Being the new kid is never easy. Stepping into unfamiliar territory where friendships, cliques, and hierarchies are in place can feel like being a teenager all over again. Except you're not fifteen and high school was a long time ago. So why is it that starting a new job can make you feel like the outcast?

A company without an onboarding strategy is always susceptible to high employee turnover. When someone starts out feeling excluded, it creates resentment from the get-go. It's no wonder that forty-percent of new employees leave their job within the first six months. 

Leadership is about empathy, support, and guidance. This needs to start from day one. In order to create a positive corporate culture and a strong team unit, leaders have to be proactive and present in the onboarding process.

So if you've been experiencing a high turnover for new hires, it could be because you're committing the following three offenses:

1. You throw everything at them at once.

Just because a person has an Ivy league education and ten years of experience doesn't mean they're going to know exactly what to do the minute they walk through the door. Every company is different, so allow them a grace period to ease into the role.

The last thing you want to do is overwhelm them (because chances are, they already will be). New names to remember, new systems to learn, and new relationships to build. If it sounds like a lot, it's because it is. 

This is especially important if they're entry-level. Start out with small projects and start adding on as the weeks progress. Do regular check-ins to see how they're doing. This will prevent them from hitting panic mode and heading out the door.

2. You didn't involve your staff in the hiring decision.

When you keep the rest of the staff in the dark, it's unfair to everyone -- especially the new hire. The biggest mistake a leader can make is to set the person up as an imposition. 

Not everyone wants the task of training the newbie on top of everything else they have to do. It's a big job, so don't just assume it'll get done, or that people will be happy to do it.

Things get especially complicated if your current staff are now reporting to a new superior that they weren't prepared for. There needs to be total transparency whenever you're about to make a job posting.

Involve the team as much as you can. Ask for their input on what the job description should be, have them pick out resumes, and invite them to sit in on interviews. The more they're involved, the more they'll be excited over new hires, rather than annoyed. 

3. You forget about them. 

Recruiting, interviewing, and deciding on who to hire is a big job. It can take months to find the right person who possesses both professional experience and cultural fit. But your job isn't done just because they've signed the contract.

If you've been the constant contact through the interview process then just disappear, they'll feel abandoned. No one's asking you to hold their hand, but leaders have to be present and ensure new employees receive the support needed during those first few weeks of the gig. 

Dropping an employee manual on their desk and creating a new email address is not an onboarding strategy. Inclusion is the foundation of leadership, which is why it's up to the executives and hiring managers to ensure everyone feels accepted from the start.

Published on: Nov 4, 2017