Here's something to seriously ponder: Research is saying that a new hire's decision to stay with a company long-term is made within the first six months of employment.
Think about that for a minute. It means your average employee hasn't made up his or her mind about staying or leaving your company until, quite possibly, month six on the job.
That's why good managers ensure a great new hire experience by keeping a pulse on their new employees' thoughts and feelings. They don't just tell them what's expected of them their first week on the job and then drop them out of a helicopter in the middle of a wildfire.
Good managers understand the process of onboarding, which is mostly relational by nature. They will have frequent conversations with new employees about their responsibilities and progress that stretch well into the first few months on the job (yes, even up to month six!).
A masterful strategy of most good managers
I want to bring out a powerful and simple strategy that most bosses rarely implement for an effective new hire experience. It's encapsulated into four steps:
- Be intentional about setting clear goals and expectations with measures for success for the first 30, 60, 90 days and so on up to an employee's first six months on the new job. Make sure to discuss these plans frequently throughout that stretch of time, as things may shift.
- Help new hires identify and access key resources, tools, technology, and information they must have to do their work effectively, and support them along the way in accessing those things.
- Show your new hires how to succeed at your company by connecting them with existing talent. Enlist your top performers as mentors and make sure they take the time to explain what the "unwritten" rules of the company are.
- Engage new hires in one-on-one conversations about what motivates them within the first two weeks of their employee experience. Ask questions like: What are you learning? What roadblocks are you encountering? How can I help in the best way possible? How can I help you with your professional development interests? Do you have a sense of what you'd like to learn next?
Think these will make a difference? You betcha. It fosters a sense that you value them as individual knowledge workers for doing meaningful work, belonging, and making a difference. You may need tougher skin as a manager when asking these questions because you're inviting feedback that may be uncomfortable at first, which is a plus. As managers, it teaches you to be open to constructive dialog but most importantly, it trains your brain to acclimate to the essence of true leadership -- serving the needs of employees and actively helping them to advance their career goals and plans so they, and the business, thrive. The reverse of this scenario is typical of leaderless companies: When new hires don't get time with their managers or the resources to do their jobs well, they get to experience low morale for the first time; they stop caring and giving their best, unfortunately, early on in the game.