Employee retention has become known as one of the most challenging and expensive obstacles facing companies today. Almost 80% of top leaders name “employee retention” as an urgent problem.
Poor experiences – especially in the early stages of employees starting with with an organisation – have a deep and lasting effect on the remainder of that employee’s time with a company.
It turns out that first impressions work both ways.
Whether or not an employee has a warm welcome will dictate their overall feelings towards their company and colleagues within the first few days. A new job is a major life-changing event that needs to be handled as such.
These first interactions are critical to making sure an employee feels like they’ve joined ranks with competent people in a worthwhile company. And despite what you may think, the responsibility for this experience falls on all members of the organisation, not just the HR department or their direct manager.
Shocking Fact: 33% of employees have decided whether or not they will stay in the company long term after their first week. A further one in three new hires will quit their job within the first six months.
How your company and the working environment engages new employees is critical for the retention of newcomers. The welcoming process can be one of the most decisive elements in making someone choose to stay with an organisation.
Therefore, onboarding should never be rushed.
Trying to stuff someone into a new environment and expecting them to optimise their skills within a week or two is nearly impossible and will rarely succeed. Patience is the key here.
To get the best out of people, sometimes you have to learn from the best and think outside the box. To help you achieve this, we’ve compiled a list of some different onboarding practices that have been proven to boost employee retention and engagement outcomes.
EY, one of the “Big Four” provides an onboarding portal which includes an online virtual tour of their offices for their new employees before their first day. It includes useful company information, some personal introductions and frequently asked questions by other new employees.
Digital welcome package
Warby Parker prepares a welcome folder and sends it to their new hires before their first day. It includes their company history, vision statement, press releases and more details about what new hires can expect from day one. At Mastercard, new employees will receive a welcome email right after they’ve been hired. They will then be given access to an archive of company videos and the ability to edit their personal information in a company profile.
Calls from direct supervisors
Receiving calls directly from a supervisor or member of the management team will dramatically boost employees’ sense of belonging within the company in the short-term and, as a result, their long-term company loyalty. This is a more inclusive way to welcome new hires to your company and ensure they feel like their presence is valued from the outset.
Announcement on company social media
Introducing new employees on company social media channels not only lets the public know that your company is growing, but also allows people who might be geographically dispersed to get to know the new member of their team. This increases both internal and external information flow while fostering a friendlier work environment to ease new employees’ transition into company life.
Introduction of all network tools
Prepare access to company data, wifi, websites and internal communication software by presenting all the login credentials and passwords to new employees in a single document. These should be regularly updated to troubleshoot any problems with network access and will save time and effort for newcomers when it comes to getting up and running.
Digitise the onboarding process
Everything is online these days and your company onboarding processes should be too. It is a more cost- and time-effective approach that has the added bonus of reaching employees who may work remotely (either offshore or based at home).
By clearly outlining your company background and values, and sending this information to incoming employees, it will enhance their engagement level from the very beginning and ensure they have a smooth start in their positions.
It’s reasonable to assume that employees will not fully understand the “ins and outs” of a company straight away, so it’s always best to equip them with information and resources as soon as possible. Why not start from day one?
Templates and formats for onboarding process can be easily found online, but with the overwhelming amount of information out there, it can be very confusing to identify which software is better than others.
Actimo addresses this problem by providing customised company demos – so you can see what’s possible in terms of onboarding and tailor modules for your company’s specific needs.
Internal announcement via intranet messages
Your HR manager can also use company-wide email or intranet messaging to notify everyone of new employees, but keep in mind this may be limited in terms of reach and multimedia upload capacity.
You should try to be as personal as possible – compiling background information and a brief introduction of newcomers accompanied by pictures if possible. These sorts of messages not only increase the sense of connection between new and existing employees, but also those who work remotely with Head Office.
“Bingo” lunch voucher
Try handing out a lunch voucher in a “bingo card” format so different colleagues are assigned to join new hires for lunch. This could take a couple of weeks depending on the size of the company, but will significantly speed up their integration to the workplace by getting to know people from all tiers of the organisation.
Lunch or dinner with managers
Similarly, managers should try to organise a meal with their new hires off-site in the first weeks of their employment. This will help them to relax a little bit more outside of the office environment. It is also a good chance for managers to get some insights on how new employees are finding their first few weeks on the job, and find out if there are any areas for improvement.
Establish a good relationship with staff early on by expressing support and sorting out any doubts or concerns they may have, and they will reward you with company loyalty!
Decorating the desk with company products
If you have company branded T-shirts, mugs or stickers, don’t forget to hand them out to new hires during their first week, or ideally on their first day. This will make them feel like they are officially part of the team, while increasing their sense of recognition and belonging. This also applies to existing employees, as these items can serve a useful purpose and are a tangible reminder that their efforts are appreciated by the company.
Consider the spouse and children
Always remember to consider the family members of your employees in an effort to create a more inclusive company culture.
Especially when handling employee relocation, most of the time the employees’ family members would like to follow. It is very important to accommodate them during this process. You could present a bottle of wine to the spouse and toys for the children to show appreciation and support for their decision.
Employees are also more loyal to companies when their employee benefits cover family members.This is not only because of the benefits themselves, but also because the acknowledgment of family represents a stronger connection between their personal and professional lives.
IKEA provides four months of parental leave for both full time and part-time workers.
World map decorated by employees
At CEA Australia, new employees mark the places they are from or where they have travelled to on a large world map. This starts conversation among the office workers and boosts interpersonal engagement.
At the same time, CEA also provides opportunity to subsidise training abroad. By doing so, both junior and senior level employees can recognise the opportunities for further career development.
Gamification of onboarding process
Aside from traditional onboarding processes (like videos, workshops and welcoming documents), competitive games can also build up team spirit. Employees will typically enjoy these more and end up being more devoted to the company. Companies like Bazaarvoice and Rackspace have gamified their onboarding to boost employee engagement, and proven to be a huge success.
Display team photos
Putting up pictures of different departments in other department offices helps to create a more communal atmosphere, and foster the idea that everyone is part of the same team working towards the same goals.
Pay to quit
Zappos will reimburse $4,000 to their new hires if they quit during their initial training period. In this sense, paying for someone to leave voluntarily at an early stage is better than having them quit after months of training (saving you time, money and the potential discouragement it may bring to co-workers).
Tips for creating onboarding procedures
Let staff choose their team
Big companies like Facebook and Cisco allow their employees to choose whichever team they want to work for as their first task. This allows employees to base their decisions on areas where their strengths lie and gives them time to get familiar with company procedures through tasks they feel more comfortable with. In return, this boosts their confidence when it comes to achieving different goals elsewhere in the company.
Increase employee referral program
Data shows that employees will be more willing to stay at companies if they are friends with their co-workers. Nothing better than to work with your best friends, right? You could look at sourcing talent with a similar skillset from one of your employee’s networks, so candidates have been vouched for to some extent. If done properly, this can reduce the amount of time you have to hunt through piles of CVs.
Company benefits explained
It is important for HR managers to explain to employees at all levels about the benefits that they will enjoy as a result of their position. When employees understand what they are entitled to, it will increase their loyalty and engagement level. The benefits are usually listed in company Personnel Handbooks, however, HR managers should inform employees of specific terms.
Here are several benefits that have the highest impact on employee satisfaction (but are subject to change):
- Health insurance
- Vacation & paid time off
- Pension plan
- 401k Plan (U.S.A)
- Retirement plan
- Dental insurance
- Maternity & paternity leave
- Sick days
Additional benefits that may concern employees:
- Reimbursement for commuting
- Possible reimbursement for education
- Discounts on certain vendors
- Office building gym or subsidies for gym memberships
- Home internet compensation
- Phone/laptop/data allowance
Employee benefit card
Employee benefit cards are given to employees from the company for the purpose of work related expenses. This sort of credit card can save paperwork and expedite the reimbursement process. Companies can set a limit for the card which allows employees to keep track of their own spending during business travel or meetings.
Must-have software for a better working environment
Digital contract signing software
Hello Sign allows companies to sign contracts digitally and with security. The use of Hello Sign is limitless. It can be between employees or companies. It is binding by laws and theft protection. This software saves paperwork and time spent on preparing contracts since HelloSign have installed templates for users.
Other than signing contracts, DocuSign also collects payment and allows users to integrate with other software such as Microsoft and Google. It is easy and fast for users to get contracts signed with the added bonus of a 30 day trial of their products.
Actimo provides the perfect platform and set of digital tools for employees to get onboard and for managers to share relevant information. It is versatile and convenient i.e. managers can embed video content to create demonstrations or explanations for newcomers and track employee progress through specific automations.
Clear Company helps with the recruiting process and keeps track of individual application status. The cost calculation feature allows companies to successfully manage their recruitment process and expenditure. It also connects with onboarding processes and performance management features.
Actimo is a multi-functional software that ensures a smooth onboarding process. It allows companies to message all employees (desk and non-desk) through their preferred mobile device, and get instant data related to their sent rate, bounce rate and watch through rate. Actimo also supports polling and survey modules to gauge employee sentiment on a range of issues, as well as social feedback functionality.
This easy-to-use internal communication software has been trusted by many international companies. It has a user-friendly interface which bypasses the need for email and makes organisational communication just like using an instant messenger.
Digital Company Card
N3 is a staff card which employees can get discounts with by showing to shops or online retailers.
Pleo is an expense management software for larger organisations. Not only do they provide services for standard company transaction cards, but they also help with accounts receivable, credit processing and real-time receipt uploads. This secure licensed software provides a safe and fast method to keep track of all company expenses.