Up to 20 percent of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days of starting a new job, according to the Society of Human Resource Management Foundation’s Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success. Yet, new employees who go through a structured onboarding program are 58 percent more likely to stay with the organization for at least three years.

Onboarding can drive retention in multiple ways, says Cordell Riley, president of Tortal Training. In addition to the obvious—training the employee with knowledge around skills and systems needed to perform the job—Riley says onboarding can help to:

  • Grow and encourage adoption of your culture
  • Get new hires to understand, promote and believe in your brand
  • Sow the seeds for outstanding customer service
  • Cultivate the kind of spirit and energy that customers will value and love
  • Build retention by proving that your company is a great place to work
  • Set up communication channels with new hires that will improve operations throughout your company.

Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today shares these eight key strategies from Riley for onboarding and retaining new hires.

1. Define a clear onboarding process. Many companies just wing it, with negative results. Still other companies see onboarding as little more than filling out forms, setting up company email accounts and showing new employees to their desks. Because new hires start their jobs without a deeper understanding of what is expected of them, they make mistakes that quickly become costly habits and must be corrected later.

Many problems can be avoided if you set up a structured onboarding system that functions as high-level training. On their start day, new hires can meet individually with HR representatives to fill out forms, for example, and then meet as a group to watch videos and learn about the company, its brand and its values. After lunch, they can be trained in the basic skills their jobs demand; watch training videos, engage in work simulations and work alongside current employees. After the first day, they should attend regular follow-ups to address problems and reinforce basic concepts and skills.

2. Set up mentoring between new hires and successful current employees. The role of the mentor is to discover what the new employee wants to accomplish and help them reach those goals. The mentor can also introduce the new hire to resources that may help him be successful in his new role.

3. Find ways to remove layers and free up communications. A nice benefit of new employees is that they bring fresh perspectives to the company. Invite new employees to brainstorming sessions where their new ideas are collected, posted, discussed-and put into action when appropriate. Also consider setting up de-layering systems, such as virtual suggestion boxes on your company intranet, where employees at all levels can present suggestions directly to top company executives.

4. Don’t do onboarding on the cheap. If you are only handing out employee handbooks and having new employees fill out withholding forms, you are missing out on some great opportunities. If you can train every new salesperson to sell just 10 percent more on every order, for example, that could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of new business company-wide, maybe even more. The lesson? Spending a little more to deliver great training is a money-maker, not a cost.

PCT is on board again tomorrow with more employee onboarding tips.

Source: Cordell Riley is a sought-after keynote speaker, owner and president of Tortal Training, a leading training development company he founded in Charlotte, North Carolina. He uses strategic engagement methodologies and specializes in developing mobile training platforms for organizations with distributed workforces. A recognized training expert with extensive experience in the service, automotive and franchising sectors, he has spent more than 20 years helping thousands of companies achieve outstanding success through training.