by Robert Cordray
Congratulations! You’ve hired the right person for the right job. Now all you have to do is make sure your new hire makes a smooth transition to valued employee. How hard can that be? Actually, this transformative process, called onboarding, is more difficult — and more important — than it may seem, according to guest post author Robert Cordray. According to recent statistics furnished by Monster.com, 30% of external new hires turn over within the first two years of employment. Other organizations, such as the Society for Human Resources Management, report that turnover during the first 18 months of employment can be as much as 50%. As more and more Millennials, who are known to change jobs frequently, enter the workforce, the trend toward shorter employee retention is likely to continue — making the onboarding process more critical than ever. For those organizations looking to boost employee retention through more effective onboarding, here’s a look at some successful and innovative tactics that have long-term results.
Get co-workers involved in the hiring process
Existing employees may see new hires as outsiders who pose potential threats to their own jobs. This can result in new employees feeling alienated and unwelcomed, which is the last thing they should be feeling when starting a new job. A smart way to avoid this scenario is for managers to involve other employees in the hiring process. This not only shows existing employees that management values their opinions and expertise — which in itself is important for boosting engagement and retention — it also helps current employees get better acquainted with candidates who, in the event they are hired, will receive a warmer welcome as new members of the existing team.
Set realistic expectations
New employees constitute a considerable investment for a company and most managers would hope to start seeing results from that investment sooner than later. These expectations, if voiced too early, can cause undue pressure on new employees, who are already pressuring themselves to start delivering right away. A better strategy for managers is to relax expectations, letting new employees know that the first order of business is for them to listen to, observe and learn from existing employees. This tactic allows new hires to build relationships of trust with co-workers that will not only lead to better individual and team results, but higher employee retention rates.
Seek two-way feedback from the get-go
New employees welcome suggestions and feedback to help them do their jobs better. But unsolicited feedback can be viewed as being critical, which can put new hires on the defensive. A smart approach for managers is to ask new employees for permission to provide honest feedback regarding how they’re doing, at the same time soliciting honest feedback from the employee as to how they feel that they—the managers—are doing. This type of two-way feedback, along with helping new employees learn to be more effective sooner, also goes a long way in making new employees feel that they have a voice and that their ideas and opinions are valued and appreciated.
Be the example
When all is said and done, new employees need managers to show them that the traits and virtues the company preaches in the handbook are actually practiced in the workplace. In recognizing that management and co-workers are dedicated to abiding by the company’s high standards, new employees will be much more motivated to model the same behavior.
Leaders need coaching, too
Implementing a successful onboarding process can be challenging for any organization. Enlisting the aid of a qualified leadership coach can be very beneficial in helping management to recognize and effectively utilize onboarding strategies. These kinds of strategies get lasting results — and lead to greater employee retention.
Robert Cordray is a freelance writer and expert in business and finance.
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