As an employee retention expert, I have seen the statistic numerous times that 30% of the people make the decision to leave their employer in the first 30 days of their employment with an employer. They may not leave but they make the decision they will. From an employee retention trainer perspective, that is low hanging fruit waiting to be picked. When I consult to organizations on how to lower their turnover, I immediately look at what the process is that the organization is using to assimilate people into the organization in the first 30 days.
In recent years, we have talked at great length about “onboarding” yet have done little to improve the process in most organizations. We still do the first day orientation and then, in most organizations, throw the person in their cube and start having them work. Our employee retention strategies still seems to be the sink or swim approach. Many people sink.
If you want to improve how you assimilate people during what I call “the 30-day experience,” here are a few some easy things to do:
• Have a written checklist of what you are going to show the new employee. If you don’t have a checklist you won’t think through what needs to be covered and will miss important points to cover.
• Have their work area ready! There were numerous times during my career where I showed up and they had no idea where my office was going to be, my computer was not set up, basic supplies were not available, etc. These are basic things that say “we are glad you are here.”
• Never have any segment of “orientation” where a person is sitting for more than 2-3 hours. People’s attention span disappears, they learn nothing and negative thoughts begin to creep into their head. (Note: If you have your detailed checklist above there should be lots to cover and you don’t want to bury the person all at once)
• Expect the immediate supervisor to have a written plan as to how they plan to bring the person up to speed and give them the basic knowledge they need to survive and thrive in the organization. Don’t let supervisors throw someone in the job and tell them to “figure it out.” This creates frustration and people wonder if the supervisor knows what they are doing.
• Pick a good employee who is a co-worker to buddy them up with who can “show them the ropes” and help to tell them how the organization works, where to go to get certain things, etc. If you don’t do it, the most negative person in the organization tends to latch onto the “newbie” and poisons them with negative information about the organization.
As you can see, this is NOT anything fancy. But as this employee retention speaker says, “forget fancy strategies, focus on fundamentals.” If you focus on these fundamentals, your new employee’s 30-day experience will be a positive one.