Effectively Onboarding Employees to Get Them to Stay

4 Mistakes Companies Make In Onboarding New Employees

One of the challenges most business owners are facing right now is finding employees. The next challenge, right after that, is keeping them.

A while back I was asked about whether it is important to have an onboarding process and employee handbook. To answer the question, absolutely, if you want to keep them!

We all have a story or two about starting a job; being given a set of policies and procedures and being told to read them for two days, being put in a corner and told to do the same task until we got good at it, or one of my favorites, where you showed up for work and no one planned for you to be there so they had you sweep the floor for the day. Not a great first impression.

There was a time when jobs weren’t so easy to find so you were willing to oversee first impressions and give them a little time before you walked out the door. In today’s labour market, employees don’t need to look beyond the first impression. It is not longer about if they don’t measure up, it is about whether you do.

Here are three of the biggest mistakes companies do in their new hire processes:

  • They don’t have one – There is nothing better for a first impression than having an employee show up and watching you try to figure out where things are or how to get them logged into the computer system. From the get-go their first impression of you and of the company can be things like; the company is disorganized, the position they are filling is an afterthought, I am not really that important, etc. At a minimum, there should be a checklist of critical or important information that needs to be covered during orientation and be prepared.
  • Cram everything into a short timeframe – Of course onboarding a new employee is a lot of work, but too many times companies overwhelm new employees with just the shear magnitude of information. There are payroll and benefit forms to fill out, there are all the HR policies and procedures to go through, there is a tour where they meet everyone, there is the safety information, etc. Instead of having the chance to absorb the information, they are simply trying to figure out how to find the bathroom, or in some cases the door. Breaking down the process into bite size chunk over a week or two, will ultimately make for a more successful employee. They will have the chance to ask questions, get to know you, and feel more comfortable overall.
  • Making it too clinical – People get hooked into a company if they are inspired about the work they are doing or the customers they service. Make sure that along with the policies and procedures you tell them about the owners or the get togethers you have. Tell them about why you like working there or why you started the business. Let them see the personality behind the work and ask them about theirs.
  • Don’t assign them a buddy – Starting with a new company can be somewhat lonely, especially if you have a tendency to be a little shy. One of the main reasons a person will leave is because they don’t feel like they belong. Having someone they can learn from, build a relationship with, ask questions and use them to get to know others is invaluable in the first couple of days. When you assign someone to be a buddy, it is equally important that the individual understand that they will play a critical role in having the new employee stay. They need to know that for the first few days, helping someone to fit in will be almost as important as the work itself.

Of course, there is no perfect orientation for everyone. An orientation process is really about both parties getting to know each other and figuring out if they like each other. If you don’t give them a chance to like you, then chances are they won’t.

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