Insight Blog

Simple Onboarding Techniques That Can Improve Retention

by Sami Barry

With strong competition prevalent for all levels of talented professionals, it's no surprise that employee retention is a key initiative for many organizations across the board. In a prior post, Onboarding: Promoting the Successful Integration of a New Executive, Helbling discussed the importance of having a long-term onboarding program for new executive team members. Understanding the difference between having an onboarding program for executives and a simplified program for other levels of employees, we wanted to outline easy onboarding techniques that any organization, large or small, can easily initiate.

Before an individual begins employment:

  • Send a welcome letter from their direct report.

This will reduce anxiety on the new employee's part and give them a positive feeling before they arrive for their first day of work.

  • Start engaging them socially with your company.

Direct them to specific pages within your web site that highlight positive employee experiences as well as pages that provide background information on the department they will be working in or what they will be doing.

Notify appropriate employees of the individual's start date and share any non-confidential information about the person to provide easy conversation-starters. If team members want to contact the person before their first day of employment to welcome them aboard, allow them to do so.

Invite them to be a LinkedIn connection.

Send links to your company's Facebook page (this is especially important with candidates of the Millennial generation).

  • Get paperwork out of the way.

Email their paperwork (W2, Benefits, 401k, etc.) so that the employee's first day is not consumed by monotonous procedures.

  • Clean and prepare their office / workstation and computer for their arrival.

  • Consider their 30 / 60 / 90-day performance expectations.

  When they arrive for their first day of work:

  • Have a colleague on their team greet them at the door.

  • Allow new employees to settle into their work area and get comfortable with their surroundings.

  • Encourage colleagues to express their enthusiasm about the new employee joining their team.

  During their first 90 days of employment:

  • Assign a colleague to act as their mentor.

This mentor can provide support from showing them where the office supplies are kept to helping them become acclimated to the company structure and culture.

  • Outline their 30 / 60 / 90-day performance expectations.

Doing so reduces the anxiety for both the new employee and their direct report.

  • Provide consistent feedback on their performance.

Weekly feedback is ideal.

  • Give them small projects initially that have high potential for success.

This builds confidence in their position and abilities, making them more engaged.

  • Provide them with the learning resources they need to be optimally productive.

Assess the new employee's skill level in the first two weeks to realize what type of training is needed to reach their potential. Initiate that training as soon as possible.

  • Provide them continual professional development opportunities and challenge them appropriately.

  • Make them feel comfortable in asking questions and discussing sensitive issues. Allow them to express their feedback on how they feel about their position and responsibilities, corporate culture and structure.

Having an open relationship will make the new employee feel respected and part of your team, will increase their engagement, and alert you to any possible concerns.

 What can these simple onboarding techniques do for your company?

  • Increase retention.

  • Increase productivity.

  • Enhance employee satisfaction.

  • Encourage employee engagement.

  • Decrease time to optimal productivity.

With these potential results, what company can afford not to implement these practices?