Talent Retention Begins at "Welcome Aboard!"
We think of talent retention as keeping good people on board, and it is, but the time to start working on retaining top talent is before they even begin. In fact, the moment they say "I accept" and commit to joining your company is the time to begin thinking about how to keep them. The transition period leading up to their first day on the job is quite possibly the most critical in shaping how they feel about the company, for it's during this time that they're the most impressionable as they have their first exposure to the new policies, structure, and culture.
Bring them into the fold
The period between being hired and starting is a vulnerable one for a new hire. It's an exciting and scary time. They may have second thoughts about their decision. They'll likely feel uneasy about leaving their familiar and stable work family for a new, unknown one. They may even receive a counteroffer from their current employer which can put doubts in their head. The sooner you make them feel comfortable, like part of the team, the more they'll be at ease and confident about their decision and chances of success.
Make them feel welcome
It's important to keep in contact with your new staff members during the transition period. Virtual introductions to their new work environment are a great way to start, including introductions to staff member and colleagues, as well as "Day in the Life" videos. Have a work mentor connect with them so they can get to know each other in advance of the first day. A lunch or casual after-work drink will go a long way towards establishing a rapport and mentee-mentor relationship.
Make the first day count
Spending your first morning at a new job filling out paperwork and shuttling around to HR and other offices are not getting things off on the best foot. Take care of as much of this in advance as possible. Send onboarding paperwork and materials during the transition period so the new hire can walk in and be ready to meet the rest of the team and go through their orientation. When you send them these materials, include some fun company swag with it. A company branded T-shirt, pen, coffee mug, and a water bottle can be fun and make them feel like a part of the company. Don't forget to send some of their new business cards too. Seeing their name on s business card can go a long way towards making them feel welcomed.
Embrace them into the team
Bringing a new hire on board can be a great team-building experience. Introduce them internally as well as on social media. In addition to their mentor, assign someone on their team to be a point person, someone who can help them learn their way around quickly and answer their questions, from where they can find staples to which are the best lunch spots in the neighborhood. This not only helps the new hire feel a part of the team but helps the team embrace the new member.
Remember that there's more to the onboarding process than the first day or even first month. Stay available and visible. Check with the new employee from time to time to answer questions and monitor their progress and assimilation into the company. Keep in touch with their manager, mentor, and point person for the first six to twelve months. By developing and implementing an early and comprehensive onboarding plan, you'll find that employee satisfaction and retention rates will rise.