Employees’ First Days on the Job Affect Their Willingness to Stay
By Cara Silletto, MBA, and Leah Brown – Crescendo Strategies
As companies prepare and adapt for the shorter-term workforce today, onboarding becomes an even more crucial piece to the retention puzzle. An evaluation and potential revamp of your orientation and onboarding processes may be critical for greater staffing stability moving forward.
Before Day One
Even before day one on the job, new hires should know what to expect. They should know where to go, what to wear (like no leggings), and whether they should bring their own lunch on their first day. These are things managers or HR can easily communicate to new employees and yet many fail to relay the message thinking those instructions are “common sense.” But it’s simple to avoid day-one misunderstandings by addressing common missteps of previous new hires, so make the easy effort to communicate your expectations more clearly before they arrive and they’ll be less likely to miss the boat.
Orientation & Onboarding
Once new hires get in the building, it’s important to keep the communication rolling to avoid future misunderstandings. If your company’s employees consistently miss the boat on certain issues, there’s likely an information gap. A clearer, more thorough employee handbook and day-one orientation plan can often fill in this gap. Without updating these over time, managers shouldn’t be shocked when employees do something the managers never told them they couldn’t do.
And upon a new employee’s hire, it can be great to get them activated quickly – but only if they’re fully prepared. Take steps to ensure that your new employees are ready for the work situations likely to come up, and don’t throw them into the fire before providing adequate training. This lack of preparation often pushes good hires away who feel they were “set up to fail.” Provide the tools they’ll need, teach them about the company’s culture and history so they know who you are, and run through scenarios they could potentially see in their role early on – all before shoving them onto the floor and hoping for the best.
Checking in with New Hires
Even though most initial onboarding processes aren’t long (typically less than a week), managers shouldn’t assume that time period was enough. Managers should check in regularly with new hires…and be genuine about it. The reason is twofold: One, it helps employees see that their managers care about their staff and their development. And two, if the same questions from new employees are popping up time after time, managers can figure out what additional training and resources new hires need to educate them on the missing pieces. Sometimes figuring out how to best integrate your new hires can come straight from previous new hires: Let them tell you what they need.
Be intentional about when you have these conversations, too. If your company has high turnover at specific benchmarks of tenure (within a few weeks, at 3 months, etc.), schedule staff check-ins according to that timeline to try to close their intended escape route. This way, you can stay ahead of the curve and be able to handle new hires’ concerns before they escalate to a two-week notice (or none at all).
So much of a company’s problem with high employee turnover can be alleviated in the early stages. That’s why revamping and solidifying your onboarding processes and keeping communication open throughout the risky periods of an employee’s early days can make a huge difference in your retention efforts.
The reasons behind employee turnover can be complicated – and hard to pin down. This is part 3 of a 6-part series delving into retention strategies and tips that make it easier to keep your employees. This series was derived and modified from the M.A.G.N.E.T. strategies outlined in Cara Silletto and Leah Brown‘s recent book “Staying Power: Why Your Employees Leave and How to Keep Them Longer.”
The workforce thought leaders and speakers at Crescendo Strategies work with thousands of business leaders to help reduce unnecessary employee turnover. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how Crescendo Strategies’ programs or Workforce Retention Bootcamp could help your organization.
Part 1: Management Effectiveness Makes or Breaks Retention Efforts
Part 2: Recruiting Strategies to Bolster Staff Retention
Part 4: New Staffing Models that Reduce Unnecessary Employee Turnover
Part 5: Empowering Company Leaders Improves Retention
Part 6: Need to Retain Your Talent? Start With Building Trust