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Developing a Retention-Focused Onboarding Experience for New Hires

Companies today need to make significant investments in attracting and sourcing candidates. To make sure organizations don’t lose the employees they’ve worked hard to attract, it’s equally important that they invest in their onboarding initiatives.

According to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “The first six months are the most critical time after hiring new employees because that’s when 31% of new hires are likely to leave.” Successful onboarding, which focuses on efficiency, strategic training initiatives and relational support, can therefore make a significant impact on early retention of new employees.

Create an Efficient, High-Touch Experience

“With many opportunities now available for job seekers, it’s essential to help new hires develop a lasting connection with your company during onboarding,” Aston Carter Vice President of Strategic Sales and Operations Greg Jones says. “If it’s choppy, disorganized or overly drawn out, the likelihood of turnover is extremely high.”

To streamline perfunctory requirements such as paperwork, employers should make it as easy as possible to access and complete documents. Instead of mandating that employees come into the office to fill out and sign forms, companies can provide options to complete and submit them online, and they shouldn’t shy away from overcommunicating expectations and directions throughout the process.

At the same time, Aston Carter Director of Recruiting Operations Eddie Harhai advises employers to “provide a high-touch experience to keep candidates engaged and actively moving through the process. For added support, new hires should have a dedicated point of contact they can go to with questions. Communication is key, so be sure to check in regularly and make sure they have what they need to get through onboarding smoothly.” That includes well-planned logistical support such as providing technology and IT resources, especially when bringing on workers remotely.

Develop Strategic Training Initiatives

Onboarding should be a well-organized and consolidated process, but when it comes to training around an organization’s business, culture and a new hire’s job responsibilities, employers should dedicate a sufficient amount of time preparing employees for success in their roles.

A rushed training experience could leave them feeling under prepared and even chaotic, and a remote training strategy often takes twice as much time and effort to implement as the in-person equivalent. While an extended training program isn’t always the solution, timelines should be tailored to training objectives, not vice versa.

Providing enough time for employees to complete training is critical, but the duration of training activities isn’t as important as having a strategy in place for meeting specific goals. If an employer is aiming for employees to complete onboarding with a working knowledge of their company and how to begin executing daily work tasks, they should be prepared to provide the time and resources needed to meet those expectations, which will set the company up well for developing prepared and dedicated employees.

Be Intentional about Building Relationships

A high-touch and goal-driven onboarding experience also means taking time to support employees in building strong relationships. Although employers should structure onboarding according to their specified training objectives, less tangible value-driven goals are also important. Companies shouldn’t expect new employees to sit in front of computer modules for several hours. Instead, they should make sure their new hires are becoming integrated into their culture and forging an understanding of the company’s vision, purpose and standards.

Aston Carter Director of Human Resources Tessa Lawrence shares, “It’s easier for new hires to leave when they don’t have an established connection with your people and culture. You can support them by providing introductions inside and outside of their immediate teams and making sure they’re meeting with colleagues and company leaders regularly.” Especially when onboarding is fully remote, setting aside time for team coffee and/or happy hours can go a long way in helping employees establish bonds with teammates and a connection with their new company.

Have more questions about developing a successful onboarding experience for new hires? Contact Aston Carter.

This article was taken from an excerpt of Aston Carter’s latest white paper, The Labor Market Paradox of 2021 and What Employers Can Do About It.

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