The days of basic orientation no longer meet the learning and engagement needs of new hires, or the operational needs of organizations. Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink, says that new hires decide about their likelihood of staying on the job in their first 72 hours.
Exited employees candidly describe the feelings of new hires who were not onboarded effectively. Examples of what they say in Strategic TurnOver Program™ (STOP) interviews are:
- “The process to get my benefits and payroll information accurate was horrible. They couldn’t even get these ‘basics’ right!”
- “I was expected to do a lot without any training. It was unsafe.”
- “I quit after two days of orientation because they were completely unorganized and unprofessional.”
- “I never had the same mentor. It was too difficult.”
- “I felt unwelcome. Tenured employees did not talk to or help me.”
- “I never felt like I belonged.”
New Hire Check-In and STOP data from first year employees reveals issues that reduce satisfaction, increase failure to engage, and cause early turnover. The data shows the following:
- Disorganization in recruiting, hiring, and onboarding – New hires who have to wait or reschedule interviews, improper or missing resources, and an organization that does not seem to be ready for the new hire are huge dissatisfiers.
- Unclear expectations – New hires who find the job different from what they expected are at risk for first year turnover. During recruiting, organizations often use outdated job descriptions, hold interviews in quiet conference rooms away from the hustle, bustle and real work experience, and understate the job demands.
- Orientation and training issues – Many organizations rely on tenured staff to help orient new hires after general orientation. Helping new hires adjust and learn on the job requires willingness, technical and organizational savvy, feedback and coaching skills, and clear expectations.
- Unwelcome environment and lack of feedback- Strategic Programs data shows that new hires do not receive the manager’s frequent performance feedback that they need and want. Many complain that long tenured staff are unfriendly, too busy to help, or want them to prove themselves before being considered part of the team.
To set up new hires for success, organizations need seamless recruiting. Realistic interactions with current staff provide a clear picture of the job, and orientation that shares values and information are necessary to a new hire’s success. Creating a detailed, individual development plan that is competency-based and open-ended will ensure that they get the training they need.
Best practice organizations study new hire data for both commonly shared and specific needs. Contact from the application stage through fully capable to perform status requires thought and effort from managers, staff, and Human Resources. Managers and trainers must give regular feedback. Updates on performance, achieving goals, progress in being a good team member, and next steps should be part of weekly conversations. Such improvements have the following benefits:
- Positive feelings for new hires about their new job and the organization
- Quick assimilation with peers and colleagues
- Increased confidence in work performance abilities
- Increased job satisfaction
- Increased likelihood of staying, and faster decision to engage
- Improved retention