Protect Your Investment: Getting The New Hire Experience Right

Your HR team has just hired the latest recruit to join the organization. As the most senior leader in charge of ensuring all positions are filled quickly in order to avoid any disruption to operations, you breathe a sigh of relief and jump to the next task on your never-ending “must do” list. Feeling confident that the new person will plug a hole so you can focus on more pressing matters, you assume all details will be adequately addressed by the hiring manager and HR team in preparation for the new employee’s arrival. Not so fast.

Perhaps you’d be surprised to know these startling statistics according to a survey by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). Thirty three percent of approximately 1,000 respondents said they had quit a job within the first three months. Twenty three percent of those who chose to leave within the first six months said “receiving clear guidelines to what my responsibilities were” would have helped them stay on the job. Twenty-one percent said they wanted “more effective training,” 17 percent said “a friendly smile or helpful co-worker would have made all the difference,” 12 percent said they wanted to be “recognized for their unique contributions,” and 9 percent said they wanted more attention from the “manager and co-workers.” About one-third of the new hires who had quit said they had barely any onboarding or none at all, and 15 percent of respondents noted that lack of an effective onboarding process contributed to their decision to quit.

Conversely, 69 percent of employees are likely to stay with their employer for three years if they experienced a great onboarding. In fact, organizations that have a standard onboarding process experience 50 percent greater new hire retention. These statistics; along with the fact that the organizational costs of employee turnover are estimated to average 150 percent of the replaced employee’s salary, offer a significant wake up call to leaders like you who can only benefit from taking a closer look at how to help your organization avoid being another preventable statistic.

If your new employee is going to quit within the first year, chances are great that they’ve made their decision to do so based most heavily upon their experience within the first few weeks on the job. This means it is more important than ever to engage with them meaningfully and thoughtfully from day one (and even earlier). There is a direct correlation between offering an effective onboarding program and employee turnover, which is perhaps the most costly yet preventable expense to organizations everywhere. If you’re wondering how to offer your new hires an experience that will get them integrated quickly into your operations and culture, check out these key elements of a new hire onboarding experience done right.

  • Start before their first day. Instead of bombarding and boring your new hire with paperwork and forms on their first day, enable them to complete all of the time-sucking standard paperwork ahead of time in the comfort of their own home. Have their new boss call to welcome and tell them what to expect in their first days on the job. Taking this unexpected and meaningful step will go a long way in making your new employee feel welcomed while decreasing their first-day jitters.
  • Keep it simple on day one. Your objective for day one should be to give your new hire a positive experience that leaves them excited and wanting more. Cover all of the must-know basics like where to park, where the restrooms are located, and where the break room can be found. Introduce them to a mentor who will serve as their go-to person who will take them under their wing. Take them to lunch with their new team. Knowing they have a friendly face to go to with questions, concerns, or casual conversation will help them to feel secure early on.
  • Be purposeful in your approach. Share your organization’s strategy in an understandable way, and tie it into how they can achieve success in their role. Most employees have little understanding of how their role ties into the overall mission of the company, which leads to a lack of connectedness and inefficiency. Give them clear goals to reach throughout their first year, and check in on them often to celebrate their progress and offer support.
  • Invest in their development throughout the year. Offer them training and job shadowing opportunities. Invite them to meetings and make them feel like they can be a part of the conversation early on. Often, it’s those with the greenest perspective that can see things the most clearly. Schedule opportunities for them to share their feedback regularly.

Best of luck in avoiding another new-hire casualty through the development of a thoughtful approach. Happy hiring!

Elizabeth P. Cipolla SPHR, SHRM-SCP is a leadership communications professional specializing in the areas of leadership training, creative recruitment strategies, employment branding, professional development and executive coaching for over 15 years. Her leadership experience comes from various industries including marketing, mass media, apparel, education, manufacturing, aerospace, nonprofit agencies and insurance. To contact Elizabeth, email her at

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