The Key to Employee Retention is Better Onboarding

It seems everywhere you look, businesses are hiring. Labor shortages are hitting every sector, and competition for top talent is fiercer than ever. Employee turnover has always been a concern for employers, but did you know that it typically costs 33% of a worker’s annual salary to replace them when they leave? When turnover is high, the damage to team morale and productivity can cost even more. Once you make that new hire, it should be a priority to ensure they have a great onboarding experience that sets them up for long-term success. 

How Can Managers Create a Better Onboarding Experience? 

  1. Start Building Relationships Before Hiring. In a highly competitive job market, managers may need to rethink their recruiting and hiring process. Employers have long had the upper hand in the hiring process, able to make potential hires jump through hoops like complex applications, multiple interviews, and lengthy waits for a final decision. These tactics will cost you top talent in the current environment. Think about where you can remove friction from the hiring process and start building rapport with potential hires. Show respect to applicants by keeping them informed about timelines for a decision and letting them know if you have decided to hire someone else. You never know when you might want to reach out to a former applicant about a different position, so make sure you have treated them well throughout the process! Demonstrating respect and kindness throughout the hiring process will ensure a positive relationship with your new hire and is the first step to a better onboarding experience. 
  2. Create a Positive First Day Experience. First days are awkward, and new employees may not know exactly where to go or who to speak to first. Existing workers may not know who this new person walking through the office is. It is up to managers to make a new employee feel welcome. The best way to do this is through preparation. Ensure the employee’s workstation is fully equipped, clean and ready to go. Advise the rest of the team that they will meet a new colleague and block time in the day for introductions and a tour of the facilities. These small details are often overlooked, but they make a big difference to a nervous new employee. 
  3. Assign New Hires a Mentor or Buddy. Learning the workplace culture can be intimidating for new hires. Assigning a more senior employee as a mentor or buddy can be a great way to help them get settled in. Their mentor can fill them in on where everyone goes to lunch, how to work office equipment, and welcome them into the social aspects of the workplace. Having someone specifically assigned to do this is important to ensure every new hire feels welcomed and included. 
  4. Communicate Expectations Clearly. Every workplace has rules and norms. Some of them are written policies, but others are generally learned by observation. If there is a hard and fast start time, make sure new hires are aware of it. If people set their own start time for the day, that should also be communicated to avoid confusion or frustration. Set clear expectations about how to call in sick, dress codes, personal phone use, and safety requirements. Communicate expectations for monitoring and responding to emails, voicemails and the like. For example, maybe the CEO likes to read and send emails at 6 AM but doesn’t expect workers to respond until normal business hours. If the new hire doesn’t know that, they may believe they should be available to work at that time, and it could cause them stress. 

These are just a few ways to create a better onboarding experience for your new hires. The key to employee retention is building positive relationships with new hires from the very beginning. Every leader can remember a rough first-day experience from the past and can take steps to do better for their new hire!