Why On-Boarding Can Make or Break New Employees

I have attended several meetings in the last few months where employee attraction, retention, and layoffs are discussed. Each time I am asked my opinion on the situation. I remind everyone that the climate right now is similar to the beginning of the book A Tale of Two Cities. “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness….”  Some industries struggle to find talent, and others are laying off employees. For example, the mortgage and software/tech industries have fueled the headlines with massive layoffs. Keep in mind many of these companies grew exponentially during the pandemic. These companies couldn’t hire fast enough to meet the unexpected demand, and hiring at that pace is unsustainable. Many of these companies routinely lay off talent at the first sign of a slowdown.  

Other industries and companies are finding it hard to attract or retain talent. Our team is still hearing stories of companies struggling to find the “right” person for a job, only to have them quit after a week or not show up after they have accepted a position. It is easy to blame the newly hired talent, but I believe you need to look deeper at your organization’s culture and how you engage your new talent.

What is your plan after they accept the offer to work at your company? How do you keep them excited between the time they accept the offer and start at your company? If you regard this person as the “right” talent for your team, chances are their current employer and manager also think the same and will work to entice the employee to stay.  

Why You Need an On-Boarding Plan

You need to keep your talent engaged from the moment they accept your offer and beyond. What do their first day, first week, and first month look like? There are still so many stories of employees who show up on their first day where their workspace still needs to be set up or, even worse, cleaned up. Picture this: you have finally found the talent you need for your company; let’s call her Kayla. Kayla shows up to work and checks in at the front desk, only to discover that they have not been notified that a new employee is starting. From that point, she is ushered into the office hastily and plopped down at a desk that has not been set up for her. No computer, no equipment, and no welcome at all. Her boss is busy now and can’t meet with her until later this afternoon, but someone has given Kayla a bunch of paperwork, corporate brochures, etc., to read until the boss is free. If Kayla is lucky, some coworkers will come by and introduce themselves. Most likely, the coworkers will say, “Oh yeah, this is like my first day. I did not get my computer or login info for a few days.” At that point, Kayla has probably texted her old company asking for her job back. This should be a lesson in how NOT to make a first impression.  

How Can You Engage New Talent?

Imagine this best practice instead: As soon as Kayla accepted the offer, she received a call from her future boss welcoming her to the team. In addition, Kayla received a few email messages from other members of the group she will join welcoming her to her new role. Some companies will send a box of branded swag to her home with a note. Other companies have sent flowers, cookies, or even a toy for her dog to keep Kayla engaged and excited to join their company.

On her first day, she arrived at the office to find her workspace was completely set up, and there were a few welcome notes. Her new boss greeted her, and though she had to go to a meeting, she had another team member take Kayla around the office and give her an orientation. The team went to lunch together on her first day, and her manager gave her a “buddy” to help navigate her first month in her new position. Guess what? Kayla didn’t run from the building screaming or call her old boss looking to get her job back. In fact, Kayla was already thinking of whom from her previous job could make an impact with her at the new company.

The Real Reason Employees Leave

Gallup Inc. is a leading research company on all subjects impacting the workplace, including employee engagement. It is no surprise that in a November 2021 article about employee turnover, “Fifty-two percent of exiting employees say that their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving their job.”

I have said this more times than I can count in my 30-year career, “employees quit their bosses!” Managers, more often than not, believe that employees leave because they want more money. Money is usually not among the top 5 reasons employees quit. Money is an easy excuse to give because smart employees don’t say they quit due to management; they don’t want to burn bridges. 

The headlines may be full of doom and gloom about layoffs, but whatever you do, don’t slip into the mindset that employees should be grateful to have a job. Imagine taking a new job and walking into THAT environment! 

2023 Is Your Team Ready?

2023 is here! How are you preparing your team for the inevitable shifts in your business? Are your managers capable of leading and getting the best performance out of their team? Earlier this year, I read The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, and the information is as relevant today as it was when initially published. I recommend this book to all leaders.

Do yourself and your organization a favor: read this book, and if you don’t know where or how to start to make changes in your company, contact me. Our team has worked with companies during “the best of times and the worst of times.” We have the programs and the coaching knowledge to help your managers create an environment of engaged employees.

We don’t know what will happen in 2023 with the economy or jobs. So why not invest your time into the l areas of your business you can control, beginning with your culture and talent? Taking control now is your best investment.