4 Signs It's Time to Rethink the Way You're Onboarding New Employees

February 22, 2018 Alyssa Karhan

To build a successful organization and company culture, it’s important to onboard right. A study by The Wynhurst Group revealed that new hires who go through a well-structured onboarding program are 58% more likely to remain at a company for three years.


So, this leads us to conclude that an onboarding program—a good one—is absolutely essential in the employee journey. It’s time to get a handle on your program and make the most of it!


Here are four signs it’s time to rethink the way you’re onboarding new employees:

4 Signs It's Time to Rethink the Way You're Onboarding New Employees

1. Your new hires are leaving.

This seems self-explanatory, doesn’t it? Ask yourself this: Have your employees been leaving before they celebrate their first work anniversary?


There are so many reasons why people leave their jobs, say bye to their companies, quit their managers, etc. But when a NEW employee leaves, it’s almost worse. No, it IS worse . . . and a definite indicator it’s time to reevaluate your onboarding program.


But first, there are a few layers underneath to peel back—e.g. answering the question: Why are they leaving?


It’s simple: They may not be getting what they need to do their job well. According to a LinkedIn survey, 41% of HR professionals believe on-the-job training within the onboarding process needs to be updated. Another 37% said mentor programs need to be updated. This is hitting a big pain point: the lack of feedback in a new hire’s contributions. And we’re not just talking about the first week here. Chances are, your feedback is at an all-time high within the first week. But if it stops after that, you may need to think about extending your onboarding program past the first week.


2. Your new employees are confused.

There are a couple different ways your new employees could be confused, and lack of role clarity is one of them—i.e. they start to settle in and realize their new role is completely different than how it was described to them in the interview process. Let’s face it: a lack of clarity about what they’ve been hired to do leads to new hires being unsuccessful . . . which leads to dissatisfaction . .  . which leads to their all-too-soon exit.


Another cause of employee confusion is a lack of job-related goals. It’s important to provide enrichment opportunities through goal-setting so you can set your employees up for excellence from day one. Also, connecting goals to the company’s larger purpose helps define how employees fit into the company’s big picture, which helps them envision themselves working for you long-term.


3. Your new hires are disengaged.

If your new hires don’t seem to be engaged or connected with your organization within their first six months, it could be a warning sign. There are two categories in which to look for this lack of engagement: coworker connections and fresh ideas.


Coworker connections: Friendships at work typically form early in an employee’s tenure. You know, those employees who go to the cafeteria to get coffee together, go out to lunch together, and converse throughout the day. Connections provide opportunities for your new employee to learn the ins and outs of your company culture and lead to greater employee happiness. But, when an onboarding program doesn’t introduce new employees well or seek to integrate them into the team, they may not feel comfortable with their new coworkers. New hires who avoid group activities and conversations, are hardly seen outside their cubicle, and rarely talk during meetings are indications of inadequate onboarding.


Fresh ideas: Though they may not come in their first day with guns blazing, your new hires should be eager to strut their stuff. Engaged and inspired employees are those who are passionate about hitting the ground running, ready to observe everything that goes on, and bring new ideas to the table. If you don’t see those characteristics in your new hires, it may be a sign your onboarding program is a little lackluster.


4. Your new employees aren’t getting face time with management.

Onboarding isn’t just a financial investment, but also a time investment. As a manager, you need to care about your employees by connecting with them, always keeping your door open, regularly recognizing their work, and encouraging team interaction. (Hint: This also helps improve the lack of engagement we talked about in #3!)


If you randomly poll a new hire, they should be able to clearly articulate when they last met with their manager and what they talked about. If they can’t, it may mean you’re not connecting with them enough. Meeting regularly with their manager gives new hires a sense of support, a listening ear, and a resource for when they get stuck. Plus, it gives them the opportunity to receive feedback and affirmation so they can grow in their new role. On the flip side, if they don’t get regular communication, they could begin to feel isolated, lost, and disengaged.


So, Are You Ready to Rethink?

For many organizations, onboarding programs are an often-overlooked opportunity for cost cutbacks, improved effectiveness, and higher engagement.


In the LinkedIn survey we mentioned earlier, it says 45% of HR professionals estimate $10,000 a year is wasted on ineffective onboarding. A SHRM article adds: “The cost of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding a new employee can be as much as $240,000.”


We’re guessing you don’t have that kind of money to spare, so we suggest you get thinkin’! Need help? Check out our NEW onboarding eBook, which takes you through auditing and building your onboarding program.


Download our FREE Onboarding Ebook!

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