With Back To School around the corner, it made me think that starting a new job can feel a lot like the first day of school. Just like new students, new employees are apprehensive and nervous about what lies ahead. Those first few days an employee spends on the job will set the tone for their future with the company and either positively or negatively affect employee morale, employee productivity and subsequently employee turnover. A recent study published by a university inCanada, states that “new employees adjust better to their workplaces when they have structured processes like orientation training and mentorship programs.” Human nature prefers structure and a good employee orientation program will offer that structure. Employees who are put through an effective on-boarding program have decreased employee turnover, while those employers who “simply throw newcomers into a job and let them fend for themselves results in their being socialized by default rather than design” says Professor Jamie Gruman, who conducted the study. Don’t employers want more control over socializing their employees? A company without an effective program is leaving this to chance.
Revamping your company’s onboarding program and adding onto what might already exist to better support a new hire will go a long way in their assimilation to the company. If we equate this back to the Back to School analogy, think about the teacher who didn’t do anything to get to know the students and tell them about what to expect in their class. It likely took those students longer to get adjusted and be able to focus on the material because they were spending their time trying to figure out what was expected of them. On the other hand, the teachers who began with their expectations were likely to have better results, faster.
Yes, employees will still need to fill out the appropriate paperwork and learn the logistical basics. But what else can you teach them about the company history, company products, mission, values and culture? Think about setting up a schedule for new hires for their first week on the job that will speak to their need for structure. The schedule could include meetings with people in different departments or training sessions with co-workers. The study stated that an onboarding program should help the new employee build relationships and engage them in their job. As such, the more exposure you can give a new hire to people within the organization, the more comfortable they will feel. Involving Management and the Executive Team will also increase the effectiveness of the onboarding program. Management is able to really bring a new hire into the fold of the organization, the way a co-worker is not able to. As the saying goes, it takes a village. “Companies benefit from boosting their employees’ well-being. Helping new hires adjust at the start empowers them to achieve their potential later on.” A first day and week on the job that excites the employee to jump into their new role will result in a happier and more productive employee in the long run.