Retention starts before their first day!

An effective onboarding program can have a significant impact on your ability to retain great people, help them get up to speed quickly and contribute productively – sooner.  The key is to make each new team member feel important and help remove those new job jitters as quickly as possible.  Once they aren’t worried about whether they will be accepted into the new “tribe” they will settle in and be a member of the team.  Here are some tips on getting them on-boarded on a budget. 

  1. Define your process – From the point you receive acceptance you should build a process for getting your new hire thru their transition period and into their spot on your team.  The “homeless” feeling is unsettling for a lot of people and this is when they need you most.  If left unattended, you may lose them to a counteroffer from their current company, or another offer from a competing opportunity.  Build a task list and assign activities for each step.
  2. The Welcome call – The hiring manager should be the very first person to welcome each person to their team.  This call should take place the moment your offer is accepted and before your new person resigns.  This call helps solidify their decision – and gives them a friendly voice during a scary time.
  3. Paperwork and preparation material There are a couple of ways to handle this – but the objective is to give your new hires something to focus on for their new position.  The transition time will be very unsettling for them – and a look into the future is a good thing.  You can either schedule a meeting with your new hire to review benefit information and give them some pre-work to think about.  You might even consider a team lunch to help break the ice with your group.  If the new hire is out of town you can ship material to them with a personal note and then schedule a video call in lieu of a personal meeting.
  4. Details, Details, Details – Make sure that someone is tasked with ordering their computer, office supplies and setting up their workspace.  Nothing says welcome better than being prepared when they walk in the door.  Also, make sure that your new employee knows when to report, who to ask for and how to dress – more little details that will help them feel less nervous on day one.
  5. Welcome Gift – A nice little added touch is a small gift to welcome them to the team.  Maybe it’s a book that you like everyone to read, a coffee mug, a gift basket, a logo shirt – whatever – just a small token to let them know they are important in your world.
  6. First Day Tour – Remember, your new hire doesn’t know the ropes – you need to show them.  Little things like the break room, how to make coffee, where the filtered water is kept, where the restrooms are, how to operate the printer, the access control system and who to approach when they need help.  Also, take time to introduce them around – let them know where the executives sit and share some of the “tribal knowledge” with them so they don’t make unnecessary blunders.
  7. Assign a buddy – This isn’t necessarily their mentor but rather someone who can be their “work friend” for the first month.  This person will make sure that they share the best lunch spots, get them involved in the company’s social scene and help your new hire get plugged in appropriately.
  8. Align a Mentor – This is a more official role.  Each new hire should have a mentor other than their manager.  This person is likely in a peer relationship and has been with the company for some time.  This mentor is responsible for the professional orientation and productivity of your new employee.  Of course the mentor will work closely with the hiring manager to make sure that everyone has the same expectations for success!  This relationship will be “officially” 90 days – but in many cases the mentorship is so beneficial to both members it continues through their tenure.

You’ve spent a lot of time and energy hiring great talent.  Make sure you invest in their orientation so they know how much you are counting on them.  Drop me a line if you have any cool tips that we can pass along to others.  Happy Spring!

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