How to on-board to reduce staff turnover.

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O.C. Tanner, a consulting company specialising in culture and employee recognition programs, found that 20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days. A BambooHR survey found that 31% had quit a job before their six month anniversary.

“I hire people brighter than me and I get out of their way.”

Lee Iacocca

You’ve done the hard work, had an exhaustive search and found just the right person.  You’ve spend money, time and effort on filling the vacancy and you have an eager, excited new starter about to breath some freshness into your organisation, department or team.  How do you make sure you’re not doing exactly the same thing in two months or six months or twelves months time?

How do you keep your employees?  How do you make them so committed to the role that they never consider leaving?

Here are my six tips for on-boarding and beyond to reduce your turn over to zero!

Start with purpose

Make sure your new hire knows what they are coming to work for.  What is the purpose of the organisation?  What is your mission, vision and values?  Why do you exist?  What makes your team get out of bed and come to work?  Whatever it is make sure you communicate it and it sinks in.  Money is not the best motivator (watch Daniel Pink if you don’t believe me), so give them something else to get excited about. (If you need help defining and articulating you purpose, get in touch, it’s what we do!)

Make a great first impression

Making them feel welcome, valuable and connected to something bigger will go a long way to ensuring they stick with you.  One of the things that we do when we hire new people is give them a few things to let them know that they are now part of team and we are building something special together.

  • We provide them with a welcome card and bottle of bubbly to say congratulations and celebrate their new adventure with them.
  • We give them their own coffee mug, with a quote or a picture on the side that we feel represents them.  That is their mug and no one else will use it, that way even when they are not in the office they don’t feel like they’ve been forgotten.
  • We also provide them with a copy of the organisations playbook, which describes the heart of the organisation, how much we already value them and how important they are to the success of the organisation (download a mock playbook here to see what I mean).
  • We provide a few books that they mind find interesting and reflect our values as an organisation

These are small things, that cost very little, but it starts them off on the correct foot.

Define expectations & goals

Make sure they are absolutely clear on what you want from them in their new role and what results you’re expecting. Particularly in the first 90 days, as your expectations of productivity and outputs during that period are often completely different to their ongoing job once they get their feet under the table.  Don’t be too gentle though, usually they are itching to get going and make an impact, use that enthusiasm to give them something meaty to aim for in the first weeks and months, but be clear on what you want to see!

Check in regularly

As a leader it’s your responsibility to make sure your new hire has everything they need and knows all they need to know – either from you directly or from someone you’ve assigned the task to. Being a new hire, they will be unsure whether they can disturb you and won’t want to overly bother you.   Most new hires are eager to make a good impression and not be annoying!  Make time regularly and often to be available to give them your attention so they can ask anything they need to ask or report back anything they feel is important.  That way, they don’t need to keep bothering you, because they know you’ll check in.  You can reduce the frequency and regularity as time progresses.

Connect them to others

Everybody wants a friendly work environment, where people are comfortable and happy to be together.  You need to facilitate this for new hires.  Don’t just introduce them to people, but actually take time to connect them.  Get your team members to take them for a coffee, or have lunch with them.  Find opportunities for your new hire to help their team members and bring their expertise.  The more they connect with the team and find their place, the faster they will get up to desired productivity and the happier they will be to come to work.

Say thanks

This is just common sense!  Appreciating people for the work they do encourages them and makes them do it well next time.  Celebrate the wins and the anniversaries (6 months /12 months) to remind them they are valuable to the organisation and are part of the group success.  If they know what they are doing is having an impact they will stay around!

So there are my six tips, but how do you on-board your team?  What tips would you give?

Benjamin Drury
Benjamin Drury
A common man with uncommon desire to succeed. Helping entrepreneurs be brilliant! Building cultures and environments that inspire people to be great! Uber geek, author, experience designer & culture builder. Husband of 1, father of 3, real ale lover, rugby watcher, 49ers fan. (Also drinks lots of tea!)

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