Let me tell you a story…
I once went to work at a new company—super excited about starting out and making a difference. I showed up on Day 1 at 9:00 a.m. on the dot! I was told by the receptionist that HR would soon be with me. After almost an hour waiting, I checked in again and was advised we were waiting for 2 other people starting that same day. They came at 10:00, which means I sat there for an hour for no reason. Once they arrived, HR took us into a boardroom wherein we sat for about 2 hours going over the employee handbook. Following that, the three of us were taken around the office, introduced to a bunch of people, and then taken to our teams. One joined the sales team and he was greeted with open arms and talk of team lunch. That certainly looked hopeful. 😀 The second of us was shown to her desk, which was heaped up with random keyboards, stationery, and garbage. She took one look and said, “I don’t think this is my desk.” Both HR and the hiring manager assured her this was where she was to be sitting and seemed genuinely surprised at her reaction to the mess. 😧
I was told I wouldn’t be working at that location and to get myself to the other location, which I did. 🤨 Once there, I was greeted by the receptionist and shown to my desk. I wasn’t introduced to anyone along the way, including the two people I was seated beside. I asked about meeting my manager and was told she was in meetings all afternoon. My new desk was completely empty, except for a post-it note in the middle of it. I picked up the note and noticed there was a username and password on the back side of it. This seemed odd, since I couldn’t see any computer there. I looked around and found someone who looked like he could be in IT and asked him if he was the guy who could hook me up with a computer. After getting the computer, I logged in and then phoned my husband and said, “I think I’m going to quit.” ☹️
Quitting on day 1? Yes. It was clear this company was not at all ready for me to start. In spite of their enthusiasm when hiring me, they didn’t seem to care about me. When I talked to my husband about quitting, he told me I should at least stick out the first day. He went on to suggest I could do some real good there. Maybe my purpose was to ensure nobody experienced that same first-day feeling in the future. So, I stayed. And the first project I worked on was creating a proper Onboarding program for the company.
Onboarding is super important.
The purpose of Onboarding is to help new people feel connected to the organization, their work, and their teams. Onboarding is that first impression we all know is so important. Knowing that, the real purpose of Onboarding is to help new hires feel they’ve made the right choice.
Most companies don’t seem to get this. They hire people, and lose people, and scratch their heads wondering why. They do a poor job of Onboarding if they do anything at all. The expectation seems to be that new people should just figure it out.
According to Robert Half, 91% of new employees are willing to walk within the first month if their new job wasn’t what they expected. They’ll also walk if they don’t like the company culture. Of that 91%, 28% actually do walk out within the month.
91% of new employees consider quitting within the first month.
28% of new employees do quit within the first month.
When companies are recruiting, they say all the right things about company culture. Words like experience, inclusion, connection, and purpose flood their websites’ candidate pages. In the interview, recruiters and hiring managers talk about how important the new team member will be to the success of the organization, and how much their team members are valued. However, the transition from hiring to working quickly dampens that energy. New employees are ready and eager for connection and productivity but, instead, are met with paperwork, HR manuals, and managers who aren’t ready for them. This can translate into a lack of productivity, a feeling of not knowing what to do or where to be, and wondering why they were even hired in the first place.
Alternatively, throwing them into work is jarring for most people. They need some time to figure out the company and their place in it. Introducing them to dozens of employees around the workplace, focusing on tasks too early, and not meeting or receiving feedback from their managers within the first few days has people heading for the door.
Unfortunately, this seems to be the norm in most workplaces. But it shouldn’t be.
Here are some interesting stats about Onboarding:
- Only 12% of employees feel their companies do a good job with Onboarding. That means 88% think their companies suck at it.
- Most organizations think Onboarding is all about paperwork (58%). The average new hire is assigned 41 administrative tasks to complete (wow!).
Here’s where it gets interesting:
- Organizations who do a good job with Onboarding increase new hire retention by 82% and productivity by 70%! (Wow, again! But this time it’s a good wow.)
- Employees who are given the chance to participate in a structured Onboarding program are 69% more likely to stay with the company for 3 years or longer. This is interesting, given the cost of recruiting and hiring the right people. You worked so hard to bring that new person on board. You don’t want to lose them within the first few weeks or months!
- As stated, it costs a bundle to recruit and hire new people, but the average Onboarding program only costs about $1500 per new hire. Seems like a bargain in comparison.
- Unfortunately, about 35% of companies spend $0 on Onboarding. Mind-boggling when you consider the tens of thousands they spend on recruiting and hiring.
Final stat that should convince you, if nothing else does:
- Companies that prioritize Onboarding make a median revenue of $169,100 per employee, compared to those that don’t where their average is $82,800 (or less than half).
By now you should be convinced and should be working with your teams on making Onboarding a thing at your company.
Here are some things that are important to include:
- Structure—Have dedicated trainers who know what should be included in the program. Have a day (or more) of Orientation planned where new employees are invited into a classroom (real or virtual) where they can meet and connect with other new hires.
- Include information about the company, its history, industry, competition, customers, organizational set-up and be prepared to help new employees understand how they fit in.
- Inform new hires of the mission, vision, and values of the organization and how they are displayed every day at work.
- Invite department members to speak to new employees and share with them what they do and how it interconnects within the organization.
- Try, as best you can, to get senior leaders to speak at Orientation events. This makes a big, and positive, impression on new hires. I was seldom successful at this (most execs don’t make time for this). However, when I could make it happen, the new hires were so impressed and had SUCH a favourable view of those senior leaders.
Quickly, note that Onboarding is not just a one-day thing. It spans from the period of hire to first day, weekly and monthly check-ins, end of probation, and beyond to at least 6 months. During this time, it’s important to check in with new employees to see how they’re doing and provide feedback. In doing so, managers will see their new people getting to productivity much more quickly. They will also notice those people becoming part of the cultural fabric of the organization. They may even see these new people encouraging their friends to apply at “their” company.
So, you know what happened to me. I stayed with that company for 5 years, during which I created an Onboarding program that was appreciated and valued by the organization and its employees. The other woman who had the garbage-strewn desk? She ghosted the company on Day 2.
Clearly, I know how to set up an Onboarding program, and I can help your company with that. Reach out to me and let’s get that going for your organization. Check out our website for more information on Onboarding and other soft-skills topics. This is what we do, and we love helping companies connect with, engage, and inspire their employees.
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