.
· Discuss appropriate workplace safety
and health topics.
· Provide training on equipment and
processes and procedures.
· Cover any position-related topics
such as supervisory responsibility, duties and responsibilities and
expectations of the new hire.
And don’t stop there – the informal things are just as
critical. Take the time to talk about the unique aspects of your company’s
culture. For example, how important is
the matter of being on time? Are there
unwritten rules about meeting attendance, dress, voicing opinions? And don’t forget to cover smart-phone usage
and social media access while at work. Talk
3. Plan Your New Employee’s First Few
Weeks. When it comes
to onboarding your new hire it is likely that there are many people responsible
for the learning that will ensure that the employee is properly trained and
ready for work. Before his or her first
day, map out what the learning objectives are for the first four to six weeks
and who is responsible for ensuring that the learning takes place.
A clearly structured roadmap for your new hire will help the
employee know what is expected and know who she or he can go to for help and
support in the early days. A structured
plan also puts the person responsible for training the new employee on notice
that it is his or her responsibility to make sure the new hire has all of the
time and tools and support necessary to accomplish those learning
objectives. Here is what the first
week’s learning plan template might look like:
Employee Name: John Doe
Hire Date: 2/15/17
Managing Supervisor: Kelly B.
Position: Regional Sales Rep
Orientation (see Orientation
Get training on CRM – Be able
to access client data
Tracy & Steve
Learn about key product
Sit with customer service to
get familiar with back office
Learn the Q1 and Q2 goals and
budgets with CEO/CFO
Go on sales calls to call on
Week 1 Performance Feedback:
Obj. 1: John is familiar with CRM
– Expand training to Leads.
Obj. 2: Need some more
training. Take through manuf.
Obj. 3: Great job establishing
relationships. Sit again next week.
Obj. 4: Establish personal
sales goals in context of co’s goals
Obj. 5: Had 3 great calls. ID ways to be more effective for calls next
4. Foster Feedback Early On. According to the Gallup Organization’s 12 Elements of
Great Managing, key to employee engagement is the knowledge of what is
expected of the employee at work, having the equipment to do the work right,
and getting the feedback and encouragement necessary for professional
development and personal growth. All of
these elements require ongoing, formal and informal feedback.
Especially in the early days, providing employees with an
equal balance of positive and corrective feedback enables them to truly
understand what is expected and how they can make changes to satisfy your
expectations. This type of informal
feedback is critical to ensuring employee engagement. Be specific about what the employee is doing
well and why it is critical to the organization. And be just as specific about the areas where
the employee needs to focus his or her energy during the onboarding period.
5. Make Onboarding a Year-Long Effort.
Make sure you schedule periodic check-ins in the weeks and months that
follow. Remember, the learning curve for
most positions is almost always longer than anyone ever expects. If your new hire feels supported in the first
six to 12 months, you will improve the likelihood that he or she will stay
engaged and committed. Consider a formal 45 or 60 day performance evaluation
plan during the first year of hire. You
can never give new employees too much feedback or attention.
the tips above and seeing the new employee as a business investment, you will
recognize that your dedication of time and attention to these matters is a
business investment that will pay measurable returns, particularly by enabling
new employees to more quickly get up to speed and deliver value to the company.
If you are interested
in receiving a free employee development template to help managers structure
and communicate the new employee’s learning objectives, and to provide a
structure for ongoing feedback during the first few weeks and months, please send
us an e-mail at contact@affinityHRgroup.com to receive a free copy.
St. John, President – Affinity HR Group, Inc.