You just hired a new employee for your business, how long do you think it’ll be before you see your return on investment? At what point do you break even with training costs? I’ve seen clients hire candidates only to have them quit before they broke even. Now they’re in the hole $2,000 and they still need to hire another employee.
There is a recent study done by Harvard Business School where they took a survey of 610 CEOs which showed mid-level managers don’t reach their break-even point until they’ve worked just over 6 months of working at their company.* So your efforts should be putting money into hiring the right employee for your company. Once you do that, you won’t have to worry about losing money with each hire.
Because the National Unemployment Rate is under 5%**, you want to hang on to every talented employee you can find. It’s a candidates market out there, if they’re not happy with your company they can easily find another job. Here are some tips for making sure your onboarding process goes as smoothly as possible:
Start the Onboarding Process Before You Start the Onboarding Process
You heard me. Imagine you are starting at a new company, you’re a little nervous, you want to make sure you have the correct date and time for your first day and you’re not exactly sure who to reach out to with any questions like, “Where should I park on my first day since I don’t have a parking pass yet?” or “I haven’t heard from them for 2 weeks, do they remember that I’m starting today?”
I’ve walked into a new office on my first day only to have my new boss go, “Oh I completely forgot you were starting today!” Gee, thanks for making me feel important. After your top candidate accepts the offer, send them information regarding their first day. Include all the details, don’t assume they will know!
Also, make sure to mark in your calendar that they are starting and have a scheduled plan for their first day. Check in with them one week before their start day, I recommend by phone. Welcome them personally, let them know you are excited to have them and let them know what to expect. The day before their first day, send them a quick email, just so they feel confident heading into work their first day. They will feel like they already kind of know you.
First Impressions Matter
Have you started at a new company only to get there on your first day and your desk needs a deep cleaning from the person who used it before you? Or your laptop is not reconfigured and your email login doesn’t work? I have. How long did I stay with that company? Not long. Because my first impression of them was that they were disorganized.
When you have a new employee starting, check with IT to make sure their email and all user logins are up and running so they can login right away. Please clean their desk/office/cube. No one, and I mean no one wants to spend their first day cleaning up the mess of the person before them.
Introduce your new team member to everyone around the office. Schedule meet and greets with coworkers that they will be working with directly so they can start to grow their working relationship. Buy lunch for the team to eat together with your new employee, or take your new employee out to lunch to get to know them one-on-one.
Make sure you are clear about your expectations of them from day one, so there is no guess work involved. If your company has multiple locations, it’s a good idea to have the new employee write a short intro about themselves for you to send out company wide. Maybe even attach a picture (approved by the employee of course) so if anyone is visiting your location they can put a name to the face.
Create a Training Schedule – and Stick To It
Every client that I have worked with has some sort of training schedule to speak of. Creating training schedules are easy. Sticking to the training schedule is where most employers fail. I know, work gets busy, life gets busy. But you knew this employee was starting, right? So plan to be booked their first two weeks to train them. If you have meetings you must attend schedule them to train with one of their coworkers. Whatever you plan, stick to it. If you don’t, your disorganization will show.
You are dishing out a pretty penny to bring this new employee on board. If you don’t set them up for success during that 2 week training period, they will not be successful, I promise. Make your money worth it, give them proper, structured training and it will save you time and money in the long run.
During this two week training period, you can schedule time for them to complete all of the hiring paperwork. The I-9 needs to be completed within 3 days of their first day. The other paperwork can be spread out so they don’t feel like all they are doing is filling out new paperwork.
New Employee Development
My guess is when you interviewed your new employee they didn’t say that they would love to be in this position forever without ever advancing. Most job seekers are looking for advancement opportunities or to grow their skills and learn. If you are a small company, you may not be able to offer opportunity for advancement, but you can offer mentorship.
If your company allows for it, assign your new employee a mentor (that isn’t you). This will be someone they can go to about all of their dumb questions without having to ask their direct supervisor. This should also be someone who you see in your company as a leader, someone who has a lot of knowledge to offer that maybe is different than your knowledge.
This will benefit your company for two reasons; it will give the mentor some leadership experience and help them feel more engaged in their position, and it will take some workload off your shoulders while still having your new employee growing and developing within your company. You will also be able to check in with their mentor and see how they feel the new employee is doing in their position.
Another great tool to use once the 2 week training is complete is a 30-60-90 day goal plan. On the last day of your 2 week training schedule time to go over your expectations for this goal plan and a due date of when you want to see the completed plan. If they are at a loss of what their goals should be, give them a few ideas of what you feel needs to be fixed in their department and how long you think it should take, but let them fully complete this goal plan on their own. When they are completed, revisit their plan together to make sure you are both in agreement. Make a copy for yourself and upload their goals into your calendar so you can follow up appropriately.
The first day of an employee’s new job can make or break their success with your company. Thinking back to the onboarding processes I’ve gone through at different companies makes me cringe. Why is this something companies haven’t worked to perfect yet?
You are losing money with every employee you hire if you haven’t followed these guidelines during the onboarding process. The onboarding process of new employees is something many companies overlook, but a process that should be refined to minimize time and money spent.
*Posted in Investopedia study done by the Studer Group
* *Unemployment rate of 4.4% as of June 2017 according to the National Conference of State Legislators