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Employee Retention Starts Before Day 1: New Hire Onboarding Tips

In today’s job market, many executives understand that they need to do more than ever before to retain their best talent.  With a low unemployment rate, it’s the skilled candidates who hold the power as opposed to the employer.  As a result, if an employee does not feel satisfied with their position, there is often little hesitation to move on.  While retaining your top employees requires several elements to consider, keep in mind that this process begins before the employee even starts working.  Instead of making changes to retain talent as a reactionary measure, be proactive, and set up your new hires for success before day one.

When a new hire begins a job, the pressure is on for the employer to make an excellent first impression.  Regardless of what happened in the interview process, the entire onboarding process can make or break the employee’s experience throughout their tenure with the organization.  In order to set the tone, procedures should be in place to get them acclimated and ready for day one.  Throughout the months that onboarding requires, here are the steps you should take starting immediately after an offer is accepted:

Before Day 1:

  • Send key information: Before your new employee starts, be sure that they have everything they could need to start on a strong note. This includes reminding them of necessary identification for paperwork, as well as informing them of any other first day details like their expected arrival time or the dress code policy.  Plus, you can give them an idea of what to expect.  Whether they will be in HR seminars or diving straight into work, easing some of the uncertainty can help them perform better and focus on what really matters.
  • Organize their workspace: Instead of waiting until they arrive, be sure to clear a workspace ahead of time.  This includes being sure that they have a desk or table to work on, as well as a functioning computer and other necessary tools (pens, paper, etc.).  While this may seem relatively insignificant, nothing makes a poor first impression like not having a place for your new hire to sit.  This can leave the employee feeling as though their managers are disorganized and underprepared right from the start.

On Day 1:

  • Be ready with a schedule: In addition to being sure that you are available to greet your new hire, outline a schedule for the day. This can take some of the pressure off of the first day and allow the employee to focus on more important details like basic work duties and learning names.
  • Outline policies: In addition to discussing work responsibilities, be sure that you take your new hire through an employee handbook or similar literature that outlines key policies like time off and hours of operation.
  • Introduce the team: While it can be easy to spend more time outlining policies and job responsibilities, introducing your new hire to the team on day one is the best way to be sure that they get familiar with the organization. Even if they don’t work with someone directly, taking a few seconds for an introduction to key players can help you promote an inclusive culture.
  • Eat lunch together: Even if you usually eat lunch separately, go the extra mile to make your employee feel welcome.  Just a few minutes of socialization can help anyone to feel more comfortable, and lunch is the perfect opportunity to ease some of the initial tension.
  • Assign a peer coach: In order to get your new team member through their first few weeks, assigning someone to answer any questions can be helpful for both the employee and the team as a whole. A coach can give your new hire a resource they can turn to for assistance in daily minutia, making any internal transitions more effective.
  • Outline expectations: Lastly, while the first day may not be a heavy work day, be sure that your new employee meets with management and gets a clear outline of what is expected of them on the job.  By doing so, the employee will have a better understanding of the path lying ahead; plus, they’ll be less likely to falter if expectations are laid out beforehand!

After Day 1:

  • Have them contribute early on: A good way to be sure that this employee feels included in the organization is to allow them to contribute to a big project early on in their tenure. While it may be hard to relinquish some control, find a way to show them that you trust them to do an excellent job. If they can understand how meaningful their job can be from the start, they’re more likely to see the value in their work.
  • Provide feedback: In order to be sure that your employee learns everything correctly, be sure that you are providing feedback early and often. In addition to being sure that expectations are kept clear, it is very likely that your employee would prefer consistent feedback as opposed to one annual (and formal) review.  Plus, any arising issues can be halted before they become a bigger problem.
  • Listen to their needs: Early communication between a new hire and management can only help each party be clear on expectations. Not only does the new team member need consistent assessments from you, but you also need feedback from them.  If you don’t want to lose out on a talented professional, you should be sure that their needs are being met at work.  By keeping the doors of communication open, you’ll be sure to catch potential issues earlier on before you wind up losing the employee altogether.

The Execu|Search Group is a leading recruitment, temporary staffing, and workforce management solutions firm. Since opening our doors in 1985, we have helped over 26,000 companies find talent. Learn how we can work together to find your next great hire, here.

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