I clearly remember where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with when I got the call from iCIMS about the role that I now hold at iCIMS. I had invested months of precious time and energy researching the company and talking with people about the job, and I worked hard to prove I was worthy! Both my hiring manager and I were excited. I couldn’t wait to start!
After I signed my offer letter, I received a welcome message from iCIMS Talent Acquisition Team Lead. In the message, he said he was very excited for me to start and was looking forward to meeting me. The friendly message was accompanied by links to iCIMS New Hire Onboarding Portal. The Portal containing more information about the company and all the required onboarding paperwork, such as W4 and I-9.Years ago, this onboarding paperwork would have taken the entire first day on the job to complete. It is amazing how technology has improved this process. Before I even started new employee orientation, I was “engaged.” I completed the onboard paperwork in record time, I learned a more about the company, and even made a new friend!
Recent studies show that engaging employees during onboarding helps the new hire get up to speed faster and be more productive from day one. Furthermore, engaged employees tend to stay at a company longer. Unfortunately, studies also show that few employees are actually engaged at work. Most likely, these people are spending work hours looking for another job. With all the research and talk about employee engagement, I got to thinking about all the reasons people leave their jobs.
When it comes down to it, retention and engagement are mainly about emotional and/or psychological connections the employee develops with the company and its products, the work the employee does, and the employee’s coworkers, including the boss. Linking engagement and retention to emotional and psychological connections may sound rather challenging, but it’s not. Actually, as you read on, you will see that it is the little things that help new hires develop deep connections.
The Hiring Manager and the Talent/HR team are responsible for ensuring that employees begin developing connections from day one. Developing connections early on will help to ensure that employees stay connected. Here are a few ideas the talent team and hiring managers can implement to build new hire’s connections to the company:
Roll out the Red Carpet
On my first day at my very first real job, my desk was all set up with a stapler, pens, pads, etc., but the best part was the vase full of flowers with a personalized note from my boss. (Connection to my boss, check.) If you not the flower type, there are other ways for a manager to connect with the new hire. For example, before the new hire starts, send an email to the new hire and the current employees with whom the new hire will be working introducing the new hire, explaining the new hire’s role within the company. Encourage the current employees to reply welcoming the new hire. When the new hire meets the current employees in person, they will already have established a connection. The manager may also consider invite a few close coworkers out to lunch with the new hire during the first week to facilitate interaction.
Tell a Story
Employees want to connect with the organization’s culture. They want to be able to tell their friends all about their “work family.” Part of that connection comes from learning the company’s history. For example, years ago when I started at Chase Manhattan Bank, we learned that the company’s founder, Aaron Burr, started the bank in 1799 to compete with another bank that was run by Alexander Hamilton. The two were fierce political rivals and Burr ending up killing Hamilton in a duel. The gun that Burr used was actually on display in the corporate headquarters! Not every company has such dramatic beginnings, but every company got its start somehow! iCIMS CEO, Colin Day, personally tells new hires the story of how he founded the company, and they all say it’s the best part of the whole orientation. (Connection to my company, check.)
Tell them how they fit in
In order to feel like our work is meaningful, many of us need to see how our efforts contribute to the overall success of the company. When we are starting a new job, we naturally want to put our best foot forward and prove that we were the right choice. Sharing the overall strategy of the company and discussing how your department contributes to the success is a great way to open the dialogue about the importance of the individual’s role to the organization. Reiterate the key objectives and priorities of the person’s job. Schedule a meeting specifically to provide the opportunity to clarify the organizational vision as well as the hiring manager’s expectations for performance. (Connection to my role, check.)
As you can see, there are countless opportunities to connect at all stages of the employee’s experience. These recommendations are not expensive or difficult, but they help to engage the employee early in their employment. You must make connecting with employees a priority. If you connections a priority, you will be able to enjoy the successes of a fully engaged team.