When you work in HR, you learn not to get your hopes up and not to be too disappointed. Despite your best efforts in recruiting and interviewing, new employees just don’t work out sometimes. We tell ourselves it just wasn’t a good fit to ease the sting of all the hours and money put in to bringing an employee on, but in all actuality, that may not be the whole truth. Sure, sometimes you or the employee finds out that all is not as it seemed, but there are also times when an employee would have fit just fine if a place had been made for them.
I think the general assumption with those outside of HR (and some in HR) is that once an employee accepts a position, they’re locked in and committed. However, acceptance from a new candidate holds about as much weight as the paper the job offer was printed on. So why is it that someone who wanted a job with your company would quit in the first several weeks? Well, it could be that they didn’t find the position a good fit, or that they didn’t get along with co-workers and supervisors, but most likely, they’ve accepted another offer.
Implement these onboarding best practices to retain your new employees even more effectively.
Lunch may sound like a simple thing, but just offering to take a new employee to lunch can go a long way. Even better, encourage managers to make a group activity of it when possible so their new employee can get to know their supervisor and co-workers. Another option is to set up a lunch rotation with an employee committee if your company has one. This takes the pressure off managers and also allows the new employee to get to know people outside their department.
Set Expectations Early
If you’ve ever been given a task or been in a position where the expectations were unclear, you know it can be frustrating. Setting expectations early lets the employee know exactly what is required of them. This can consist of an initial conversation between a manager and employee or could even be part of an initial performance review.
Make New Workers Feel Welcome
One of the most difficult things a new employee experiences is finding their place among co-workers and supervisors. To make this easier on new employees, introduce them to co-workers and other key personnel in your company. You may also consider setting up a mentoring program so that a new employee is paired with someone who knows your company well. Often, just having one person you’re familiar with makes a big difference.
Go Beyond the Employee Handbook
Going through your employee handbook is likely a staple to your onboarding process, but going beyond the employee handbook can really make employees comfortable in a new place. Think back to what you wanted to know when you first began there and make a frequently asked questions document that you can give to new employees. Be sure to include general benefits information (how to enroll, who to contact for questions), pay day information, bathroom and kitchen/break room locations, contact information for the IT department for any initial technical issues, directions for setting up voicemail, where to find office supplies and perhaps even names and addresses of a few restaurants in the area.
Be Ready When the Time Comes
All too common, technological/logistical issues can put a real damper on welcoming a new employee. It can be embarrassing, slow down your day and make a bad impression. Contact your IT and facilities departments as soon as you know your new employee’s start date so they plenty of time to order or move furniture, clean the workspace and set up computers, phones and network profiles.
Whether your office is large or small, an unfamiliar space can make people uneasy. A facility tour is a simple way to break the ice, let employees know where key areas are and provide an opportunity to introduce the employee to others throughout the company. Depending on your company’s size, this may be the only time they meet others across the building or in unrelated departments for quite a while. A facility tour also provides an informal setting for you or your manager to get to know the new employee and may also make them more likely to think of and ask questions.
As we all know, the application and interview process can take anywhere from a few days to several months. Chances are, your new employee will continue to have some type of correspondence with others companies they applied to during their job search. This means that the onboarding process is really a continuation of your recruiting. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste by dropping the ball when it comes to onboarding.
How do you put these ideas into practice? Tell us about the highlights of your onboarding puiprocess in the comments section below.