Ah, that perpetually revolving staff door.
Does your company have one?
If you do, you're not alone. Not by a long shot!
Securing reliable staff who are loyal and will stay is one of the biggest challenges managers face. Depending who you talk to the total employee turnover costs of replacing an employee varies from 30 to 150 per cent of their salary. So, it's no wonder managers like yourself are scratching their heads about how to address this costly problem. In our experience, the answers lie in... your onboarding process.
Before we get to why onboarding is important for your business, let's look at some stats.
The Wynhurst Group found that 22 per cent of employees turnover happens in the first 45 days of employment.
According to Life Work Solutions, over 50 per cent of staff recruited into an organisation will leave within two years. Also, one in four new hires will leave within six months.
O.C. Tanner reports that 69 per cent of employees are more likely to stay with their places of employment for at least three years after a great onboarding experience.
HBR found that 33 per cent of new hires look for a job within their first six months.
So let's delve into why onboarding may be THE answer to your staff retention problems.
Why Is Onboarding Important?
If done in the right way, the onboarding process is an essential employee engagement tool.
It can improve your:
New hire retention rate
New hire performance
Overall team culture
Your 7 Step Onboarding Guide To Maximise Employee Retention
So what makes a good onboarding process? Isn't it time-consuming and costly? What is the ROI?
All good questions, but we'll let the Boston Consulting Group answer the last one first. They found that companies that experience the highest levels of revenue growth and profit margin consistently invested in their onboarding processes.
As for the other questions, we've got answers for those too in the following step-by-step guide to onboarding your new staff. It's a handy roadmap for the first four weeks of your new hire's employment, but also touches upon the 'before' stage; the time when you seek feedback from current staff. This is a crucial step in ensuring your onboarding process is on point.
1. The Feedback Stage
- Did you have access to relevant information when you needed it? If not, provide details.
- What information would have been useful in your first week?
- What training do you think was lacking in your first few weeks?
- How would you improve the system training provided?
- How would you improve the product training provided?
** NOTE: Be aware of your treatment of contract temporary vs permanent staff. Often companies give contract staff a ‘watered-down’ version of onboarding. This only serves to breed discontent and discord within a team. It’s also really demotivating for contractors who are sometimes on long-term contracts. To overcome this, your onboarding process should be the same for all employees — temporary vs permanent.
2. The Interview & Offer Stage
Before you post the job
One of the keys to staff retention is setting expectations during recruitment that you can meet (or hopefully exceed!). An exacting job description will do just that.
During the interview & offer
By being honest and transparent, you’re far more likely to end up with the right person for the role – plus you won’t be setting expectations you can’t meet which, as we’ve mentioned, risks impacting your staff retention rate.
If you can, keep your recruitment timeline tight. The whole process should be as short as possible and the applicant shouldn’t be required to jump through multiple hoops (several interviews, psychometric testing or drawn out medical or police checks). By drawing things out, you risk losing great candidates who will more than likely be interviewing elsewhere.
3. The Week Before Your New Hire Starts
There are many things you can do to internally prepare for your new hire. They will require time and effort — which can be hard when you’ve got day-to-day work to do — but you will be rewarded down the track with your ROI.
Also remember you need only do this once as you will use the same onboarding process for all employees, albeit with a little tweak here and there for individual needs. However, if after reading our tips, you still find yourself stuck in this area, there are many affordable onboarding software packages on the market.
Some ‘week-before- they-start’ tips:
Set up their 'tools of the trade'
Pick a buddy & mentor
There is a lot to learn when you start at a new company — from day to day work to policies, procedures and client briefs. Alongside your HR team and with feedback from current employees, review your training schedule. Create a day by day course for your new employee for their first two weeks. If you’d like a bit more guidance on this, refer to Steps 4 and 5.
Agenda for Day 1
4. Your New Hire's First Day
For starters, schedule your new starter’s arrival at least an hour after yours. Use the time to check everything is in order from their workstation to their first-day schedule to any social plans. Most importantly, make sure their favourite 3 pm munchie snack is sitting front and centre on their desk. Be sure to gauge their reaction when they realise you took the time to personalise their welcome. Their smile will be a thank you all in itself and it ups your engagement stakes. Win-win!
Schedule a meeting with them
This meeting is all about clarity; about goals, objectives, accountabilities, tasks, KPIs, etc. Consider setting a recurring meeting — be it daily or weekly — to touch base on their progress too. Be clear about when they are expected to start hitting performance KPIs too.
** NOTE: New staff face a steep learning curve, so carefully consider the right time to introduce KPI’s. Don’t expect too much too soon as they have a lot to learn about; new products/services, company, systems and processes to name just a few.
The all-important office tour
One such company is Enboarder who have a unique ‘Amazing Race’ style office tour, getting new staff to go on a treasure hunt around your office space to locate key facilities and contacts, learning important information that helps them get to the next department. It’s certainly a novel way to be introduced to your space!
The social stuff
5. The first three weeks
The following are some key areas to focus upon. Also, as the weeks progress, they should practise the skills learnt to consolidate their learning.
- a short 'how to' videos for specific tasks,
- training booklets, and
- systems guides.
- Value proposition,
- Overcoming common client objections,
- Handling common complaints, and
Getting your product team involved here is crucial to the success of the onboarding process. Carefully consider what strategy is the most important for training new staff. For example, one of our valued clients — a multinational in the technology & computer consumables industry — trains new starters on a single product suite first and they only take calls related to that suite. Once they’ve grasped this content, they move to the next.
Meeting / Call shadowing
6. Your employee's fourth week
A review session
7. Moving forward
- For many staff members, a lack of career progression is one of the reasons they up and leave. Think about how you can take your new staff member from beginner to expert so they are on an upward career trajectory and thus more like to stay. One way is to differentiate yourself from other companies by offering soft skill — or transferable skill — training within your onboarding program. Example topics might include negotiation skills, handling conflict, moving into management or time management.
- Remember too that training doesn’t end in the first month. It must be regularly scheduled for all employees to help them keep up to speed on product changes and their learning – which is also important for retention.
Apart from training, continue to foster engagement by offering incentives and nurturing a happy and fun environment. It’s important to keep your staff motivated.
Just like you did at the start with your recent hires, actively solicit feedback from your new hire about how the onboarding process can be improved. By involving them in this discussion, you’ll not only enhance your process but make them feel like a valuable contributor to your company.
On a related point, seek their feedback about everyday processes too. They are at the front line and the first to hear an idea or complaint. Tap into this valuable feedback and make sure they know you are using it! It’s a great way for them to feel appreciated.