Employee Turnover – Are You Making a Mistake in Your Onboarding Process?

23 March, 2022

By Iventa The Human Management Group (Austria)

Trends in the global HR market continue to evolve more quickly than ever, and the remote work revolution has made it even more difficult to retain top talent. To deal with an alarming rate of employee turnover, known as “The Great Resignation”, organizations are reviewing their HR strategies. Onboarding has come into focus as an area that can contribute to significantly longer employee retention rates.

Why strengthen your organization’s onboarding processes?

Considering that about 25% of all newly hired employees leave the company within the first year, it is worth taking the time to consistently and professionally follow-through after successful recruiting with a thoughtful onboarding program.

What does onboarding involve?

Onboarding is a process that guides a new employee from the hire phase to successful integration into the company. Companies with a successful onboarding process have a 50% higher employee retention rate and a 54% higher productivity per new hire compared to companies without a structured onboarding process.

Just like in sales or during a job interview, first impressions count, including the impression a company makes on applicants!

Successful onboarding includes 5 essential steps:

1) Preparation before the Official Start Date

Use this time to do your internal homework. In addition to the technical setup of the workplace, it is essential to inform the future manager about the new hire potential and the areas of development, and to exchange ideas. For team leads who are doing this for the first time, it makes sense to educate them in detail about their role and tasks in the onboarding process.

Transparency, information, and communication are relevant cornerstones for good collaboration, so get all existing employees on board in advance and inform them about which new colleagues are joining the team. A kind of induction plan can help to pass on essential information about the company to new employees. Consider sending this information even before the first working day for more visibility and orientation for the first weeks.

2) First Day of Work

By welcoming the new employee with a small bouquet of flowers, a welcome card or even an onboarding package, you already make a very positive impression. However, as a manager, be sure to take the time to personally welcome your new team member on the first day and introduce the most important areas and key colleagues with an office tour.

At the end of the day, it is also advisable to have a personal meeting to compare mutual expectations, review the first day and clarify the next steps together. Are you currently working more and more from home? No problem, onboarding works very well despite home office and partial presence in the office through regular virtual meetings and chats.

3) Targeted Support through the Initial Period

In addition to clear and perhaps even written “house rules”, there is always a multitude of company-related values and norms.

An experienced buddy or mentor can help familiarize the new employee with the company’s culture, strategies and direction, key people, information sources and communication channels. In addition, you pave the way for a good acceptance within the circle of colleagues.

Try this best practice: Once a quarter, hold official “Welcome Days” where all new employees are invited. During these days, all business units as well as the key contact people are briefly introduced, the first questions are clarified and basic information such as the company history and everyday work processes are explained.

The goal here is not only to paint the “big picture” in the best possible way, but to be able to offer the newcomers the chance to better network right from the beginning.

4) First Month at Work:

Onboarding is not complete after just a few days on the job. Particularly in the first month, it is important to introduce the new employee to the new work area step by step based on a plan, to hold regular feedback meetings and thus to provide the new hire with essential orientation.

 It is also important to clarify: How satisfied is everyone? What can the company do to support the employee even more intensively?

Try this best practice: In the onboarding process, it’s important to plan fixed feedback meetings with managers, buddies, and the HR department. After all, it’s not only about giving feedback to the new team members, but also about continuously optimizing the onboarding process. These conversations should also be encouraged during teambuilding events or lunches. 

5) Check-in After Three months:

Making a meaningful contribution to the big picture (company success) is one of the most important motivating factors for employees. Getting to know other areas (job rotation), explaining the interrelationships within the company, involvement in (cross-departmental) projects and, for example, being taken to client appointments play an essential role during this time.

Try this best practice: In individual shadowing appointments, invite new team members to play the “fly on the wall” within the different departments for a short time, for a better insight into the different topics and daily work routine. These appointments should be arranged by the team leaders or the buddies right at the beginning, within the first 3 months.

Why onboarding?

Investing in internal onboarding processes pays off, since it helps create a feel-good atmosphere that harmonizes workflows and collaboration. If the new team member is fully operational, productive, and motivated just within a span of a few months, it leads to better employee retention right from the start and is beneficial for the entire company.

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