According to a recent poll from Gallup, 70 percent of employees aren’t actively engaged in their roles. This lack of engagement in my opinion starts early; if your new employee gets off to a bad start, it will be dangerously hard to fix later on. Your company has a lot to lose by not having an onboarding process in place.
Have you ever started a new job and thought to yourself “What the hell am I doing here?” When I started my new role at the clinic that was exactly what I was thinking.
You see, I was working at an Agency that I absolutely, hated. There wasn’t any room for growth, clicks, and the CEO was arrogant, constantly reminding staff that he was the CEO, as if we already did not know that. I’ll discuss further in a later blog. Point is, I hated being there so I decided to look further.
What so many organizations fail to realize is that on-boarding begins prior to the start of your new hire’s start date. It begins when you receive the applicant’s application.
I remember taking on a new position at a clinic. Prior to my start I received an email to schedule an interview. There were some going back and forward via email for a while, while trying to figure out what would be the best time to meet. After several emails, I thought to myself, why doesn’t this person just pick up the phone and call me? Unfortunately his email signature did not obtain a contact number.
We finally schedule a time to meet and I am at the facility waiting to be interviewed, I wait, and wait, I continue to wait until the clinical director arrives about 45 minutes later, he over slept. We enter into his office; by the way, it is a mess, teddy bears everywhere, tons and tons of certificates, old furniture and what not. He informs me that the company is new and that there will be some remodeling. I think oh okay, this explains it. Needless to say, his office never changes and there wasn’t any remodeling done.
Next, I turn my attention to his clothing, a t-shirt that appears to not have been washed in weeks, ripped jeans, flip flops and unshaved/un-kept facial hair. He explains that he has just been promoted as clinical director and has been super busy straightening up the place. Again, I say to myself, this explains it but deep down inside I knew that something was wrong.
Fast forward, I accept the job and on day one my manager is nowhere to be found, I do not have a telephone or computer, my office that was supposed to be remodeled is a mess, and I am provided no new hire paperwork, not to mention no one greeted me. Be aware this organization terminated at least 5 employees a month prior to my start, during my time there, and after I left. Since I have left, they have seen a total of three HR directors.
Point being, is that the onboarding process should be a major concern for an organization of any size. Considering 25 percent of all Americans experience some form of career transition every year, the odds are new people will be joining your company and will need to get up to speed quickly.
Those organizations willing to put in the time and effort to improve their onboarding process, experience substantial benefits. The Aberdeen Group, reports 54 percent greater new hire productivity awaits companies with a standard onboarding procedure. Not to mention that these organizations experience 50 percent greater new hire retention.
Onboarding isn’t occurring very well as you saw in my example. When we examine turnover rate, about 59 percent of employees leave an organization within the first year. Why? Your new hire arrives and the manager is not available to introduce the new staff member to the rest of the team, not to mention the ton of paperwork that has to be completed, voice mail and computers are not set up or in place, and your organization did not take the time to clean the work area.
The four Cs of onboarding are:
- Connection – Aligning new hires and tenured employees
- Culture – very critical
Tips on onboarding:
- Get feedback from your employees and act on it
- Follow-up with your new employee at the end of his/her first day as well as at the end of the week.
- Personalize your organization’s offer letter
- Send a welcome card
- Create a onboarding checklist (tools that are needed, e.g. computer)
- Ensure that the first day is fun. Zappos for example, has a scavenger hunt
- Schedule a short team meeting welcoming the new employee
- Create a personal fact sheet (e.g. picture, start date, personal info)
- Have mentors in place
Lastly, an organization’s culture fit is essential for ensuring new hire retention. Employee turnover can be very expensive and a bad hire can set a company back thousands of dollars. Studies report that 60 percent of workers see their workplaces as poorly managed. Reducing office politics will lead to a more positive company culture and more engaged employees (Lavoie).
Mentorship programs are a great way to get your new hires acclimated into your organization’s culture. Mentorship programs help new employees form lasting relationships to their coworkers and the company. Just like every house/building is in need a good foundation, onboarding employees means giving your best new hires a strong base from which to grow within the company (Lavoie).