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Why the First Five Days Are Crucial in Employee Onboarding

Ben Renner

Ben Renner

effective employee onboarding improves retention

effective employee onboarding improves retentionAt this point in the employee-onboarding process, new hires are unlikely to walk away. You might have issues with some job candidates playing the field with several companies, losing candidates to your competition. But usually, if they show up for their first day of orientation, your new hires are ready to put their best foot forward for your company. From day one, they’re acclimating themselves to your company culture. They’re adjusting, looking to fit in with your team structure right away. They’re sizing up your company, no longer as an outsider, but as one of the team. Which, for them, is a different perspective and one you need to make as smooth as possible or they could run for the hills.

It’s up to you to make sure this vulnerable time isn’t wasted. Employee onboarding is the first (and sometimes the only) time you get to impress new hires, the next generation of employees, with your company’s vision and mission. It’s also the time for managers to show exactly what will be expected of them and why it matters.

That last part is what keeps employees around and engaged. Showing the reasons why their work matters from day one is crucial for any organization. So, how can organizations show each new hire their true purpose amidst all the paperwork and company regulations they’re hit with at the start?

Emphasize Purpose in Employee Onboarding from Day One

employee communications

It’s essential to make sure each employee knows the basics of their job. How their department, workgroup, etc. is organized. Where the bathrooms are. How many breaks they’re expected to take and everything else they need to know to be set up for success. These are among the basic building blocks of employee onboarding. Many organizations get so bogged down in teaching new employees the communications or internal operations software they use that they forget to tell new hires why their work and understanding of the company’s procedures matters.

The first day of a new job is, obviously, an exciting time for a new hire. It also offers a key opportunity for instilling the company’s mission in new employees’ priorities. Here’s an example: Two bankers start the same position at different companies. On day one, the first is introduced to the procedures and expectations of their new position. The other spends their first hours hearing about how the bank has helped specific customers save for a new house or build a savings account. When trainers and onboarders take a few moments to explain how the individuals’ new job responsibilities directly affect customers’ lives, their new bankers are more motivated and engaged from the first day. They’re more likely to carry that positive energy forward into their new job.

Use Those Five Days

The first workweek is a chance to change new employees’ perspectives. Communicating your company’s values, mission and vision is crucial. Using different media can be a huge factor in getting the message across. Video content, for example, is effective in conveying consistent information to large numbers of employees all at once. You still need to tell them how to find the cafeteria and which printer their computer prints to. But make sure you balance the minutiae of the day to day with the bigger picture.

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