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Why New-Hire Experience Matters, and 6 Things You Need to Do

Why New-Hire Experience Matters, and 6 Things You Need to Do
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Long tenure has been a thing of the past for a while now, but retention still continues to pose a challenge for human resources departments.

Related: How to Retain Millennial Employees Through Workplace Equity

One big reason: Millennials are leaving their employers twice as fast as those from older generations, making the average tenure about three years, according to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics. That doesn’t bode well for organizations, considering tht it can take an average of one year or more for a new hire to reach full productivity, according to Allied HR’s 2012 Workforce Mobility Survey.

Employers need to find better ways to encourage employee retention -- and it all starts with the new-hire experience. Here are six ways to drive retention by creating a better onboarding user:

1. Welcome employees before they even start.

Of the 22 HR practices that the Boston Consulting Group analyzed in 2013, onboarding has the second highest impact on business. That means that what happens during a new hire’s first few weeks on the job impacts the rate at which this employee acclimates and reaches full productivity.

So, welcome new hires with all of the electronic documents they need before they even start: information on the new role, action items, company policies and more. Use a customizable template to streamline the process, too.

From Day 1, allow employees to see what’s happening in the company announcement space or feed, if your company uses a social platform. In that same space, introduce new employees to all coworkers and teams.

2. Allow employees to manage their own profiles.

Letting employees manage the information HR commonly requires will help give them a sense of autonomy from the start. Consider adopting a modern system that stores in each employee's personal profile all data, from goals and benefits to employee birthdays and areas of specialty. Choose a system that allows employees to make updates and allows HR to easily pull up customized reports.

Related: 4 Ways to Build a Company Employees Just Don't Want to Quit

3. Automate benefits sign-up.

Traditionally, benefits sign-up can be a hassle, involving a lot of back-and-forth between each employee and HR. Offer employees a modern experience allowing them to enroll themselves for benefits online. Provide benefits education to help guide them as they decide which options are right for them.

From there, HR can automatically enroll employees with carriers, using electronic data interchange (EDI) feeds, which allow for the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents.

4. Connect through mobile.

An overwhelming 91 percent of employees surveyed said they believed that lack of communication hindered leaders’ effectiveness (the March survey, by Harris Poll on behalf of Interact, covered 1,000 U.S. workers).

Stay in touch with new hires throughout the onboarding process by using a mobile-enabled platform. With a mobile platform, those new employees can contact co-workers with questions while on the go. They can also view team information and keep up with key happenings, using an integrated team calendar -- all via their mobile device.

5. Simplify document storage and accessibility.

New hires depend on a number of resources, from employee handbooks to forms and contact lists, to help them learn the ropes. Make these resources readily available 24/7 by storing them on a cloud server and providing access to them through staffers' personal profiles. This way, they'll always have access to what they need, when they need it.

6. Solicit ongoing feedback through custom surveys.

The beginning of a new hire’s journey is a critical time, and the less informed managers are about their experience, the more they and the company will be at a disadvantage.

Assess engagement early by soliciting feedback from new hires through custom surveys. Administer self-assessments, request feedback on the company culture and encourage peer feedback to provide a complete view of how new hires are doing.

Short on time? Choose a system that administers surveys automatically and collects results that reveal key insights. The sooner managers know about issues, the sooner they can address them -- before new hires duck out.

What are some other ways organizations can provide a better onboarding experience to retain new hires?

Related: How Not to Alienate Your Employees (Hint: Don't Hire From the Outside)