Breaking It Down: To Wow New Hires, Target Three Critical Areas

Posted in Best Practice Thoughts & Culture

OK, here is the eyeball-popping, whet-your-appetite stat to get us started: As many as 20% of new hires quit within the first 45 days on the job. To put it another way, 1 in 5 new hires goes out the door, never to return, within six weeks of walking in the door.


It’s a number that’s not lost on the folks higher up in your organization. Nearly all (90%) of the executives in a 2017 poll by the Futurestep division of Korn Ferry said they’re concerned about keeping new hires at their organization. But before we can answer how onboarding can help fix the problem, we need to first ask and answer another question: Why do so many new hires call it quits so soon? Surely it’s not because you don’t have a better breakout area or a ping pong table.

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According to that same Korn Ferry survey of executives, the No. 1 reason new people leave is this: Once they’re actually on the job and doing their work, they discover their role is different from what they expected it would be. After that, 19% of the executives said people quit because they don’t like the company’s culture. So, they don’t like the job or they don’t like the company. puts it even more simply:

They say new hires leave for one of three overarching reasons:

● Better job fit

● Better company fit

● Better life fit

(Notice that none of these reasons mention salary)

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It’s that simple. They don’t like the job or where it might lead. They don’t like the company or its culture. (See a trend here?) Or, thirdly, they find that the benefits, perks, or something as simple as the commute time and hassle don’t fit with the other parts of their life.

And out the door they go.

All of this is to say that we believe you can have a significant impact on the reasons new hires leave — you can ignite long-term engagement and build retention — if you look with a critical eye at the three main parts of good onboarding:

1. Welcoming your new hires

2. Enabling your new hires

3. Assimilating your new hires into the company culture

Welcoming Your New Hires

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“Onboarding must be about more than just the basic administrative processes such as entering time, submitting paperwork, and logging onto the intranet,” says Bill Gilbert, president, Korn Ferry North America Futurestep.

We’ll see that bid and raise you one.

What really has to happen for great onboarding is to welcome your new hires in a way that creates meaningful connections with the company, their manager, and their coworkers.

And to do that, you need onboarding that is experience-driven — onboarding that focuses on their personal journey, not on your processes and paperwork. Onboarding should start even before their first day on the job.

With the right platform, you can share the company culture through rich media and personalized messaging, rather than a task-oriented introduction into your company. Enboader, for example (hey, this is what we do, after all), is all about making your newest people feel they’re going to make an impact on the business — not feel like just another employee on the payroll.

Enabling Your New Hires

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In its State of the American Workforce, Gallup reports that 60% of employees say “the ability to do what they do best in a role is ‘very important’ to them. Male and female employees, and employees of all generations, place the greatest importance on this aspect of a job.”

By setting appropriate expectations for new hires about the work they will be doing, you enable them — and you — for greater success. So, give them clear, meaningful insight into what the jobs entail in a personal and ongoing way. How?

For example, help new hires and busy managers stay engaged during onboarding by using channels they’re already using. Use a platform that minimizes friction by making it super- easy to activate tasks — without needing to log into yet another portal or worse, download an app.

Among other onboarding features that set up new hires to succeed, what about a platform that’s flexible enough to deliver notifications, reminders and nudges via your employees’ and managers’ preferred channels — mobile SMS, Slack, Workchat, or email? For more in-depth content, how about a browser-based approach, so content can be easily accessed via links from the handy notification messages?

Look at you! You’re now enabling your new hire to get connected and be productive faster.

Assimilating Your New Hires Into the Company

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OK, one more quick observation from Bill Gilbert at Korn Ferry: “[Onboarding] should be an in-depth process that introduces the new hire to the company culture, vision, and strategic priorities.”

Bingo! This is the third aspect of great onboarding — driving engagement by making a clear connection with your organization’s culture. New hires are yearning for this. It’s especially true among younger workers.

**Alert! Making new hires read a copy of your mission and vision statements won’t do the trick.**

Do your new hires get straight into functional training in their first few days? Glassdoor says that with culture-based onboarding, an employee’s first few days should be spent learning about and integrating into the company and their job. A big part of doing both is training your new employees extensively on your culture and setting clear expectations. Again, experience-driven onboarding that follows the journey of a new hire makes this critical step more possible.

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We love to talk about how onboarding can cultivate company culture, but here are a few
ideas from 30,000 feet:
● Involve current employees as culture champions wherever possible.
● Invest in HR technology that works how you work and aligns with the brand you’re selling — your company brand!
● Communicate with gusto! Managers influence culture through the signals they send, their feedback, their questions, and their words and actions.
● Ask for feedback. As a best practice, we recommend onboarding programs last at least a full year. Allow new hires to share their experiences with you or their manager regularly via new-hire feedback checkpoints along their journey.
● Minimize pre-board paperwork. Nothing is less exciting than than spending the first day of work buried under a mound of manuals and paperwork.
● Assign a mentor or buddy. The buddy system works. An allocated buddy can introduce the new hire to the workplace culture, norms, systems and processes with ease.

Making Your New Hires Successful

For all these reasons and more, your new hires can create meaningful connections with the company, their manager, and their coworkers for a lasting, successful career at your organization.
All it takes is a little onboarding love — which we can help you with. Check out our buyer’s guide on modern onboarding software for a jump start.

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