5 Ways to Improve New Employee Orientation
The first 45 days after onboarding a new employee are incredibly important, because 22 percent of turnovers happen within the first month and a half of a new job. This means that the transitional period after hiring is vital for retaining new employees. Improving the new employee orientation experience could save your company thousands of dollars and countless hours of time.
Here are five ways to integrate your next hire better, and save your company time and money by improving your hiring process.
Improve Your Orientation Process in Five Steps
Below are the best ways to encourage and retain your new employees.
1. Make a solid plan ahead of time for new employee orientation.
Some people recommend coming up with an extensive planning schedule for new employee orientation: a plan for the day prior, the first day, the initial week, the first thirty days, the initial 90 days, the 90 day mark, and even the first year.
Your plan will depend on your industry, so do your homework, put a plan in place, and then redo the plan as necessary. That way, once you have a few new recruits on board, you can always improve your processes.
2. Make a game plan for team building.
New employees aren’t robots; they are relational beings, and if you don’t create meaningful connections up front, you risk losing them as employees.
This means that their hiring manager, department manager, and colleagues should have a least one personal conversation to get to know their new team member. This doesn't have to be touchy feely time, but it is a good time to relationally welcome your new colleague. The only way all those people involved in the process is if you emphasize the importance of relationship in the new employee orientation process.
3. Communicate clearly about the job and the company.
David Almeda, chief people officer of workforce management software company Kronos, maintains that that onboarding strategies come down to the four C's.
- Company. Communicate clearly about the company as a whole—with all its goals and missions.
- Career. Discuss the new employee’s career and personal objectives.
- Culture. Share the company culture and values with them.
- Connection. Ensure relational connections and opportunities with their new colleagues.
You must communicate clearly with all levels of your org chart. Communicate up to your superiors, down to entry level positions, and across to your department heads about the orientee. The responsibility of clear communication is yours — no more excuses if you want to get it done. If you are onboarding the new employee, then you must ensure that all company goals are communicated clearly.
Good communication involves listening too, so make sure to discuss the career goals and aspirations of your employee, because that helps the onboarding process.
With regard to your own career planning, if you learn to listen (part of good communication), you will retain employees better too and become a better manager!
4. Teach, teach, teach.
My colleague, Jen, told me that she had experience with a manager in recruiting that was not an optimal teaching process — in fact, the manager didn’t teach at all. They showed her a desk, gave her a phone, and said, “Okay see you later!” No teaching, just a release into the wild world of recruiting.
She didn’t like that, but she made the best of it anyway.
Teaching may be the most important part of your onboarding process, but it's sometimes the most neglected part of new employee orientation.
Whatever industry you’re in, don’t use scare tactics to train your employees. Take time to teach the skills necessary for the job. Even if the orientee is not an experienced worker, you need to clearly teach how they fit within their new role. When new employees have a good sense of what they're doing, they'll be more likely to stay longer.
Take away: Keep new employees with solid training.
5. Offer specific expectations (and encouragement) early on.
Everyone needs personal encouragement, and this is especially important in the new employee orientation process.
We love what Jeff Haden of Inc. recommends for employers to say to new hires by way of encouragment: “Few statements are more motivating and set the stage better than, ‘I hired you because you are absolutely awesome at X… and we’re all counting on you to crush X.’”
What better way to inspire your new hire than to tell them that!
After a certain number of days (say 45-90 days), then give them specific feedback on their job performance. This could save your new employee from running away after a short period of time on the job.
Saving resources through the orientation process
Your challenge is to bring new employees onboard with no extra expenses and no wasted time. While you’re in the new employee orientation period of transition—the liminal period—it will be hard.
But if you have a good plan, implement your strategy, and maintain consistency throughout this transitional time, you will carry your new employees across the threshold of hiring and save time, money, and headaches along the way.