Commitment. Trust. Support. Fidelity. A real relationship. Communication. Financial security. Becoming part of the family. Building a future together…

So now answer honestly – what came to mind … Marriage? Or a new career?

Possibly the single most significant opportunity to affect employee retention is during their first month of employment. A “Great Start” program goes far beyond orientation classes, or even on-boarding, as both of these processes tend to be event driven, not experiential. Filling out forms and signing up for benefits (orientation sessions) and ensuring the right tools and equipment are in place (on boarding) are important. However, the best programs include all of the above and help to create a welcoming, and engaging environment to your new employee.

When a new employee joins an organisation, they are (in the main!) full of enthusiasm and excitement, and have a genuine desire to engage with their new surroundings and colleagues. They bring experience from their life BNC (Before New Company), and are taking brave new steps in their careers. They have enthused to their friends, family and network about their new opportunity, their exciting new company.

In short, this is where Employer Branding grows from. Brand-focused companies are quick to realise that new employees’ first experiences form the foundation of their bond with their new company and, as your employees represent your employment brand, isn’t it better to start them off on the right path, and get engaged early?

Some tips

  1. Have a plan – not just for you, but for your new team member. Ensure the plan is action oriented, and doesn’t just focus on a mountain of one-way information sharing. Remember, you’re after engagement, so you need to set up that two-way conversation from the start. What are the key take aways and desired outcomes from the on-boarding experience and how will these make your new employee’s job an easier one to move into?
  2. Make sure you allocate time – remember, this is an investment. Often dedicating the time upfront means less catch up down the track. Set aside the right amount of time to achieve everything you set out in your plan, and add a little, just to be sure.
  3. Share the detail – no doubt you can explain the $2 billion organisation in five minutes. This is not the time! Explore the business – its structure, its mission, its opportunities, its challenges. Send them off to explore, to fact find (a treasure hunt if you will), and report back. Make it interesting, engaging, MAKE IT DIFFERENT.
  4. Update regularly – make sure you have follow ups scheduled in your diaries to touch base with your new employee to keep the momentum alive. This adds further rigour around the engagement part of your plan. Remember, the one you set up at the start?
  5. Have a support structure in place – you don’t have to do it all yourself. Allocate subject matter experts who can take over some of the on-boarding. This gives your new employee a chance to meet with others in the business and get to know them better, one-on-one. It also empowers your current employees as experts in their field.
  6. Have an introduction session – formal is great, but why not follow it immediately with a more relaxed “get to know you” session with colleagues?
  7. Show trust. If you can’t, why did you hire them?
  8. Always think of the future. Think of the power of an effective employer brand. It starts right here. And we all know you don’t get a second chance.

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