Do you have new hires dropping off like leaves from a tree in October?

Instead of flinging yourself onto that leaf pile in frustration, start raking in the information from our recent onboarding survey to learn how you can better onboard. In February, we questioned over 1000 people (in the US and currently employed) about their experiences getting new jobs and what was most effective to them.

What seems to be the biggest surprise is that no one seemed to care about free food and extra perks. Less than one percent of our respondents said that would have made a difference to whether they stayed on or left a new job. That strikes me as particularly telling at a time when companies tout their cool cultures with free espresso machines and catered gourmet meals. But that’s not really what matters: New hires want to learn how to do their job and the inner workings of your company. In short, they want to start doing meaningful work and contribute fast!

What can you give new hires so they can be productive quickly?
• On-the-job training (76 percent)
• Review of the company’s policies, such as dress code, time off policy and email (73 percent)
• Review of administrative procedures, such as a touring the facility and setting up computer (59 percent)
• Assignment of an employee “buddy” or mentor (56 percent)

Why are your new hires leaving?
First, we found that new hires want their direct manager to be the one to show them the ropes, not HR or a coworker from their department. Can you show your new hires your commitment to them by making sure they have who they need to be in charge of starting them off on the right foot? 33 percent of respondents wanted their own manager to get them started, while HR trailed behind with 29 percent.

You have a short window to make sure your new hires are happy. In fact, you should still be recruiting them for the first full three months, as people leave in a steady flow (hovering right around 16-17 percent) for the first three months. Are you continuing to recruit that whole time?

But that’s not all. Respondents also gave their reasons for leaving jobs within the first six months of being hired. Their top 3 reasons were:
• They decided the work was something they didn’t want to do anymore. (28 percent)
• Employee thought he was given different work than [he] expected from the interview. (26 percent)
• [The] boss was a jerk. (23 percent)

What does your company have control over?
When you’re developing your onboarding process, make sure to keep in mind the things that will help your new hires stay. Here are some things the companies that lost employees early could have done differently:
• 23 percent of respondents said they wanted to “receiv[e] clear guidelines to what responsibilities were.”
• 21 percent wanted “more effective training.”
• 17 percent said “a friendly smile or helpful coworker would have made all the difference.”

New hires want to be trained, to know what they’re supposed to be doing and they’d like a friendly workplace.

HR: What can you do?
Does your company’s onboarding process have room for improvement? Probably, as only 9 percent of HR thinks their current onboarding process doesn’t need any improvement.

43 percent of HR believes “time and money are wasted because of ineffective onboarding processes.” And how much money? The largest percentage—45 percent of HR—believes they waste more than $10,000 year on faulty onboarding practices.

HR believes they should update their onboarding process by:
• on-the-job training (41 percent)
• create a mentor/buddy program (37 percent)
• update the employee handbook (28 percent)

Yep, sounds like those new hires want to still read through the employee handbook. But let’s update it with shiny new pictures and perhaps consider an e-book as the format of choice, to save a couple trees.

Doing meaningful work still trumps  everything else when new hires come onboard. People take pride in their work first, the other stuff comes later.  52 percent of respondents believe “receiving organized, relevant and well-time content” is the most important aspect of the onboarding process.” And they want a mentor (37 percent) to help them understand the culture, get one-on-one help with new projects and have a place to ask questions.

It’s important to learn from what we—and others—have done in the past so we can do better in the future. That’s why we collected this data and created this infographic. The war for talent is fierce. We’re always working on our onboarding to keep our new hires well beyond those first six months.

Is it time to revamp your onboarding strategy?

infographic

For more detailed information on this onboarding study, check out the survey summary here.