Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Guest Post: Employee Engagement Begins Before Day One

Jimmy Taylor
Today on the blog, we present you with a post by Jimmy Taylor, SPHR and Co-Founder of Orion's sister company Novotus, on the importance of employee engagement, beginning with onboarding. This post was originally published on the Novotus blog.

A couple of months into a new year and we are already faced with new victories, new challenges, new resignations and new employees hired. According to CareerBuilder 1 out of 5 employees will make a job move in 2016. projects it even higher, expecting 33% of your workforce to move on.

The cost of turnover is a significant hit to your bottom line. When a line employee leaves a company, the total cost of turnover is 25% to 50% of their annual compensation. It is even more for skilled employees and managers. When employees leave in the first 18 months of employment it is almost always due to a failure to attach to the new organization. Much of the burden for that attachment centers around their connection to their immediate manager. For the most part that old adage is still true, employees join companies and they leave managers.

The onboarding process is a key area where you may find some gaps and find room to improve the connection new employees feel when they join. Anthony Sork, Managing Director, and his team at SHCbond have heavily researched employee attachment to new organizations, and they have found the first 120 days are the critical period in determining if your new hire becomes a long term, productive employee.

“Attachment is influenced most significantly by what is called the ‘primary career relationship’, which is the oneup manager” said Sork in a recent conversation with Novotus. “If you have high attachment, you have a low risk of attrition, and you end up with a high level of discretionary effort and performance from that individual going forward.” Failing to engage new employees during this critical early period means they are more likely to be ’tempted out of your business’,” said Sork. “When you actually have a look at the patterns of attrition and people exiting over the first 18 months of employment… overwhelmingly, it’s the employee choosing to leave, not the employer choosing to exit the person who has joined.”

Let’s look at the first 90 days of employment and some ideas that may help. In fact, let’s walk through a few weeks through the eyes of “Nick Newhire”. We will look at some of the things he experiences in his first few weeks on the new job that improve the odds he will be engaged and successful in his new role with Your Company, Inc.

The two weeks prior to starting were tough for Nick. He had solid reasons to change jobs and saw a lot of opportunities to grow and develop when he interviewed with you. He was excited to get the offer and couldn’t wait to get going. But by the end of the first week of his notice period he was having second thoughts. After all, his previous manager, who he didn’t even think noticed his work, suddenly was full of compliments. In fact, he told Nick the company had big plans for him, they just hadn’t had the time to talk with him about it. But if Nick would reconsider and stay he was sure it would be great for Nick’s career. This place certainly felt comfortable and suddenly Nick was having second thoughts about going into a new place. Maybe he should reconsider and stick around.

Fortunately for Nick he received a phone call from his new boss with Your Company Inc on Friday of that week. The call didn’t last long, but it was just what Nick needed to hear. He told Nick they were excited to have him coming, and what to expect on his first day on the job. He also said the HR Department had sent him a few forms that he needed to fill out and bring in on his first day on the job. Nick felt much better and remembered the excitement he felt when he interviewed and was hired with Your Company, Inc. When his current manager asked him one more time to reconsider leaving Nick thanked him but told him he was committed to moving on.

Nick’s first day couldn’t have gone better. When he arrived at the office the receptionist knew his name and said she remembered his from the interview and was glad to have him join the company. Within minutes one of his new team members from his department was there to greet him as well. His new co-worker said he would be giving him a quick tour while his new boss finished up a staff meeting. The tour gave Nick a chance to see the work area where he would be spending his time, along with the restrooms and break area and a few other places in the new office. Along the way Nick met most of the team he would be working with. At the end of the tour Nick was impressed when they got to his new work station. His computer was set up and there was a welcome box waiting for him with some company goodies and his new business cards. There was even a printed agenda of what the first day schedule would include. Wow, Nick remembered in his last role it took three weeks before he could get any cards, and he didn’t even have a computer to work off of for several days. Nick thought to himself, this company really seems on top of the details.

Before his co-worker left he told Nick that he would be his “buddy” for the first month or so of Nick’s employment just to help Nick get adjusted. He left Nick with a chance to get set up in his new workspace and told him his manager would be over in just a few minutes to get his first day kicked off.

The first two weeks went just as his new manager had laid out for him on that first morning. During the second week he had a great discussion with his manager. His manager wanted some feedback around how the job was going so far. He also talked to Nick about the expectations he had for Nick’s performance and the level of engagement Your Company expected from its’ employees. Nick had never considered the role he needed to play in his own engagement, but it made sense. He looked forward to meeting the company’s expectations and liked the challenge.

At the end of the first 90 days of employment Nick took a survey designed to help measure how well Nick was attaching to the new job and company. Within a few days Nick’s manager took some time to review the results with him and discuss how both sides could improve the engagement Nick had with his new job.

By the end of those first few weeks Nick was more engaged and committed to performing well than he had ever been in any role. Your Company was his home, and he looked forward to a long, successful career with the company.

Successful onboarding that helps increase the attachment and engagement your new employee shows on the job isn’t rocket science. It is also not accidental. It is the natural result of an intentional, well thought out process to help a new employee transition in, clearly communicate what is expected in the new role, and help set them up for success!

Click here to learn more about Novotus and the Recruitment Process Outsourcing services they provide.

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