You’ve hired the right person for the job. Now what? How do you keep the talent you worked so hard to find? Helping your new employees feel like part of the team during their first weeks on the job is crucial to both a smooth transition and retention. In his HR Magazine article, “Original Onboarding Options from 4 HR Leaders,” Daniel Bortz reminds us that up to 20% of employee turnover occurs during the first 45 days on the job! That doesn’t give you much time to make new hires feel at home.
It’s the little things
Little things make a big difference, like setting up your employees’ phones, computers, and other devices so they are ready to go when the new hires walk into their work space for the first time. Helping them understand how the business works and how their jobs contribute to its long-term goals is one way to ease the transition. Another is to provide opportunities for them to experience the business culture including everything from how lunch breaks work (Do employees usually eat together in a break room, go out to local eateries, or eat at their desks?) to acceptable dress to communication style.
Take them out to lunch or provide a “welcome” lunch or snack in the break room. After all, you want them to know you’re glad they’re part of your team.
Onboarding vs. Orientation
“Onboarding” and “orientation” are not the same thing. A good onboarding program can span weeks, months, or even a year. A CareerBuilder survey reports that while a comprehensive program positively impacts employee retention and performance, 36 percent of employers don’t have one.
An onboarding program can involve new employees in games that introduce them to other employees, available services, and overall policies. Some organizations create videos that present various aspects of the business. Others include opportunities for new hires to participate with other employees in off-site events to build a sense of connection and belonging. (You can read about these and other efforts of four companies highlighted in Daniel Bortz’s article.)
Good doesn’t mean expensive
A good onboarding program need not be expensive. Teaming up new employees with other experienced employees to set up a conference call, conduct a video meeting with others in the office, or take a tour of the facility are easy-to-do activities that help a new hire “settle in.” Assigning a mentor or “buddy” who will periodically check in with them to see how they’re doing and to answer questions costs little but lets new hires know they’re not forgotten once they get started.
Make a good first impression
Have you noticed that, no matter the setting, your first contact with someone sets the tone for the rest of the visit? A grumpy receptionist at your new doctor’s office can make you uneasy, wondering if you made the right choice and if the doctor will be as difficult to talk to. The first face you see when registering your children in a new school is the administrative assistant who handles the paperwork (and so much more!). A brusque encounter without a warm, welcoming smile ratchets up the anxiety level for both you and your children. Make sure the first impression you give to your new employees is a positive one.
No first-day paperwork
Enabling new hires to complete onboarding forms online before they come to work for the first day is a great way to start. Many people routinely fill out forms and conduct personal business online, preferring the convenience. While browsing a bookstore has its own rewards, sometimes finding what you need is easier online. The same is true for almost anything from groceries to appliances to finding a new car.
Employees used to the online marketplace will appreciate the opportunity to take care of necessary “paperwork” without the paper and at the time and place of their choice. It’s only the first step in a comprehensive onboarding program, but it’s an important one that communicates both your organization’s embrace of newer technology and the valuing of employees’ time and preferences.
Streamline the process
Sage HRMS HR Actions and plugins like Sage HRMS HR Actions Dynamic Forms Checklist, both developed by Delphia Consulting, provide online forms that new hires need to complete as well as the ability to present a customized list of forms to each employee prior to their first day on the job. Call us at 1.888.421.2004 or visit our website for more information, and start on the road to a more engaging onboarding experience.
Eliminate the Burden of Paperwork
Quickly build, route and approve your own web-based forms without any programming using Sage HRMS HR Actions
Mary van Balen is based out of Columbus, Ohio and is a writer for Delphia Consulting. Mary contributes to the Delphia blog on Human Resources issues and Delphia Consulting and Sage product related updates.