How to Accelerate Productivity of Your New Talent

A cartoon in which the New Guy asks, "Which is the big saw?" even though it's obvious

The statistics on the high dissatisfaction rate of new employees should capture the attention of every HR department and leader looking to engage, develop and retain high performing talent.

Studies by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology show that 50% of all hourly employees leave their new jobs within 120 days and that 50% of senior level outside employees fail before they reach Year 3 on the job. Pretty dismal. When you have invested significant time and money to hire new talent, you look for a payoff…productive employees who are engaged and stay. What is going wrong?

It is not a matter of incompetence…we find that new hires are mostly able to handle their roles. But, after analyzing surveys and following up on exit interviews at clients, it seems that many do not understand how to really get work done day-to-day, how to build effective relationships within the unique cultural parameters, and how to effectively use the company’s business systems and processes. All three of these issues should be covered in the first weeks of new employee onboarding.

Here are four tips on how to onboard new talent better so that new hires feel a part of the corporate culture, understand how to work the systems and become productive, engaged members of the workforce sooner.

  1. Train on systems
    Beyond the typical intro to the company’s mission and values and filling in the necessary documents for HR, new employee onboarding should provide training on the organization’s specific systems and processes required to get work done. Experienced employees “get it” and know what to do and when to do it. But new employees are often at a loss. Sure, they are smart and eager; but they are probably not familiar with the nomenclature and shortcuts of your proprietary systems, processes and practices. Make sure you provide new employees with a simple, easy-to-use manual or a patient instructor so the systems they need to do their job become enablers, not obstacles.
  2. Assign a coach
    Just as having a “big brother” or “big sister” when you went off to school made the adjustment easier, so having a coach at work to show you the ropes can be a huge boon to the newbie. Assign a friendly expert who can help answer the little questions like “what is the password to access the online company directory” to big questions like “in this culture, is it better to go directly to the VP or to my manager to share what I’ve learned about …. “
  3. Provide career opportunities to grow
    Once new hires get their feet on the ground and are feeling more confident on the job, they should have opportunities to branch out. Make sure they are introduced to employees outside of their team and can see how many paths their career could take. The more exposure they have to employees at large, the better they will understand the organization’s strategy and workplace culture; and the better they will be able to understand how they directly contribute to the overall success of the business.
  4. Monitor results
    Overseeing the new hire onboarding process should include specific success metrics. Find out if your new approach is having an effect. Are your new hires ramping up faster? Are they staying on longer? Are they more happily engaged sooner? And when you don’t have the time or inclination for targeted pulse surveys, simply ask them. If you have built sufficient trust, they should be able to fill you in on what has worked well for them and what was missing in the program. Then it’s your job to make suggested changes.

Do make your onboarding process more effective and don’t make your new employees feel like the awkward “new guy” any longer than necessary.

To learn more, download 7 New Employee Orientation and Onboarding Best Practices to Increase Speed to Productivity

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