The unemployment rate in the U.S. hit a 49-year low of 3.7% in 2018. Simultaneously, the demand for retaining top talent is intensifying for companies and it has become a top issue for many executives. The Harvard Business Review cites a report finding that 20% of staff turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment. This statistic leads to the following conclusion: a standardized onboarding process is essential.

In his article for the Harvard Business Review, Ron Carucci advises stressing the organizational, the technical, and the social during the onboarding process.

Organizational Onboarding
Organizations must be intentional about helping new hires adapt to organizational values and norms, especially during that first year. At key intervals — three, six, and nine months — hiring managers should formally engage them in conversations about the organization’s history and brand, how performance is measured and rewarded, and how growth opportunities arise. You should also encourage organizational “heroes,” or people held up as exemplary, to connect with new hires and share personal stories that demonstrate valued behaviors.

Technical Onboarding
Just because someone is hired for their capabilities and experiences, doesn’t mean they know how to deploy them at your company. New hires with deep areas of expertise can become insecure when they suddenly feel like beginners. They may even resort to citing past successes as a way to prove their competence, which can alienate them more and exhaust their colleagues — who might get tired of hearing a new team member start each sentence with, “In my last job.” To avoid this dilemma, communicate clearly from day one.

Giving new hires clear goals is another powerful strategy because it allows you to share realistic expectations. An astounding 60% of companies report that they do not set short-term goals for new hires. A good way to start is to assign tasks with an expectation that they be completed at the three, six, and nine-month marks.

Social Onboarding
Recent research reveals that 40% of adults report feeling lonely . This sense of isolation is amplified for new hires — who often feel like a stranger in a foreign land — and can increase their chances of leaving a job.

Building relationships during their first year can help new hires feel less isolated and more confident. New hires, in partnership with their manager, should identify 7-10 people — superiors, peers, direct reports, and internal and external customers — whose success they will contribute to, or who will contribute to their success. The new hire should then craft plans to connect with each stakeholder, one-on-one, during their first year. This can be a short meeting over coffee or lunch — an opportunity to learn and ask for guidance.

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