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Optimizing the Onboarding Process to Lower Employee Turnover

By Jori Hamilton

Optimizing onboarding

Image Source: You X Ventures on Unsplash

September 29 2020 - As an HR rep, have you ever felt the crushing loss of a great employee who decided to leave your organization for another? It can be truly heartbreaking, and the startling fact is that they are likely leaving because they found something they aren't getting at your organization. What can be even more surprising is that in many cases, the path to keeping these great employees starts as early as their first day of employment.

Many companies have a very simple onboarding process that includes some paperwork and a brief tour around the office before the employee is placed in a chair and put to work. While many employees are thrilled to start a new job, this brief process may not be enough to set them up for success. In reality, you need a comprehensive onboarding process, so you build up and create employees who are in it for the long haul. Here are some tips on how to do just that.

Welcome Them With Open Arms

If you want to get an employee excited about a new position, then you need to prove it the day that they are hired. Immediately send out their hire paperwork so they can view and fill it out at home on their own time. You can send the forms digitally so the employee can have a copy and refer to it whenever necessary during their employment.

Once they arrive, instead of scrambling around to get a space for them to sit and set up their equipment, prepare for their arrival by having their computer and workspace ready to go ahead of time. A pre-made placard with their name and position on their cube or office will show that you are excited for them to join your company and that you see them as a valued asset. You want them going home at the end of the night to tell their loved ones about how great the company is. Not only will this keep them excited to return each day, but they may refer their equally qualified friends to future positions.

Next, instead of training them solely on what their job will be over the next couple of months,create a developmental plan that shows in detail how their career will grow and the positions they can be promoted to as they go along. This will show them that they are not just another cog in the machine, but instead, an employee that your business has a plan for and that you want to see them succeed and help the company thrive. After that, bring them on a detailed tour as you introduce managers and directors and describe each of their departments, in case the work interests the new hire.

Employee Handbook

During the orientation process, take the time to go over the employee handbook and not only tell them what is allowed and what isn't, but explain how the company provides these policies for their benefit. Be sure to preface this presentation by explaining who the new employees can turn to if they have questions about the policies, including the names of the HR reps and how to contact them and get to their offices. Their doors should always be open to employees and those employees should know there is no such thing as a wrong question.

For many, the benefits that they receive at their job is what will make or break their chances for long-term employment. For instance, some people rely on the health insurance that they get at work to be able to visit the doctor and get necessary medications, so explain these plans in detail and all of the options. Other benefits are also very important for workers, including the ability to take time off for emergencies and a flexible schedule if they have families. Make sure that you explain these policies thoroughly and answer any questions.

Since they spend a third of their life at work, employees want to know that their new company wants them to succeed and encourages positivity every day that they come to work. This is why your company would do well to offer wellness programs that promote exercise, smart eating, and tools to prevent over-stressed employees. So, describe how your work culture promotes these programs, and if the presentation is convincing enough, the new employee will rarely have second thoughts about the position.

Set Them Up for Success

At this point, you have gone over all of the basics of the company. That's great, but you don't want to fall victim to the mistake that other companies make and just send the new employee out into the wild to figure out their job and responsibilities on their own. Instead, you want to show them that this is just the first step in the onboarding process and that you will be there for them over the next several months while they find their footing.

The best way to do this is to assign a mentor to the new employee. This is someone to whom they can whenever necessary and ask questions about their job duties, how to get around, and any lingo they may not be familiar with. Be sure to choose a mentor who is patient and has the time to assist, so they won't get frustrated if the employee asks the same questions repeatedly.

The trainers or associates responsible for the onboarding process should make it a point to check in on the employee 90 days later to make sure that they are comfortable and happy with what they are doing. Ask them how they feel, and if there is anything they wanted to learn that they haven't yet. Also, ask them directly about the onboarding process and use their feedback for future sessions.

When most people think about retaining employees, they often focus on how happy the worker is later on in their career, but really, the first impression means everything. Exude positivity on day one, show that you care, and you could have an employee for life.

About the author

Jori Hamilton

Jori Hamilton is a freelance writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity, recruitment, HR, and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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