By Christine Marino,
Generally speaking, a healthy economy is a good thing. That being said, it does bring a new challenge for employers: When the job market is strong, workers have more opportunities to choose from. This promotes job hopping and makes it harder for employers to retain their employees in the long run. It costs an average of $4,000 – not including salary and wages – to hire a new employee, making the current job-hopping frenzy an expensive trend for employers to keep up with.
So, what can employers do to retain their employees longer under these conditions? They need to start by recognizing that more and more people are looking for meaningful, fulfilling careers. That means employers have to ensure they present meaningful and fulfilling work to their employees at every step along the way – and it all starts with onboarding.
1. Streamline the Onboarding Process
Now that it’s a candidate’s job market, there’s a certain level of intolerance when it comes to feeling unfulfilled. Nearly 90 percent of employees make their decision to stay at or leave a job within the first six months of employment, so it’s more important than ever that employers engage their new hires immediately.
Employers can get their new employees involved in the company and their work sooner if they streamline the the more tedious portions of the onboarding process. Companies that have standardized onboarding processes experience 50 percent higher raters of new hire retention. An updated, all-encompassing onboarding software can help employers expedite paperwork and get their newest employees engaged in meaningful work as soon as possible.
Once the not-so-fun stages of onboarding are complete, you can focus on ways to acquaint your new hire with the company, their colleagues, and their exciting new career!
2. Use Unique Onboarding Tactics
It may be more appropriate to call them “welcoming tactics,” since that is a big part of what these tactics should achieve. It can be easier said than done, however, to keep the onboarding processes exciting and engaging. There is no one way to do it, but here are some suggestions:
– Use gamification to inform new hires about the company’s products, policies, and procedures. A survey conducted by the Aberdeen Group discovered that companies that made use of gamification increased engagement by 48 percent and improved turnover by 36 percent.
Introduce new hires to their colleagues by having each department present themselves, what they do, and how they contribute to the bigger picture. This helps new hires learn who everyone is and what everyone’s purpose is.
- Ask new hires to fill out a survey of nontraditional questions that shed some light on their personality and interests. Then, have a team member construct a fun bio and share it with the company and on social media. Make a big fuss about your newest addition so they feel important and valued.
- Acquaint new hires with important team members, supervisors, and managers by scheduling various lunch dates in the first month or so of their employment. This gives new hires a chance to get to know their colleagues on a more personal level.
3. Plan a Long-Term Onboarding Strategy
Despite the fact that it can take a year or longer for a new employee to reach full productivity, only 15 percent of organizations extend their onboarding processes past six months.
Engaging your workforce is a job that never really ends. If you want to keep your new hires from seeking out greener pastures, you should consider instituting an onboarding process that extends through the first year of a new hire’s employment.
Here are some tips on milestones that your year-long onboarding process should meet, courtesy of SHRM:
- The First Month: This is the time to acquaint new hires with their job duties, company policies, and important procedures. Training is a critical part of getting new employees engaged as soon as possible, so companies should give new hires training during their first couple of weeks on the job.
- The First 3-6 Months: This is the perfect time for managers, supervisors, and team members to communicate regularly with new employees about performance. New hires should feel comfortable seeking out help when needed. Now that the new hire has learned the ropes, continuous feedback will help them hone their skills, catch mistakes, and take corrective action when needed. It’s also a great way to establish rapport and build trust with the rest of the team.
- The First Year: When the first year is up, the new hire can finally be considered a long-term employee. This means that managers can finally make accurate assessments of the employee’s productivity and skills. If they decide the employee is going to fit in long-term, the first year mark is the best time to start having conversations about their future with the company and their individual career development.
As retaining employees becomes more of a challenge, companies have to seek out new and innovative ways to engage their workforces. Creating an effective onboarding process is the first and best step in getting your new hires to commit for the long run.