By Mattson Newell, senior partner at Partners in Leadership

The battle for a roster of A+ employees is raging strong. With current unemployment rates in the United States hovering under 4 percent, organizations are ramping up recruiting and marketing efforts, even increasing employee benefits, all to distinguish their organization from the rest.

These efforts go a long way toward standing out from the competition, but what happens on day one -- after a job candidate decides to join your team?

A new employee shows up to a new company; company swag at the new workspace awaits and a team lunch. Sound familiar? These experiences are a great start, but not nearly enough to create loyalty, drive passion, and utilize all of the strengths of a new team member.

It is no surprise that study after study shows that anywhere between 20 percent to 30 percent of new employees leave an organization in the first 90 days on the job.

What should you do differently? Here are three impactful onboarding experiences to guide your new hire from job applicant to loyal employee.

1. Connect the onboarding experience to the recruiting experience

The new employee passes your demanding, world-class recruiting experience with numerous interviews, projects to complete, questions to answer, and people to meet. Companies do a great disservice to the new employee if they don't connect back to that experience by letting the person meet everyone he or she talked to over the phone and having them share feedback on how the new employee stood out as the strongest candidate.

Global recruiting expert Robert Merrill shared this:

The ghosts of HR people and corporate attorneys will haunt me for saying this, but candidates want to know how they actually stack up! If you have developed an unbiased, data-driven, standardized interview process, this should not be too much of a problem. I try to ditch the HR-speak and talk candidly with them about how they truly did at each step of the process.

This feedback is essential in helping an employee adjust to the new culture as well as develop and grow in the new role. It also shapes the belief that they will be coached and developed along the way.

2. Connect to your workplace culture

The importance of integrating the onboarding process with your workplace culture cannot be overstated. You want to make sure job candidates and new hires know exactly what they are getting into from the first interview all the way through their first day on the job as they begin the onboarding process.

From the first day at LinkedIn, employees join other new hires to learn about the company culture together. They are given the opportunity to discuss their experiences and ask questions. This is followed by a LinkedIn campus tour and lunch, and then a session called, "Investing [in] You" that covers corporate, medical, and financial benefits. Next, executives stop by to meet the new hires. They are given their swag, tech, and a New Hire Onboarding Roadmap, a week-by-week guide for the first few months on how to succeed at LinkedIn.

A critical part of connecting new employees to the company culture is connecting their role and expectations to company results. Discuss how their daily actions directly impact the business and what you've set out to achieve. Help them identify how important and crucial their role is, and you'll likely see their engagement and ownership skyrocket.

3. Connect to their passions

In the 1950s, Bubble Wrap was first invented as a new kind of wallpaper. Luckily for the company (and for us), it realized the product didn't quite fit as wallpaper. Instead of throwing it out, the company repurposed it as packing material to keep things safe.

Too often we hire wallpaper, and don't tap into the Bubble Wrap potential that might be under the surface.

From day one, have real conversations with your new hires around what they are passionate about. Ask employees what their career goals are and where they see themselves in five to 10 years. What you uncover from these conversations is a deep reservoir of talent, interests, and purpose--all invaluable to your organization for capitalizing on the strengths of your people.

Once you have these conversations, work with new hires to find opportunities for them to connect to their passions, their interests, and their desired career path. When they see a clear path to fulfilling their passions and their goals within your organization, they no longer have reason to look elsewhere.

Apply the 80/20 rule

In Lazlo Bock's book Work Rules!: Insights From Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead, the former head of people for Google shares how the company front-loads people investment, with 80 percent of its time focused on recruitment and onboarding. After that, Google turns employees loose.

"Google hires and onboards smart people, and then lets the 'inmates run the asylum,'" Bock writes.

Be confident that you, too, can turn your employees loose by building out a world-class onboarding program, one that helps your new employees connect to their recruiting experience, connect to your culture, and connect to their passion.

Published on: May 9, 2019
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