Employee Onboarding: Increase Retention and Engagement

Congratulations! You’ve hired a great new employee. Now what?

Lots of resources – financial, time and energy – go into training your employees. Retaining them is important to the functioning and growth of your company or organization. The employee onboarding process is a critical component of that retention. Horror stories ranging from a lack of a good onboarding plan to not having one at all abound.

So what IS employee onboarding anyway? According to the Society for HR Management (SHRM), “Onboarding is the process by which new hires get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization.” [1] Up to twenty (20) percent of employee turnover takes place in the first forty-five (45) days. A smooth and welcoming shift from new hire to productive employee is critical to retention and engagement.

Make sure new employees understand all of the benefits available to them within the first few days on the job. Benefits are part of their compensation package and many don’t see or understand the positive financial impact. According to the latest Benefits Communication Survey results, eighty (80) percent of benefit plan participants do not open or read communications materials, forty-nine (49) percent do not understand the materials and thirty-one (31) percent do not see any value in their benefits.[2] Benefits should be explained in easily understood manner and in different formats: written, verbal discussion during orientation or video.

HR should play a key role in the onboarding process. They need to be seen as a resource, not the spooky people somewhere in an office you only see once or twice a year or if there is a problem.

Orientation doesn’t have to be a formal classroom set up, but you absolutely need a plan. Review your company/organization’s “soft skills” expectations: showing up for work on time, working while you are on the job, dressing appropriately, computer/internet use policies, etc. These soft skills may seem a given, but it is a growing gap in business that is especially noticeable among the youngest or least experienced candidates. These recruits are a resource to cultivate, but will also need guidance and mentoring on what it means to be an engaged and vital part of your organization.

Managers/supervisors need to understand the importance of coaching/mentoring new hires, how to retain them, and ultimately help them reach their career goals (hopefully within your organization or company). Poor management is one of the main reasons employees leave so quickly.[3] Make sure you take into account that coaching and mentoring needs may vary from individual to individual. Don’t leave your new resources hanging in the wind in their new roles by scheduling regular check-ins (and actually making sure they happen). It will take extra time and effort, but the positive impact will be seen quickly. As a business/organization, make sure your managers/supervisors are ready to work on the soft skills as well.

Multiple simple no or low cost steps also exist to help the new employee feel welcome, including a welcome sign or note at desk signed by either their new team or manager/CEO; computer logins, etc. set and ready to go on day one and someone ready to walk them through the process; a planned orientation period and having someone take them to lunch on first day and again (different someone) at the end of the week.

Employee onboarding gets your new hires engaged in the culture and flow of the workplace and helps them become productive members of the team. All Points Advising can help you establish an onboarding policy and plan that works for your business. Contact us with questions!

[1] https://www.shrm.org/about/foundation/products/Pages/OnboardingEPG.aspx#sthash.UiES8URj.dpuf

[2] https://www.ifebp.org/aboutus/pressroom/releases/Pages/Spotlight-on-Employee-Benefits-Communication-for-Many-Organizations.aspx

[3] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/reducing-new-employee-turnover-among-emerging-adults.aspx