The hiring process can be a long and frustrating affair, with little room for error. So why then to many businesses fall over at the one crucial part of it – the on-boarding? To go through all that time and effort to end up with the candidate leaving or worse still, completely disengaged from the moment they start, is a waste. When you consider that candidates who are not properly on-boarded and orientated into the workplace environment are 80% more likely to leave within 6 months (with a fair majority of those leaving within 6 weeks), it is an area of vital importance that is so often overlooked.
So, how then do we make sure we properly orientated the new employee into the organisation whilst giving them the best possible chance to properly engage with the workplace immediately?
1. Lose the Day 1 Mentality
Too many on-boarding and orientation process are obsessed with ‘Day 1’. Everything has to happen on day one. All introductions, work scope, task lists, log ins and accesses have to happen on day one and it is seen as an unmitigated disaster if this doesn’t happen. That’s fine…but it forgets one thing – the poor new employee. Swamped with so much happening on their first day, their sense of the overwhelming will be prominent…and dangerous for any long-term retention.
2. Plan Plan Plan
From this loss of the Day 1 mentality, an on-boarding plan is able to breathe a little. Put together a clear plan of work over the first day, week, month and quarter to allow the employee to ease and grow into the role. This planning should have regular updates with the employee to make sure they are handling the new role well.
3. Lose the KPIs
If you hit the new employee with a whole array of KPIs and performance targets immediately, you have failed. Simple. The introduction of these should occur much later into their employment, when settling in and comfort has been achieved. Much worse, if you set Day 1 targets that must be abided by as a basis of their immediate continued employment, get out of business – because you suck at it. No amount of ‘sink or swim’ justification will suffice. It is a policy of a rotten employer.
3. Is the Director / CEO / Owner Involved?
Speaking at a recent engagement, I was given the story of a business whose CEO refused point-blank to engage with any new employee. This wasn’t a huge multi-national, but a small 10-person operation. Ludicrous! If the top of your business does not want to meet with any new employee, it is a huge mistake. If that new employee does not feel a part of the organisation, from top down and understands their role in the eyes of greater business, then that Director / CEO / Owner has failed a basic test of employee engagement.
4. It Isn’t Just Showing Where the Bathroom and Kitchen Is.
New employees need to know exactly where they sit in the organisation and its overall strategy, what their role will do to contribute to it and how they will bring their skills to the fore. Remember this: there is nothing like losing a candidate because they did not feel a part of the overall organisation immediately
5. Think Engagement
The activities of any on-boarding or orientation process must have the central themes of employee engagement at its heart. Having a new employee feel a part of an organisation from the moment they start is incredibility vital. It will mean that employee will be productive from the start and feel a part of the team immediately. It should be the aim of any organisation with new employees.
Just as you have one chance to make a first impression, how a business handles a new employee, one they have spent time and resources finding, is incredibly vital. Stuff it up, and you will not have an employee completely in line with your culture, strategy and growth. Get it right, sow the seeds of engagement from the moment they arrive, and your chances of having a solidly engaged and advocating employee are greatly enhanced.