How Onboarding Can Secure New Tech Hires Before They Even Start
There’s a HR tactic that’s been around since the 1970s helping organisations motivate, train, and retain new hires into their business helping to avoid bad hires or having to restart the recruitment process again.
That method is onboarding and for tech companies this is often the most important time in their relationship with a new employee.
Why is onboarding important?
Please, don’t get us started on why this is important, because we might not ever shut up about it. We can quote countless anecdotal instances when the failure of an organisation to engage with a candidate has meant candidates dropping out before they even join. It could also be because they have received a better offer, but even so, commencing the onboarding process and including candidates in the conversation before they start can diminish the odds of a candidate walking before getting to the starting line, whatever the reason.
Job statistics show that almost 50% of all senior managers fail within the first 18 months of a new role. And it is reflected in everyday tech hires too, with 33% of new employees quitting in the first 90 days.
The unwritten rule for new hires is usually that they have around 90 days to prove themselves worthy to the organisation they have joined. So it makes sense to help them feel as comfortable, welcomed and valued as soon as possible.
Besides, it costs to restart the recruitment process, for everyone involved. Even when an IT recruiter receives full payment on a new hire when a candidate quits (or is terminated), and gets the same again for replacing them, we’d all agree that there is more satisfaction gained for helping place a long-term employee than multiple short-term replacements.
Why do people leave?
There are more reasons for a tech hire to leave their position than words in this blog, but there are some that recur again and again:
Personal differences – Candidates can often make employment decisions based on the chemistry between them and their prospective manager. While this is often a good thing, it should never be the main reason for either party to hire. Often managers move on and are replaced by people who weren’t part of the recruitment process. Differences with other members of the team might also be cited.
Company culture – A large percentage of also cite the company environment or culture as the reason to leave. The fact that many organisations still see their company culture being either what is written in their mission statement or how they view it can be misleading for an organisation. Company culture can and should be measured to ensure that the culture written in the business plan is reflected in the departments, teams, managers and employees. Corporate culture is not what the boss thinks it is or would like it to be. Company culture should be objectively measured.
Role requirements – No matter what is discussed about the role in an interview, a candidate will nearly always have an alternative version of what that actually means in practice. Yes, sometimes a hiring manager might not be clear enough on the scope or details of the role, or that it might be one that is going to change over time. But, if it isn’t clear and unambiguous to the new employee, they may yet become quickly disenfranchised.
Onboarding starts the moment the offer is made
Within HR it is generally agreed that the best practice for onboarding is to start as soon as possible. That means onboarding should begin right after the candidate is offered the role.
Research has shown that the quicker a new employee experiences a consistent, thorough and welcoming approach from their new employer, the quicker they will hit the ground running and show the signs of employee engagement IT Managers love.
Clearly, if the long term goal of hiring new employees is retention, then they must embrace and engage that candidate as soon as possible, laying the foundations for future unflappable loyalty.
We’ve seen organisations be proactive in this. Some even taking their new hires out on company days or informal work nights before they have started to help them integrate into the team. And you know what? It works.
Effective onboarding strategies
When an organisation tries to onboard an employee then both the big and small issues matter. Firstly, those big things, like orienteering the business premises, the company manual, getting up to speed on company best practice etc., but the small things are often more important.
While appearing to be small matters like being greeted warmly at reception, having a desk, chair and equipment that works properly, having a lunch partner, meeting the CEO and having clear instructions on what their workload is, can be effective strategies in retaining new hires. While much of this is dictated by company culture, it should also be managed by the new hire’s immediate manager.
Pre-boarding isn’t just a buzzword. In itself it is effective at ensuring what comes next (the first day) is more productive in retaining a new hire. Preboarding opens up the dialogue between organisation and new employee before their start date and starts the engagement.
It can be used to complete and set up formalities that waste an employee’s first day on the job. Documentation and form filling for payroll, email addresses background checks and administration can be completed beforehand.
The first day
Making their first day run smooth, fun, friendly and educational can go a long way in cementing the long-term relationship between a new hire and the organisation. If all the boring stuff like admin and form filling has been achieved prior to joining, it means more time to get to know colleagues, procedure and orienteering a new location.
Training & support
When a new employer invests in their employees it has been shown that over 90% of them immediately become more loyal. Improving skills, going on courses and ongoing training should serve to enforce a company culture of talent support, but also demonstrate career development opportunities.
Not all hires need mentoring, but having a system in place to help guide and form internal working relationships through mentoring is usually beneficial for the organisation both short and long-term. Matching a new hire to a suitable mentor will help new hires (especially junior ones) understand company culture.
Apart from highlighting stress and happiness in the workplace, it also allows for networking to start, which can help new employees reach out and access advice and support from many other sources within the organisation. And any employee that feels truly part of something is less likely to part ways down the road.
How do you know whether a new hire is sinking or swimming? Easy, ask them. When an organisation provides the facility for feedback, consistent and non-threatening, it enables employees to ensure they are always engaged and their experience is positive. Compulsory check-ins will highlight whether employees’ experience is matching their expectations.
Onboarding: The takeaway
The quicker a new hire is prepared for their new role, the quicker they’ll become a functioning, valued and contributing member of the team.
New hires are a costly, time-consuming process, so ensuring that they stay long enough to provide significant benefit for the organisation is critical to the smooth running of any tech businesses. th the help of a certified PEO, like Propel HR. By partnering with a PEO, small businesses.
Onboarding is a proven strategy to help tech companies provide a system for managing that process, maximising the time-limited opportunity to engage with and motivate a new hire.
Strategies like preboarding, and ongoing skills investment, mentoring and feedback opportunities are all key in shaping the experience of new employees, helping to make them a long-term employee and not a failed non-starter.