On the right foot
Some studies have estimated that up to 80 percent of new employees start looking for their next job within the first three days of starting their current job. Buyer’s remorse is just as strong in the employment field as it is any other market. This is when having a solid integration plan for new hires can be very valuable. Think about the stress and anxiety that starting a new job brings, especially for someone who has been unemployed for some time now. The stakes are high not just for that employee, but for the employer that is just climbing back economically as well.
Now that some economic activity is showing itself to us, you might be bringing on temporary staff, part-time help or even permanent staff and managers. Making sure those first few days and weeks are positive for them is a big step in cementing a solid relationship and creating performance expectations for the future.
Effectively integrating new staff is an investment in employee retention, morale and productivity and it presents a strategic opportunity for bringing the new employee to high level of productivity as quickly as possible. It also ensures the company’s products and services are delivered consistently and helps educate the new employee on understanding the important points of what they build, service or sell.
Here are few important elements to a successful new hire integration program for you to consider if you’re hiring new staff:
1. Before you even run an ad, make sure you know what the job is and what you expect to be done by whoever fills it. Not defining what you want as a company and what you need to get from the employee is the biggest mistake a company can make in starting the hiring process. Do this well and your integration process will be smooth and easy to understand for everyone.
2. During the hiring process, illustrate the challenges as well as the company’s vision to help new talent understand how they can contribute and why what they do is important. Make sure they understand the company’s passion and focus. You should validate candidates’ abilities and their cultural values as the interview progresses and make sure that you are getting a good fit for your company. Talent who don’t respond to the values your company has will most likely not fit in well, costing you time and resources.
3. Once you have found “the one,” show new employees exactly where they will be located and exactly what they will be doing. Interviewing in the marble halls of the executives, only to go to work in the dark and dingy basement, makes a lasting impression but not a good one.
4. Make sure they feel like you expected them to show up. Have all of the business cards, office supplies, keys, company identification and access cards, email and systems access, payroll information, internal phone directory, a map of the office and building and so on ready for them on their first day. I hear story after story of first days and weeks on a new job being a total waste because the company was not prepared to put the new person to work. I promise they were looking for their next job during that time.
5. Set up a meeting with the team they will be working with. Make a short introduction and ask everyone to introduce him or herself and describe what their role is with in the company and how the two jobs interact with each other. This helps establish who does what, how they can be helpful, and it makes a face to face introduction as opposed to the common “go find Sandy in payroll to get that fixed” response when they have no idea who Sandy is or that payroll is located in Philadelphia.
6. Assign a mentor to meet with the new employee daily, then weekly, then monthly so that questions and concerns can be addressed immediately. They need to have a go-to person when they come across new situations they don’t know how to handle yet. This builds confidence and engagement in both the teacher and the student. Win-Win.
7. Get them involved in training (if the position requires it) or in real work immediately. This gets them engaged in the learning and doing process and adds productivity to the organization right away. Then be sure to give the new employee constructive feedback frequently within the first several weeks. They need to know that you care about their success and that what they do matters.
8. If the position permits, take them out to lunch at the end of the first week offsite. Give them a safe and neutral environment and ask for their feedback on the first week’s experience. Be good listener and encourage their honesty. A fresh set of eyes might see things you don’t notice, and it helps the employee feel credible in the organization if you really care about how things are working out for them as well as the company.
9. Don’t make the common and deadly mistake of parking your new employees at a workstation and handing them the company policy and operations manual. The critical first few months on the job can determine whether or not you retain your new hires.
Steve Conine is owner of Talent Framework and the Reno office of AccuStaff. Contact him at 322-5004 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I point out many cases of where privately owned companies do just as bad a job as publicly owned companies,” says Reno resident and former teacher Robert (R.D.) Gardner.