It’s your first day at a new job. You wake up early, carefully select what you will wear, check traffic to make sure you will arrive in plenty of time. When you arrive, you can’t figure out how to get in the building. The front door is locked. There is no one around. You ring a delivery bell and someone comes from deep in the building to open the door, but they quickly walk away after letting you in. You have no idea where to go or who you’re supposed to meet. The only people you know are who you interviewed with, so you find someone and ask for the person who signed your offer letter. After a ten minute wait in the lobby, the hiring manager comes to meet you. He takes you to the work area, but your desk, computer and phone aren’t ready yet. He makes some calls to IT and Facilities and assures you things will be set up shortly. While you wait, you notice most of the employees are either running around or working silently at their desks, while giving you side eye glances. Your new manager is frantically trying to find keys for you and activate your badge. Having no luck locating keys, he has you sit in a conference room with a copy of the handbook while he attends a meeting. It’s been almost 2 hours and no one has said hello or introduced themselves, and you still don’t have a work space. How do you feel?
Studies show that top talent wants to know they joined an organization that is also at the top of their game, not second guess their choice. The scenario above, while extreme, shows the disorganized start to the employment relationship does not give the impression that this is a work place running smoothly. The hiring manager sets the start date, they should be prepared to welcome new employees on their first day. Having a work space complete with any necessary codes, badges, phones and computer and email access ready to go will show your new hire that you are excited about them, which is proven to help retain them. New employees who go through a structured onboarding program are fifty-eight percent more likely to be with the organization after three years. Implementing a structured onboarding procedure that is a repeatable process gets all employees an understanding of, and connection to, the company culture, making them productive faster and with a higher quality of work, in turn strengthening your strategic planning.
The first ninety days are the most crucial for connecting with new employees. Ninety percent of employees decide whether they’ll stay with an organization in the first six months. They may not act on that decision for three to five more years, but once the decision is made to leave, they’ve checked out and the impact to their productivity is immediate. Actions like setting up a peer mentor for your new employee further help to develop strong employee to employee connections that enhances engagement. Small gestures like taking your employee to lunch on their first day helps solidify those connections, and makes an employee feel good about their choice to join you, and more importantly stay with you. The cost of making a hire can be as high as 40% of their annual salary. Half of all hourly employees leave new jobs in the first 120 days, and half of all senior level outside hires fail with in 18 months. Having a structured onboarding program greatly reduces the risk that your new hire will fizzle out.