Onboarding Practices Gone Awry Kill Employee Engagement:

How to Lose New Talent the First Day on the Job

You’re doing it wrong.

You’ve grilled new hires with processes and procedures. They know how to find the coffee machine. They’ve signed papers, documents, and have been shown their desk.

And, after a couple of months, they leave.

New talent is looking for more than how to do their job. (That’s orientation).

They’re looking for connection, understanding the company culture, and a feeling like this new job can make a difference in the lives of others. (That’s onboarding).

Really. As much as we like to make fun of this generation of selfie-takers, there’s something incredible about the millennials as a workforce. Sure, they want to feel like they matter. They’ve been raised to believe they matter. But that leads to something even deeper. They want to feel like their work matters. This cannot happen in an orientation session.

So, how do you make a new hire feel connected to your organization? You develop a strategic onboarding strategy and start hooking employees even before the vacancy is filled.

Here’s how to develop a strong onboarding process:

1. Your Website, community activities, the way you treat your employees and customers should all reflect your organization’s core values and purpose. Everywhere you go, you leave a footprint. New talent should have no doubt about who they’ve applied to work with.

2. No ghosting. This has to be one of the most crass, cruel tendencies of organizations. Certainly, with easy access to platforms, e-mails, and online applications, organizations receive tenfold, if not more, applications than beforehand. Nevertheless, don’t slip into the “you’ll hear from us if we want you” mode. Create an automated response acknowledging reception of resumes. Follow up on every submitted application and/or resume. This creates a sense of community. This is class. Even if the hiring process ends here, every candidate comes away feeling valued as a human being.

3. Keep in touch. After getting hired, oftentimes the next connection a new hire has with the organization is their first day. Don’t do this. Send a follow-up e-mail. The day before arrival, send a schedule, so they know what to expect during orientation and onboarding. This will lower new job anxiety.

4. Know your four Cs: Compliance, Clarification, Connection, and Culture. Many onboarding processes end with Compliance and Clarification (basic orientation, how to do the job, legal paperwork etc.) Real engagement happens with Connection and Culture – feeling integrated with the organization, co-workers, senior leaders, and embracing the organization’s culture.

5. That said, beware of the infamous new hire infodump. Ugh. A whirlwind of information to swallow then feel like, “ugh. Now what?” Make the first few days of work structured, so new hires are productive earlier. Share a schedule with them. Feeling unsure about what’s next, lost at the job, is a really bad feeling. Once they get the hang of it, give them the autonomy they need to get the job done.

6. Talk about the future. This is big! How can an employee grow in the organization? What opportunities are there –lateral, promotional, and educational? Set 30 – 60 – 90-day goals, so there’s clarity about what the organization expects from the new hire.

7. Talk about WHY. Don’t assume your new hires understand how their work directly ties into the organization’s vision and mission.

8. Check in. Follow up. Assign a mentor. Make sure new hires understand that they matter, their work matters, and they have somebody to go to in case they’re a little lost.

9. Connect! Build workplace connection right off the bat. Being new is a funky feeling. We’ve all been there. Creating real connections with staff from the first day is a great way to get new hires comfortable, on board, and more productive.

Developing a strategic onboarding process will increase your organization’s Velcro-value, decrease turnover, and improve productivity. Pave the road to success before the contract is signed! Keep new hires engaged with these effective onboarding practices.

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