If you work in Human Resources, you’re well aware of the amount of time, effort and money that companies spend recruiting the best talent for their teams. But did you know that nearly half of all hourly workers leave new jobs within the first 4 months? Even more surprisingly, half of all senior new hires also move on within the first 18 months of accepting a new position. How can companies stem the retention tide and get the best ROI on their talent acquisition investment? One word: onboarding.
You’re likely familiar with the four C’s of a successful onboarding plan. Compliance, Clarification, Culture and Connection. Most companies get the first two right – Compliance is about setting company rules and regulations while Clarification is simply making sure the new employee has a clear understanding of their role and responsibility. A good offer letter and review of an employee handbook gets those two checked off right away.
It’s the second two C’s that are most important. Those will take more time, a more thoughtful approach and both rely heavily on an authentic human connection to fully integrate new workers to the corporate team. By it’s very definition, your corporate culture will be evident in every thing the employee experiences, even before day one. You’ll want to establish a formal introduction to brand, mission and values. Interacting cannot be done just through words on a page because your employees are living examples of the company’s brand values. It’s human nature to learn and retain knowledge through stories. Profiling employees, managers and division leaders in an engaging way can help orient your new team members to the culture they’re joining. Putting your best brand ambassadors front and center for new employees also helps them feel connected to the company.
Connection is about engaging the new employees. Helping them feel like they are part of a team that works far better together than individually. It’s also about putting the company mission and values into the context of a relationship through human interaction. You’ll want to introduce company leadership as relatable, authentic and honest. They are the company figureheads who are setting the goals, giving guidance and clarity. If your new worker can not only know who is leading the company, but feel like they know a little about what makes them who they are, why they care, and what drives them to work so hard for the company’s success, they will be off to a terrific start. And, you will have done an excellent job onboarding.
In companies with tens of thousands of employees and a massive global scale, often Culture and Connection are the biggest challenge HR managers face with new employee engagement. We have one client at a major US accounting firm, who was tasked with onboarding close to 20,000 new hires each year. They developed a program where periodically recently hired employees would be brought together for an onboardng day of presentations and working groups. She reached out to Tribe for help creating a package of videos that would play at various times throughout the day, kicking off each session and providing points for discussion. We proposed a series that included five videos: An overview, an introduction to the CEO and COO, a more in depth profile of three employees at different points in their career, a piece on company social responsibility and to close the day, and a manifesto on the company values. The series was a huge success and is still in use almost 4 years later.
Second only to face to face meeting, HR onboarding videos can help to establish both culture and connection to employee ambassadors as well as leaders. While this series I mention was used through the course of a day, other companies chose to roll out a video series over several months, with a new episode arriving every few weeks supported by a coach or mentor check-in. IBM has a formal onboarding program that takes a year to complete. Regardless of the length of your company’s formal program, the four Cs are essential ingredients, but the most important are Culture and Connection.