Sixty-five percent of employees are actively looking for an exit strategy from their current companies. What can a company do to protect internal talent? Well, there are a few options, but the beginning is a good place to start.
According to SHRM, effective onboarding improves retention rates by 52%. So why is it important to get employees on board with your onboarding? You don’t get a second first impression.
Here are five ways to ensure your first encounter is a memorable one:
1. Begin before day one. Everyone remembers their first day of school. You’re nervous, you hope you’re wearing the right outfit, and you have fingers crossed there is someone to eat with at lunch. A professional’s first day on the job can be similar. You want to break down the barrier of “newness” by creating familiarity. Send a preboarding email to include relevant reading materials. This will give new hires the chance to acclimate themselves with the company, product, service and be able to engage in conversation off the bat.
2. Put a face to the name. Executive presence is a meaningful way to demonstrate that people matter to an organization. Kick off your onboarding with an executive welcome. This gives leaders a chance to meet the newest additions to their organization and a chance for new hires to see how their respective roles tie to a bigger picture.
3. Involve the audience. Onboarding should be an interactive experience that engages the audience to learn the company, culture, and products, first hand. The more engaged they are, the more likely they will retain the information being presented. Here are a few simple ways to incorporate interaction into your onboarding:
- Intermittent ice breakers to build a good rapport
- Verbal quizzes after each key session
- Partner role plays for actionable skill development
- Accountability partners for self-work assignments
- “Peak/Pit” to share their successes and struggles during onboarding
4. Focus on production value. The most effective production is the one you can’t see. Being meticulous about the logical progression of the agenda, session transitions, breaks, activities, and speaker involvement, will ensure new hires can focus less on logistical details and more on the content being delivered. The production value of the onboarding experience is the difference between a flat training and a culture immersion.
5. Infuse your culture. The above four steps will put you well on your way to infusing the company's culture into the onboarding experience. To take it a step further, be sure to incorporate cultural elements during the full duration of onboarding. A few examples include:
- Company “all-hands” to introduce new hires to the greater organization
- Video testimonials from clients and partners
- Have internal stakeholders introduce your company’s vision, mission and values
- Bring in subject matter experts that can give live examples of what it’s like to work in a particular role
- Hand out marketing material (notebooks, water bottles, hats, etc) that new hires can use to proudly represent their new company
There are certainly more ways than one, or five, to welcome a new hire into an organization. The key is to remember that a first impression can’t be made twice. A strong onboarding experience correlates to higher job satisfaction, better job performance, greater organizational commitment, and reduction in occupational stress and intent to quit. Putting effort in on the front end will positively impact retention on the back end.