With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s time for employers to ask an important question: Are your new hires falling in love with their position and the organization?
The reason for the question is that, as happens with any other relationship, new employees don’t always work out. However, when those particular workers part ways with a company, employers tend to blame the employee.
Excuses like “he just wasn't a good fit” are common and serve only to cover up the deeper problem: Maybe that new hire just wasn't that into the onboarding process.
Consider onboarding the dating phase of the hiring process. Both the employee and the organization have decided they like each other. Now, it’s time to create a relationship that will last.
But companies apparently are not impressing new hires. A 2015 ADP survey of almost 1,500 employees, managers and HR professionals found that employees surveyed who said they were “extremely satisfied” with their organization’s onboarding process were almost twice as likely to feel comfortable a year into their employment.
Only 21 percent of employees surveyed, however, were just as satisfied with the onboarding they experienced.
Instead of looking at underperforming new hires and deciding they are the problem, employers need to examine how the shortcomings of their onboarding processes are reflected in employee behavior.
Here are four signs that new hires aren’t head over heels for their new company and why that lapse in love may be an issue with the onboarding process itself:
1. They haven’t made it through all the paperwork yet.
Unfortunately, for many organizations, paperwork -- not training or an introduction to company values -- is the most important part of onboarding. But that doesn’t make it any less boring. And when a mountain of paperwork buries new hires, they end up overwhelmed and disengaged.
If companies want to expedite the process of filling out forms, the first step is making it easier. Instead of having new hires physically write their names, addresses and other information on each document, use software that helps employees fill everything out.
Even better, let new hires work their way through the paperwork at their own pace, wherever they’d like. Referring back to the ADP survey, fewer than 12 percent of employees can go through onboarding forms from a mobile device. Making the process more mobile-friendly enables talent to fill everything out quickly and get to what truly interests them: their job.
2. They’re known only as 'the new guy.'
After the initial introductions, it’s important for managers and other company leaders to continue to foster relationships with new hires. Not only will they feel welcome and supported, but they'll also begin to engage with their position and the organization.
A 2014 TNI survey found that 83 percent of highly engaged employees surveyed reported that their supervisors cared about them. Only 4 percent of disengaged employees felt that way.
So, aside from learning the new guy’s name, take the time to find out who he (or she) is. Then help this person get to know co-workers. Afterall, those are the people the new employee will be spending most of his or her time with.
Make sure that current employees are making an effort, too. Suggest that a seasoned employee take the new hire out for coffee one morning or point out similar interests between new and old employees. Doing so will form stronger connections for new hires and make them feel less isolated in the office.
3. They aren’t asking questions.
Remember that new hires know next to nothing about their surroundings. They ask for clarifications on protocols, how to access important documents and where the closest bathroom is.
If a new employee isn’t full of questions, that’s not a sign he or she has everything under control. In fact, this individual may feel so overwhelmed as to not know where to begin. Or, worse, he or she may feel unable to approach anyone with queries.
The 2015 Gallup State of the American Manager report surveyed more than 14,000 employees and found that 98 percent of employees who felt they couldn’t go to their manager with questions were not engaged.
As a leader, making sure that yours is an open door policy is important for managing all employees, but new hires especially. If new employees don’t feel comfortable going to their superiors with questions, that lapse hurts the onboarding process.
To set the tone for the rest of the employment relationships, managers need to go to new hires and ask if they have questions. That way, the employees will know that asking for help is acceptable and encouraged.
4. They still look lost.
If a new hire has been asking questions and seems to be fitting in with co-workers, but still looks completely lost most of the time, there’s a misalignment somewhere. He or she may still be unsure of what to do, what’s expected or if he or she is doing well, so far.
A 2015 ALEX survey of 400 new hires found that only 39 percent of respondents had a clear understanding of the expectations for them after their first day. After 90 days, only an additional 17.5 percent said they understood expectations.
Never assume that the onboarding process has clearly explained all the information new hires need to be successful. Ask new hires to describe in their own words what their role and responsibilities are within the organization. Also incorporate a two-way street of feedback, so both employees and employers can get onto the same page about how both are performing and how well the onboarding process is working.
Employers can’t just sit around and wait for new hires to "fall in love" with the organization. They need to monitor the onboarding process and check for signs that it’s supporting new employees. Recognizing and addressing problems when they occur will help create a long-lasting, successful employment relationship.
What are some other signs that the onboarding process might be failing new hires? Share in the comments below!