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Beyond orientations: 4 steps to help you retain new staff

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in HR Management,Human Resources

Issue: Many employers run new hires through an orientation process, then instantly start treating them like every other employee.

Risk: Some of these new hires won't assimilate so quickly. Without more "hand holding" they'll jump ship in the early months.

Action: Reach out to rookie staffers in the first few months. Check in often and encourage others to offer help.

by Tracy Koll

When faced with the high cost of new hires, it makes sense to look at your organization's practices once the person is on board. A few well-planned measures can help smooth the transition process and make sure you retain your new employee. Use these four tips yourself or as tools to coach supervisors:

1. Create a welcoming environment. Everyone knows the feeling of being "the new kid on the block." Part of your transition plan should focus on the job's social aspect. Examples:


  • Assign a mentor or "buddy" of whom your new hire can ask questions about the organization's culture.



  • Develop a lunch schedule for the first few weeks so your new hire knows the local eateries and can meet co-workers.



  • Make sure computers, phone, office supplies, etc., are ready on the employee's start date.



  • Call new hires prior to their start dates to discuss how business cards should look. Have them waiting on day one.




2. Check in often. Most HR pros and supervisors are good about checking in on new hires the first week or so. But the critical period extends into the first three months. New employees may be feeling out of their element and may be questioning whether or not they have made the right decision.

Pop in every now and then "just to chat." It can provide reassurance.

Remember, your new hire may be continuing to receive calls from his previous job search. The best employers understand that retention comes from good communication and two-way feedback.

3. Value differences. Your new hire may have a tendency to talk about the way her past employers did things, and you and her supervisors may grow tired of hearing suggestions.

Recognize this exploration period for what it is, and value the ideas that these "fresh set of eyes" can provide. While not all the ideas may be suited to your culture, encourage managers to listen and capture them for possible future use.

As your new hire assimilates to your culture, her outsider perspective will diminish and you may lose the opportunity to capture innovation.

4. Encourage others to offer assistance. Encourage supervisors and co-workers to think back to their "rookie" days and pass along any advice that was particularly helpful or lessons learned from their early experience. By helping new hires assimilate into the organization, you act as a good steward of its resources. Plus, you'll have a positive effect on another person's life.


Tracy Koll is executive vice president of human resources for Kool Smiles P.C., a leading pro-vider of general dentistry to underprivileged children. Prior to her current role, Ms. Koll led the global employee resolution department for The Coca-Cola Company. She can be reached at tkoll@koolsmilespc.com.

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