You Need to Do This When Onboarding New Hires

June 24, 2016

One-third of your new hires will decide if they want to stay at your company long-term within one week of starting the job, according to the Center of Generational Kinetics.

In that week, if someone decides they don’t want to work for your company long-term, it isn’t just a retention problem. Chances are, they’ll probably care less about their job, and you won’t get the most out of them.

Think about that – it takes a lot of time and effort to hire great people. But if your onboarding process isn’t strong, you will lose the interest of 33 percent of those people within seven days of hiring them.

So what’s the secret to good onboarding? Well, in our newest guide, Leveraging Learning to Onboard Top Talent, our research uncovered exactly that: You need to show employees how the job can help them, instead of just how it fits into the company.

A smart approach to onboarding new hires: Make it clear you want new hires to achieve their goals.

When someone starts a new job, they aren’t just wondering how they fit into the company. They are also wondering how the job can help them achieve their career goals.

Research backs that up. New hires are 30 times more likely to consider leaving a company if they don't believe they can achieve their career goals at that organization, according to research by PWC.

That means you have to make it clear in your onboarding process that your company values career progression. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Detail the career advancement that’s possible for someone who has the job of the new hires. For example, from assistant manager to manager to director (Chipotle does a nice job of this on their career page).
  • Have an employee from your company who has advanced their career within your organization talk to your new hires about his or her own journey.
  • Discuss the tools you’ll provide your new hires that will allow them to gain the skills needed to achieve their goals (more on this in the next section).

It sounds strange to talk about future jobs when a person is just starting a new one. But, think about it this way: When someone starts a new job, they need a goal to shoot for. By explaining how you value career progression at your company, you are giving them that goal.

Quick note here. Career progression doesn’t just mean getting promoted. For many employees, it can mean taking on new challenges or doing a different job that closer matches their passions.

It isn’t enough to talk about career progression; you have to give them tools to make that happen.

Of course, you don’t want to advance this narrative that people who work at your organization are automatically given new opportunities, as that’s probably not the case. Instead, you have to instill into your new hires the importance of them continuously improving to make them worthy of new opportunities.

And that improvement has to go beyond just getting better at the employee’s day-to-day work. It means proactively improving skills they’ll need to reach the next level.

For example, say you know presenting well is a crucial skill to excelling at your company. It makes sense to assign new employees a public speaking class as part of onboarding, to both prove you will help them gain the skills needed to advance their career and incept them with this concept of continuous learning early on.

From there on out, your managers should continue to work with your employees to give them learning opportunities that will help them advance their career. But, by starting that process during onboarding, you make it clear that continuous improvement is critical at your company.

This ultimately will serve as a win-win for both your organization and the employee. For the employee, this emphasis on continuous learning will mean getting closer to achieving his or her own career goals. For your organization, it’ll mean a more productive, engaged employee.

The takeaway

The research clearly shows that new hires want to know they can advance their careers at your company. The faster you make it clear to them that your organization cares about their career advancement and will provide them with actual tools to make that advancement happen, the more likely you’ll have an engaged employee.

There might be some pushback by organizations that believe a current job should be enough and people should be happy with what they have. While that’s a legitimate argument, it isn’t reality. And if that’s your philosophy, you stand to lose a lot of great people.

*Image by The Internship

Making it clear your company values career progression is just one part of a great onboarding process. To learn how to build a transformational onboarding program at your company, download our free guide today.