Employee retention efforts have to start on day one. In our experience, we’ve found that how well an employee is onboarded directly correlates with their success within the company. Careless or haphazard onboarding can lead to new employees feeling disengaged and undervalued, which can have a major impact on turnover rates.

If you want to be unmistakable in your market, you have to have an unmistakable onboarding process. New employees need to feel like they’re part of something from the moment they walk through the door. Here are some tips for improving your onboarding process:


  • Go beyond the buddy system. Being assigned a mentor or “buddy” to help the new employee navigate his or her first day is a tried-and-true strategy. To truly get your new employee more integrated into the culture, though, one buddy isn’t enough. Have your new team member meet with several of your current employees in one-on-one settings to learn different parts of the job or the company. This will help the new employee build relationships and offers them multiple resources if they have questions as they move forward in their position.


  • Plan ahead. The first day at a new job can sometimes be painfully awkward and lonely. Paperwork, orientation videos, reviewing the employee handbook—not exactly riveting stuff. Before your new employee’s first day, create a schedule for them that includes activities beyond the tedious administrative tasks—coffee with the CEO or upper management, a welcome lunch, perhaps even an icebreaker activity with team members. That kind of effort is sure to improve their response when they return home and are asked “How was your first day?”


  • Make it personal. Even large companies have an opportunity to recognize the individuality of their employees. Consider learning something specific about the new employee during the hiring process—their favorite coffee drink, candy or meal—and use that information to change the onboarding experience. Imagine coming in on your first day at a new job and being handed your favorite caramel latte, sitting at your desk to find an assortment of your favorite Butterfinger bars with a handwritten welcome note, and then enjoying a catered lunch with your team members featuring your all-time favorite meal: tacos. Now that would be pretty unmistakable.


  • Ask for feedback. Don’t forget to check in with your new employees after they have gone through the onboarding process and get their feedback. What did they appreciate? What did they wish had been different? It’s important to continuously review your onboarding approach to ensure it continues to achieve the best outcomes—for the new employee and the business.


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