Effective Onboarding Boosts Employee Retention

By Jolene Risch and Adrienne Bommarito

Employee RetentionWhen you walk into a networking event and see someone you know, there’s a sense of comfort and familiarity. That feeling is the same one new employees covet, even from day one on the job. Ensuring new employees feel like they’re part of the organization and valued as a team member goes a long way toward sustainable employment. So how do you do it?

Executive recruiters know that hiring the right person for the job is obviously a priority, but equally necessary is helping companies increase employee retention. The more cohesive a business team is, the more advantaged the company can be for success. As this Forbes article by Meghan M. Biro points out, two keys to successful onboarding are to make it personal for the new hires and reinforce the employer’s brand. Biro writes, “You’re building a company, yes, but you’re also building a team of employer advocates.” By engaging employees from the very beginning, companies are building a solid foundation for sustainable employment.

To that end, here are three ways HR professionals can help ensure the onboarding process sets the right tone and vision for the company, and engages new hires in the process.

No. 1: Training Day

Training classes are at tried-and-true way companies onboard new employees. Structure the classes so that they take both a micro and macro approach by focusing on the technical learnings of the person’s job and responsibilities, while also providing information about the company’s mission, vision, values, and culture. The mix will help the new employee understand the specifics of his or her role, as well as the organizational big picture.

To create employee knowledge and cohesion on a training day, create an activity where the employee can personalize his or her specific role within the company, while also pinpointing strengths and weaknesses. A way to do this is through personality tests, and then share the results to demonstrate how the new employee thinks, as compared to their colleagues and boss. This helps create an understanding between colleagues, so when disagreements arise, they’re more knowledgeable about how each person works best.

No.2: The Buddy System

Team building is most effective when the new employees work with veteran employees. We find a great way to facilitate these partnership is through the buddy system. When a new employee is paired with a veteran employee, the new hire has direct communication with a company expert and gets information and answers immediately. The personal response helps the new employee assimilate quicker, and also fosters a sense of belonging.

To build on the buddy system, we recommend a charity-driven activity. For example, have employees pair up to build a bike. (The items will have been purchased and laid out before hand). After the activity, the bikes will be donated to a local children’s organization. This type of event is a win-win because employees get the chance to work together for a common goal, and organizations win because they’re always searching for volunteers. Other ideas include hosting a canned food drive, clothing drive, or cleaning a housing unit.

No. 3 Equal Representation

We recommend including direct managers and leadership in team-building activities. Leadership can play a smaller role in the training, such as introducing the company and explaining its values and success factors. When the leadership is involved, it sends a message to the new hires that they are appreciated and valued.

For example, if a company is hosting a year-end retreat, then plan an activity to enhance team cohesion, like a scavenger hunt. Clues can be questions pertaining to the company history, values, mission statement, etc. Teams will work together to guess the clue, which will lead them to the next clue… and so on until the game is completed.

Professional recruiters know that continuous team building provides a link to employee retention. To help with this effort, many organizations engage a planning company, such as The Event Lounge.

Employees who feel included, valued, and appreciated from the beginning are poised to be engaged immediately—and stay engaged for the long term. Motivated employees will advocate on behalf of the organization because they’re enthusiastic about their job, feel appreciated and valued, and understand the important part they play in the business’ overall success.

Risch Results is one of Dallas’ top executive search firms for executive management, manufacturing, and financial services talent. Learn more about how Risch Results can help with your talent needs at RischResults.com or 972.839.9447.   ###

Adrienne Bommarito is the National Account Manager for The Event Lounge, an event firm specializing in corporate meeting management, full service production, and design/décor. Learn more at The Event Lounge.

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