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Your CEO probably doesn’t wake up in a cold sweat thinking about your organization’s onboarding program, but maybe (s)he should.

  • 33% of new hires look for a new job within the first six months (more among Millennials).1
  • Employee turnover costs are estimated to range between 100% and 300% of the employee’s salary.1
  • It typically takes eight months for a new hire to reach full productivity.1

These are a few statistics illustrating why it’s essential to engage new hires-starting on Day One! To help you defy the odds, here are tips on how to connect with, mobilize and ultimately retain your new recruits. More importantly, you’ll have your CEO purring because (s)he will have a more productive, tenured and engaged workforce driving his/ her change agenda. Creating a World-Class Onboarding Program The best onboarding program has these seven traits:

  • It’s designed from the new-hire backwards. Organizations typically focus on content versus how to successfully transfer that knowledge. We have five generations in the workforce, a rise in workplace flexibility, and people glued to their cell phones-all reasons to think harder about how we meet our employees ‘where they’re at.’
  • It’s paced and sequenced over time. Often our top priority is to get people up to speed quickly. But, if the first six months to one year is the critical retention period, why should onboarding occur only during the first 30-60 days? Don’t get sucked into rushing your talent through heavy content in only a few days-onboarding is not a race.
  • It includes the puzzle box top. Many employees have no clue what goes on outside their department, yet it’s imperative for employees to collaborate across silos to help organizations innovate and adapt quicker. So immerse them in the big picture-the box top view.
  • It shows new talent how they connect to your strategy. If you hire someone, it means they are a critical part of your strategic plan-or at least they should be. Whether part of the house cleaning crew or a senior executive, each employee plays a role in bringing your strategy to life. Yet, typically the connection is fuzziest at best … or non-existent at worst. How can people execute a strategy if they don’t know what it is or how they connect to it? Great onboarding engages hires in your strategy. But remember, one-way tells do not work and PowerPoints kill! Leverage storytelling-it’s much more engaging.
  • It immerses new hires in your culture. Many talented hires struggle to assimilate into new cultures. Potentially even worse, new hires arriving in management and leadership roles often bring old cultures with them. Take time to immerse hires in your purpose and culture-and be honest about where you are on that journey. There’s nothing worse than being promised one thing and experiencing something completely different.
  • It tools up your managers. Remember, people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. So it seems crazy that front-line managers are the most undervalued and underinvested group within the workforce today. Most managers will say their workload keeps them from nurturing new employees. In that case, maybe we have them focused on the wrong thing? The number one job of your front-line managers is to develop and build high-performing teams. We need to make it easier for them to focus on this as their first priority.
  • It delivers the development roadmap. More and more, employees are leaving organizations because they don’t see any development opportunities. Most graduates want career advancement over anything else, yet instead of a clear development path, the journey feels more like a dirt track with a bunch of conflicting signs. I keep hearing complaints about Millennials wanting promotions before they’ve proven themselves. To counteract this, consider being more upfront about what their journey looks like, how long it takes and how they’ll get there to nip that argument in the bud.

The use of these seven steps can help you create an onboarding program that is strategic, effective and sure to create meaningful business impact.

1. Harvard Business Review “Technology Can Save Onboarding from Itself”