So you now have your first employee or employees – congratulations! But now what? – A point to note – within the first 12 months new hires are a high risk for resignation as this is when they have limited loyalty to your business and if it is not working for them they will walk. This is particularly the case for Gen Y employees.
Changing jobs is very challenging – think about it, they go from knowing their job, their business and their colleagues well to effectively starting from scratch – the newbie! They may have been the ‘office guru’ before but now they need to prove themself all over again. Everyone used to come to them for help and now they’re asking where the toilets are! So try and remember how you felt when you were in this position and think of ways to smooth the course.
Here are five ways to help your new hires enjoy the transition and quickly become productive members of the team:
- Welcome – it sounds so simple and it is – but it’s often forgotten especially when you are busy. I’ll never forget when I transferred to a London office; I was on my own in a new town and didn’t know anyone. No one offered to take me for a coffee, a drink or lunch – I really did feel even further from home. Take your new hire to lunch on the first day; introduce them to the others in the team or office. Creating these office relationships quickly will help both your new hire and the other team members.
- Information – I recommend running them through a small orientation program – new employees are hungry for knowledge. Take them through the business, vision, goals, team structure, products & services and policies. They typically want to understand you and your business well. Share a story about how you got to where you are now. Check out Valerie Khoo – Power Stories, if you need help to shape your story.
- Reference point – make sure that they have a point of contact, someone they can ask both technical and practical questions of. Reference material will also help, are there processes to follow or websites or an intranet that may help?
- Check in – I recommend scheduling regular check point conversations at the end of the first day, first week, first month and third month. These sessions can be amazing in terms of quickly addressing any issues and also provides insights for you about your business. Remember a fresh set of eyes sees things very differently.
- Safe environment– we hear the mantra all the time ‘be bold’ but you need to be in an environment that supports taking risks and asking the dumb questions (by the way – there are no dumb questions). Create an environment that encourages continuous improvement and questioning of the status quo. Understand that some employees will take a little longer to blossom than others and, above all, proactively show your support of the new hire – your team will too.
A poor onboarding experience is an often-cited reason for resignation along with a comment I have heard many times from employees, ‘the role was not as I thought it was or not as I was told it would be.’ Make sure that you are honest and realistic about the job and the environment with the caveat, which is so often the case in start ups – be prepared for change and ambiguity.