It may be time for the idea of onboarding new employees to change.
For too long, companies have rolled out the red carpet for new hires during the first ninety days of their employment. New employees are often given mentors, new equipment, get answers to questions they didn’t know they even had, weekly access to face-to-face check-in sessions with managers and, even, a formal review of their first ninety days that signals the end of their formal onboarding process.
This traditional view of onboarding ends after three months by sending the new employee to be just another face in the crowd at the office or job site.
Yes, this short-term view of onboarding as a quick, tidy process must change – if, for no other reason than, the tight labor market demands it.
In the market for the best talent, there are more jobs than qualified candidates to fill open job listings. Most of us are living this reality every day (and have been for too long) – it’s no surprise.
We know the pendulum of power has shifted to candidates. In fact, a recent study by Robert Half showed that 58% of job seekers faced multiple job offers.
Catching most companies off-guard, however, is the realization that their best, newest employees are very well the most qualified candidates for similar positions in the job market. No company can run from the reality that your new hires are the top targets of your competitors – even if their tenure with the company is within a traditional onboarding period.
In addition to the tight labor market, new employees do not feel the pressure to stay at a new job if another, more attractive offers present themselves. The worry about a tarnished reputation for having left a job quickly is not strong enough to compel a new hire to stay.
While our parents’ warning that, “It is a big red flag to leave a job in less than a year” still resonates with many of us, that same lesson is not shared by younger job seekers.
So, in a time of fleeting employee loyalty and plentiful job opportunities, how can a company retain its newest, most talented colleagues?
The answer, at least in part, may be longer (even unending) onboarding of your best and brightest, using a three-step approach.
Step 1: First-Year Management Meetings
In a relatively short period of time, a good manager should be able to diagnose how best (and how often) to have meetings to check-in on new hires. No matter the style, though, company leaders should be held accountable to hosting on-going meetings with employees throughout their first year of employment. These sessions go a long way in developing the loyalty and comradery that will have new employees think twice before jumping ship prematurely.
Step 2: Customize Communication
Between the meetings referenced in Step 1, managers should be staying close to new employees by seeking them out in the office, at the job site, or via emails that show interest in how they are fitting in. These communications should not be a form letter but, rather, an informal chance to kick-start the discussions that will shape the face-to-face meetings you plan to have later.
Step 3: Hiring Manager Follow Up
While a hiring manager’s job is to secure the best candidates for the right job postings, companies with the best retention have hiring managers keep tabs on the new hires they’ve previously brought in.
It is likely that a new hire feels initially closest to the hiring manager that ushered them through the hiring process. Using that cohesion to understand how the new employee is feeling throughout their first year is an easy, no-additional-cost method of getting a neutral assessment of how a new employee is adjusting to their new surroundings.
Hiring new employees is time-consuming and expensive. Even more expensive, though, is having the right, new employee start and leave a position in a short time. Those pills are bitter to shallow – financially, in terms of efficiency, company performance and, even, job market reputation.
The easiest way to avoid starting another replacement hiring process might well be ensuring that your onboarding process doesn’t end. Or, at minimum, continues far longer than an employee’s first ninety days.
Need help finding the right candidates? Contact Goliath today!