Employee retention continues to be a hot topic for businesses worldwide. Studies suggest that close to twenty percent of new hires are lost within the first three to six months of being hired.
Employee attraction and hiring is expensive, so a success rate of only 80% can be financially devastating to smaller organizations.
Curious about what the employee retention rate is at your organization? SHRM, provides an easy to understand employee retention rate formula:
Divide the number of individual employees who remained employed for the entire measurement period by the number of employees at the start of the measurement period and multiply the result by 100.
In other words, if company Acme X has 327 at the beginning of January 2109, but only 294 of those employees remained at the end of December 2019, Acme X’s retention rate for 2019 would be approximately 90%. Using this formula, workers who are hired during the 2019 calendar year would not be counted until January 2020.
Orientation versus Onboarding
I was recently speaking with an HR colleague who told me that she was surprised at how few businessses provide onboarding opportunities for their new employees. She also remarked that sometimes she even has to explain the concept of “onboarding” to the leadership within a company. My colleagues experience mirrors some of mine own, but also highlights the need for greater communication, from those of us in the HR realm, to managers. According to ….Onboarding is one of the most valuable tools a business can offer it’s new employees to improve employee satsification and retention. So what exactly is the difference between an employee orientation and employee onboarding?
An employee orientation usually occurs in a meeting, or a series of meetings, during an employee’s first week at a company. Often, this orientation is accomplished through a self-guided online training, sometimes even offered to a new-hire before they arrive at the new company for their first day. During employee orientation, an employee is introduced to the company’s mission and goals. Sometimes (and unfortunately) this event includes an introduction to the company given by long-standing employees who tell war-stories (read: patronize and pontificate) about their time with the company. During an orientation a new hire is also introduced to the company’s benefit plans, employee behavior expectations (e.g. sexual harrassment training), standard health and safety information, a review of administrative procedures and internal policies (e.g. computer login, company network use policies, building security procedures, etc), and occassionally industry role-specific trainings.
An employee orientation usually emphasizes the rules and regulations of a company, the functional role of the position that the employee is filling within the company, and information about how the employee can access resources in order to fulfil the requirements of that role. Employee orientations are usually transactional in nature; there is a checklist to be checked off. In other words, employee orientations often feel a lot like:
“We are very busy here. You are new and something of a bit of a nuisance. We are, reluctantly, taking a break from our very busy schedules to deign to tell you what you can do and what you cannot do. If you do your job well, you won’t get in the way, you won’t get in trouble and we will pay you.”
We aren’t suggesting that employers stop orienting their employees. Information is power. Your employees need information. So, with the exception of the pontificating employee, by all means, please continue providing employee orientations. But, an employee orientation coupled with a onboarding process is one of the most effective ways to retain your employees.
An onboarding process is a much more robust, individualized, strategic, and relational activity that focuses on helping your employee feel as if they have landed in their occupational home. Usually a Relational Onboarding process takes at least 90 days, while some consultants recommend that the most successful organizations sustain the onboard process for at least a year.
Relational Onboarding involves a series of workshops, meetings, one-on-one conversations, initial collaborative co-working projects, and mentoring that are all designed to help the employee deeply understand the culture of their department, organization, industry, and ultimately how to be successful in their role. During this time employees are introduced to their department, they are given multiple opportunities to ask questions, to make connections, and given ideas about how to prioritize and complete key tasks necessary to their success. Ideally the employee’s manager acts as a facilitator of this process which gives the employee essential face-time with their manager which often results in a greater of manager/employee comfort with conversations and engagement.
The goal of a Relational Onboarding process is to create enough positive relationships and experiences for the employee so that they feel like:
“I am really valued here. I have a great connection with my boss and my co-workers. I am excited about my future here and I believe that people care about me here. I have an amazing team that I work with and I am sure that during my time here I will have the opportunity to do some really great things.”
One of the beautiful aspects about this kind of employee onbaording process is that, while it is always ideal and preferable for an organization to value this essential practice and create formal HR policies around onboarding, in the absence of this ideal, an informal onboarding process can be still be implemented by a good (we believe excellent) manager at the departmental level.
Want to learn more? 2Human Strategies loves helping organizations and managers create robust Relational Onboarding strategies. Contact us for more information.