Attracting new hires is an important part of the HR experience, but it's only half the battle. Once you have those valuable workers on board, you need to focus on employee retention. The best way to do this is to cultivate a strong onboarding process.
The best HR professionals are as skilled at onboarding new hires as they are at maintaining a positive company culture overall. When you make employees feel welcome and secure through a well-structured onboarding process, you can help to lower your company's employee turnover rate.
Read on to learn more about the importance of new hire training and retention in the workplace.
Why It Matters
Did you know that the majority of new hires may have already decided whether or not to stay with a company long-term within the first six months of employment? When you take that into consideration, you'll understand why a poor onboarding process can be detrimental to the overall health of the business.
Even more sobering: about one-third of polled workers claim to have quit a job within the first six months. Of those, nearly 20 percent had decided to leave within the first three months—some after just one week.
High turnover rates like this can make your company look bad to outsiders, but it also bodes ill within the organization itself. Most of the respondents say that more effective training and clearer guidelines might have convinced them to stay. Others felt that management and co-workers weren't friendly enough and offered insufficient recognition for their contributions.
Here are some other onboarding statistics that might surprise you:
- 58 percent of organizations claim that their onboarding processes consist mainly of paperwork and red tape.
- Employees who have a poor onboarding experience are twice as likely to seek employment elsewhere.
- 69 percent of employees who receive a stellar onboarding experience will stick with the company for at least three years.
- By implementing a good onboarding process, you can increase new hire retention by up to 50 percent.
Potential Benefits of Onboarding
First and foremost, a strong onboarding process can help you hold on to those new hires you worked so hard to attract. When you provide clear objectives and offer positive reinforcement, employees are more likely to stay on board.
Investing in onboarding programs can also improve employee performance. When workers are properly trained, they'll invest more effort on a daily basis.
The best onboarding programs educate new hires about the company's mission and culture, so they feel more involved right from the start. Giving them a rounded view of the big picture will help them understand their roles within the organization.
Implementing an Onboarding Program
Before you start an onboarding program, ask yourself the following questions:
- At what point in the hiring process will onboarding begin?
- How long will the program last?
- What do you hope to achieve by implementing the program?
- What impression would you like to leave employees with after the first day? What about on subsequent days?
- What are the most important things employees need to know about the work culture and environment?
- What goals are you setting for your new hires?
- What roles will the HR department, co-workers, and managers play in the process?
- What plans do you have for gathering feedback and measuring the success of the onboarding program?
When To Begin
Start the onboarding process before the new hire's first day of work. When making a job offer, provide access to the online onboarding portal. There should be welcoming messages from managers and new teammates, as well as first-day information and helpful tidbits about the business. It's also a good idea to send along any necessary paperwork via email, so the employee isn't faced with a stack of forms as soon as they arrive.
This portal should also include basic information about the company's dress code, where the new hires should go upon arrival on their first day, and who to ask for when they get there. This will instill a sense of confidence and make them feel welcome before they've even walked through the door.
Breaking It Down
Since onboarding is an ongoing process, we've outlined what your goals should be on a new hire's first day, after their first month at work, and so on.
- Day One—Set expectations and paint a clear picture of what the worker's objectives should be
- First Month—Check in to give feedback on the employee's contributions so far and to make sure they're comfortable and engaged in their new position
- Between 3 and 6 Months—Conduct another check-in to ensure that the employee is settling in and to foster a stronger connection
- First Year—Review the employee's performance and meet with them to discuss their future within the company
The Four C's
Every great onboarding program should take "the four C's" into account. Once you understand their importance, you'll be able to foster a healthier work environment—not just for new hires, but for the company as a whole.
In order of importance, here are the four C's of onboarding.
Connection is the single most important reason to implement a strong onboarding program. Your new hires should feel engaged with their team members from day one. The HR department can help with this by ensuring that they know where and how to ask for help when they need it.
Your company culture may be the main reason why these new hires were attracted to the job in the first place. Exposing them to the values and overall mission of the company is of the key steps in onboarding new employees.
Members of your HR team should make sure that every new hire understands their role within the organization, along with the expectations that come with it. Lack of clarification is one of the main reasons why so many workers choose not to stay with a company beyond the first six months.
Don't forget that when an employee is properly trained, they'll be better able to work independently. Confident and competent workers are also less likely to make mistakes. Depending on the nature of your organization, this can contribute to your bottom line by helping you earn repeat business from satisfied customers.
This is the most basic level of the onboarding structure. It involves the legal and policy-related issues of the organization. It's usually the role of the HR department to fill in these blanks for new hires and long-term employees alike.
Setting it in Motion
In addition to checking in with employees after the first month and then again at regular intervals, there are other steps you can implement to achieve your goals for new hire training and retention.
Mentorship programs, for example, can improve employee performance while making workers feel as if they're valued within the organization. Keep in mind that mentors don't need to work in the same department in order to provide support.
Team-building exercises are another excellent way to bring new hires onboard. These could be as simple as regular company-sponsored picnics, or more structured activities that focus on trust and companionship. You could even go so far as to arrange a weekend getaway for employees and their immediate families.
The effort you'll put into a strong onboarding program is minimal compared with the rewards you'll receive. If you want your employees to stay on for longer than 90 days, a new hire training and retention policy is the best way to go.
At E-Marketing Associates, we have an entire suite of marketing products to help you achieve your business goals including website design, SEO, social media management, reputation monitoring, lead generation, and more. Not sure how your business is performing online? Get a Free Business Report that will show how your business stacks up against your competitors. For more ways to help your business grow, subscribe to our small business newsletter.