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New Hires Come and Go, But They Don’t Have To

Dana Cera

The technical sector has the highest turnover rates. That’s a fact

What that means for hiring managers is more time spent looking for, training, and onboarding new talent. If you onboard better, you’ll onboard less frequently. Unless, of course, you’re growing the company such that you’re always hiring. That’s a different problem. A good problem.

And either way, you want your tech hires to stay. So why are they leaving? 

The number one reason of turnover is the inability to thrive: not feeling connected to the company, culture, or team. 

Whether at the office or the home office, connection is key. 

Start before day one. Send the paperwork prior to onboarding and get that out of the way. That’s not what we mean by onboarding. That’s just . . . paperwork. 

How would you treat a well-known speaker coming in to meet with your staff? How would you treat, say, Sir Paul McCartney? How would you want to be treated on your first day? They aren’t called talent for nothing, so let’s think of your new hires as what they are and give them the rock star treatment. 

Some recruiters refer to this day one welcoming as an “unboxing.” What’s in the box? Is it a folder you call a welcome packet (i.e., paperwork) or is it the dream job they’re ultimately hoping to find? 

Better onboarding starts way before onboarding begins. In the box you’ll need the following: 

A corporate culture defined. Know it, examine it, live it. It’s not just an idea or words on a page, it must exist. If an engineer can work anywhere, consider what makes staying worthwhile: a company culture and the ability to thrive within it. And that starts at the top. The culture lives through its personal connections. New hires need the connection to their team, their managers, and hopefully to the mission put forth by upper management. How we communicate to our staff is as important as how we communicate with our customers, whether business to business or end users—or the Internet/public at large. Establish a culture and then live and breathe it. 

Get the team onboard first. Do they believe they need someone new, or will that new position make them feel threatened? If there’s a team, their input should be considered as that team grows. Will their roles change in any way? Will they meet the candidates first? Because we all know new hires need more than just the right skillset. They need to be the right person for the job, the right personality. A well-known brain researcher found that the people we interact with are the greatest cause for nervous system agitation—and that the right people can soothe our nervous systems, more so than any other external factor. People matter in all the ways.

You’ve got the message, the culture, the people, and of course the new hire needs the right tools to do their job. From programming tools to basic office products, streamline their functionality—make the basics a non-issue, but don’t bombard them with information overload. On-the-job training can take and should take time, so don’t overwhelm such that nothing is retained. Plan a slower rollout, a realistic timeline for the training period. It can’t come down to, “I gave you that information on day one.” Have a plan, revise it with every new hire. Provide a new hire with a buddy to go to when they have questions. A real ambassador, who has a plan, well aware of the expectations as a buddy. An insider who will give them a true sense of the inner workings of the company—their first human connection. 

Expect the process of onboarding to last at least seven to nine months. There’s a critical point when new hires decide to stay or go; most leave within the first six months. Make that the best six months, but don’t stop there. Take the next six months, too, to determine the new hire’s productivity. Have monthly check-ins to determine their job satisfaction. What’s working? What’s not? And if it’s not working, can it be fixed? The work buddy can manage the check-ins, report to their manager, and respond with ways to move forward productively.

The common wisdom is that climbing takes moving. So, can we make the day-to-day experience above average? What’s in the commissary? Would a ping pong table make all the difference?  How about the lighting? Has anyone thought to consider the ideal work environment might include ambience? Incentive packages are great too. Have the long-term roadmap in place if you want long-term hires.

We all know the key to marketing is finding and creating new customers. Once that time and money has been spent, you want to keep them. Think of new hires the same way. 

What’s in your new-hire box? Start with eddy. 

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