Retaining Good Employees Starts with Onboarding

by Jennifer Roman

You can see right away when you have hired the right person for the job. As soon as they start, they are already exceeding initial expectations. So now that you have the right person, the question is, how are you going to keep them?

For companies experiencing high turnover, the cycle of hiring and losing employees can be a significant expense as well as a huge burden on the management team and the overall operation of the organization. The negative impacts also trickle down to employees who have to work short-staffed and/or work with employees who are newly trained. This can put a burden on your more tenured staff.

Many organizations struggle with their onboarding programs causing confusion for new employees and additional stress. One common reason that many employees quit in the first year of employment is due to difficulties that arise from disorganization and lack of training. Having a solid onboarding system will help alleviate some of these issues.

The most important step when bringing on a new hire is taking the time to plan the process. Remember, your new employee is still forming their impression of your organization even after the job offer is accepted. The planning process should start with the basics. Ask yourself as an employer, “What will they need to be a fully functional employee in the organization?” This includes equipment, information and a space to work. All of these arrangements should be addressed before the employee walks in the door. The process should be uniform so that each employee has the same experience.

A predetermined time-frame should be used for the orientation and training process. This will ensure that all employees receive the same amount of training. In addition, after the training process is complete, the employee’s supervisor should review the training with the employee and observe the employee’s work to ensure that the employee has retained the information disseminated in the training process.

The orientation and training process should be broken into two parts. The first part should be company-wide training for all employees including, but not limited to, harassment training, safety training and a review of the company handbook. Acknowledgments of all trainings and the handbook should be signed and dated by the employee and then placed in the personnel file.

The second part should have a customized agenda for the employee to learn all of the information pertinent to their specific department and the responsibilities of their job. The time allotted for this training should be extensive enough to prepare them either to work independently or work with a seasoned employee following completion.

Many companies assign a more tenured employee to be a mentor. This mentor does not have to be the employee’s supervisor. The role of the mentor should be multi-functional. The mentor should serve as a resource for the new employee for functional information relative to the job and as well as for historical information. In addition, the mentor should be gathering feedback from the employee, as well as observing the employee’s experience, to take back to the leaders of the organization. Gathering such feedback and observations will allow your organization to continuously improve its orientation and training program.

Lastly, it is important to have a 60- to 90-day review period, not only to ensure the employee is succeeding in their new role but also to ensure the company has provided adequate support during the process.

Putting a process like this in place will most certainly improve performance and retention in your organization. For help implementing an effective onboarding program, please contact us at hrhelpline@eastcoastrm.com.

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