Think back to your first day at your current job: you were probably excited, a little nervous and anxious to make a great first impression on your new coworkers. You probably got up extra early, broke out your most professional clothes, and arrived at your new job looking forward to starting the next chapter in your life.
But odds are one in five of the people reading this post only lasted another 89 days or less in that job.
That’s right: Studies show that about 20 percent of employee turnover happens in the first 90 days of employment. That means that one of every five people who start a new job today are likely to have left that job within just three months. When you think about the fact that it costs about $4,000 to fill the average open position, that’s an alarming statistic for employers, especially those in industries that already have high rates of employee turnover.
So what happens during the first 90 days of employment that causes so many employees to leave?
- Inconsistent expectations. Sometimes employees think they’re interested in a job, only to change their mind once they spend a few weeks doing that job. Other times, the employer may realize that their new employee doesn’t really have the skill set or temperament to perform a particular job well.
- Interpersonal conflict. Conflict is an inevitable part of any workplace. If a new employee clashes with their manager or coworkers, they might decide (or their manager might decide for them) that the position or the company just isn’t a good fit for them.
- Lack of training. Even if a new employee has decades of experience in similar roles, they will still need some help to learn their new employer’s systems, procedures and processes. When new employees don’t get the training they need, however, they are likely to feel overwhelmed and unsupported, and may cause them to think they simply don’t have what it takes to be successful in that role.
- Feeling unwelcome. The charm of being “the new guy” wears off fast. Employees who don’t feel welcomed by their new employer or have an opportunity to engage with or establish relationships with their new colleagues are apt to feel isolated and unhappy, and are more likely to leave sooner than those that do feel welcomed.
While not all of these things are within an employer’s control, employers with robust onboarding programs are much more likely to have more employees successfully make it through the 90-day hump and stay with the company for years to come.
Below are some elements that successful employee onboarding programs have in common:
- They get the paperwork out of the way early. Contrary to what you might think, onboarding doesn’t (or shouldn’t) begin on a new employee’s first day. The most successful employee onboarding programs begin the moment a candidate accepts a job offer. After all, that’s the moment they first become an employee. The first day on the job is already stressful enough for a new hire without the added inconvenience of required employment paperwork. The majority of this paperwork (like W-4s, direct deposit authorizations, I-9 forms and other consent forms) can be completed well before an employee’s first day. Consider either sending these forms to new hires via email or investing in an online employee onboarding technology platform. Electronic employee onboarding programs reduce paper costs while minimize the possibility of errors by providing new hires online access to all necessary employment forms so they can easily review, complete, sign and submit their forms within minutes.
- They educate employees about their new company. While many candidates will have researched their new employer during the hiring process, employers should incorporate an overview of the company’s history, culture, value, processes and procedures in an engaging way. This helps new employees connect on a more personal level with their new company, and makes them feel more at home and comfortable. Consider incorporating a company video, a brief presentation from the CEO or other executive, or even a slideshow illustrating company milestones into your new employee onboarding program.
- They ease employees into their responsibilities and job duties. Even the brightest, most qualified and most educated employee will need a few days or weeks to ease into their new role. Expecting a new employee to simply jump right into their job duties or responsibilities is unrealistic, not to mention unfair. New hires need time to acclimate themselves to their new work environment, as well as guidance from a manager or supervisor, before they can be expected to begin operating at 100%. The most successful employee onboarding programs last weeks or months, and establish goals and milestones for new employees to hit during that time.
- They make the first day or week fun. It’s common practice for a manager to take a new employee out to lunch on their first day. Successful onboarding programs take making new hires feel welcome a step further by assigning someone (either their manager or member of HR) to greet the employee when they first walk in, show them around the office and introduce them to members of the staff.
Successfully orienting employees to a company involves more than one method, one step, one person or one day. It’s a process that, when executed effectively, can result in one more committed manager, one more productive salesperson, or one more fulfilled administrative assistant. Do the math – an investment in your company’s orientation process can make a meaningful and measurable impact on your company.
As part of its HR technology offering, G&A Partners, one of the nation’s leading professional employer organizations (PEO) for more than 20 years, equips employers with a smart and effective electronic onboarding tool that essentially eliminates the need for new hire pencil pushing and instead allows employers to make the most of their new employees’ first day. And because G&A’s onboarding system can be integrated with our other human capital technology solutions, your new employee can literally be on the clock and on the payroll with little to no additional effort.
Learn how G&A Partners can help you improve your employee onboarding process by calling 866-634-6713 to speak with a recruiting expert or visiting www.gnapartners.com/get-started to schedule a business consultation.