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Onboarding: Don’t make Day 1 the beginning of the end

Why is it important to collect employee feedback from the first day?

Well, you’ve been the “new guy” yourself a couple of times, haven’t you? How would you feel about your new employer if HR didn’t even prepare your workplace? Onboarding is like love at first sight. If there is no feeling, one third of employees start thinking about ending the unhappy relationship – right from the start.

Remember that movie, “The Devil Wears Prada”? Where Meryl Streep is just unbelievably cruel to her new assistant, Anne Hathaway? She told her right off what she could wear to the office and that she was not up to snuff. Even though Anne was oh-so cute in that old sweater! Talk about bad mistakes in onboarding! Luckily, this was just a movie. Therefore, Anne got promoted, stayed with the company, and came out on top. In reality, about one third of employees quit within their first crucial three months on the job.

Source: Technology Can Save Onboarding from Itself / Harvard Business Review

Among Millennials, that percentage is even higher, and happens even earlier. Oh, these guys are so choosy! But they know bad onboarding when they see one.

So, if your company’s idea of onboarding the new guy is about how Meryl Streep treats her new assistant, you might find these simple but significant ways to improve that process mighty helpful:

Start them off with an entry interview

Get to know your colleague! After all, you’ll spend many working hours together so it might be nice to know what makes her – let’s keep calling her Anne – thrive. But don’t rush it and keep it light. Make sure this wasn’t the first and last discussion and schedule regular check-ins. Studies show that feedback on a regular basis improves performance.

Total Recall

Anne will meet a great number of people even on that first day, shake a lot of hands (well, at least before the pandemic). However, many managers bring the new hire around the office to meet everyone but neglect to give their full names and their function, giving Anne a hard time to remember. One important rule is: Look for warning signs of information overload!

Distribute the workload just right

When assigning Anne to her tasks, there’s two traps Meryl Streep can fall into:
1. Giving her unchallenging work. This might be OK in the beginning, when you don’t want to overstress the new team member. However, according to research, unchallenging jobs puts an employee at a greater risk of quitting.
2. Overstrain Anne at the very beginning, as if the company has been waiting for her alone to work all of this off. So, a good way to avoid both traps is to just add to their workload in increments, see how she’s dealing with it.

Share the vision

Immerse Anne in your culture from day one. Share the company’s vision, mission and core values. When an employee understands the purpose behind the company (vision), how the company plans to fulfill that purpose (mission), and the guiding set of beliefs and behaviors that will help the company achieve its purpose (core values), the employee can align with their own beliefs and behaviors and see how they not only align with the values, but contribute to the company’s overall purpose. By the way, that’s how Anne came around in the movie: when she finally got what the company stands for, she was OK with Meryl.

Get her a mentor

Right from the start, employees should know what a successful employee at your organization does. Find model employees to mentor and speak with Anne to show her what success looks like at your company. Set short term goals for your new hires to meet; review them, and offer real, applicable feedback on what they did and did not do well in meeting those goals.

Yes, there’s more to onboarding than just distributing a notepad and the ID card. The process can play a major role in the decision to stay on or seek out other opportunities. In fact, a study from the Society for Human Resources Management found that 69 percent of employees who participated in a well-designed onboarding program were more likely to stay in their jobs for up to three years. Not just the manager, but also the members of a new hire’s team have a direct impact on the new colleague’s transition and longevity at your company.

How is onboarding important to company success?

  • According to the relocation management platform Urbanbound, onboarding done right results in 54% greater productivity
  • The better the onboarding, the faster employees get up to speed and deliver valuable work to the company
  • Employees tend to stay longer at a company when they’ve had a positive onboarding experience
  • It’s estimated that replacing an employee in a managerial position can cost an average of six to nine month’s salary

Source: Employee retention: The real cost of losing an employee / PeopleKeep

  • An onboarding strategy increases employee engagement, which impacts your customers’ satisfaction as well as your bottom line
  • A better onboarding process increases the likelihood that new hires will recommend you as a place to work, potentially referring more top talent to the organization

Find out with an onboarding survey

Take it from us. At Screver we create surveys about the onboarding experience. You wouldn’t believe what kind of hair-raising answers we sometimes get. Our customers usually find it surprising and eye-opening. After only a few short weeks, employees drag themselves to work, looking for a way out.

That’s why the first 90 days of a new job are so important for both parties: employees should be able to acclimate to their role as a team member and the company’s philosophies.

It is during this onboarding process that employees become truly engaged and committed to the company’s success. Overall turnover rates have only been increasing during this period.

Our anonymous surveys include not just the general satisfaction, but evaluate the manager’s feedback, the effectiveness of orientation processes, and the likelihood to stay, to name a few. The results flag key insights. The feedback platform analyzes qualitative responses, offers a sentiment analysis and suggests an action plan. You’ll use the insights you’ve collected to boost employee engagement.

Source: Boost the ROI of employee engagement initiatives: Introducing Impact Drivers / Leapsome

Don’t underestimate the power of feedback

Don’t underestimate the importance of onboarding. It can be a costly mistake. To find out how successful your process has been so far, run a meaningful survey to get some honest feedback about how well your recruitment strategy is truly working, as well as making employees feel like their opinions about the company are being listened to. Remember: it’s a first impression that can’t be undone. In the movies, Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway finally respect each other for what they are, even though Meryl made Anne feel unwelcome from Day One. Happy Ending! In reality, this story would end rather differently.

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