These days, company loyalty from a Millennial is as rare as getting a phone call from a Millennial. However, your organization's onboarding process could be the differentiator needed to solidify Millennial loyalty once and for all.
When a guest walks into a hotel for the first time, the atmosphere, attention to detail, efficiency, and attitude of the staff, all play a crucial first impression role that will determine the long-term loyalty of that guest.
In the same way, the onboarding process offers fertile ground to instill the excitement and passion needed for a Millennial to settle in for a long-term career. The first couple weeks of a Millennial's employment largely determines their career trajectory with the company.
There is no doubt that the below onboarding tips will take time and effort to implement but they will ultimately save you time on the back-end from recruiting and interviewing for the positions Millennials leave because they didn't feel welcomed and accepted at the organization.
8 Useful Ways to Retain Millennials with Better Onboarding
1. Tactful Timing
Send a pre-first day email or text to the new Millennial hire that highlights the organization's excitement and what to expect when it comes to attire, parking, and the day's agenda. Since employee energy levels are typically higher later in the week, consider starting the new hire on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. Start the new hire's day after 10:00 am. This allows ample time for the new hire to find their way to work and the current employees to address urgent items before the new hire arrives.
2. Engage Employees
Ask current employees, who have worked for the organization for less than two years, what they wish they were told or did during the onboarding process and integrate it. Stress to existing employees the importance of a warm welcome to new hires. In addition, schedule a time for the new hire to connect with at least one company leader.
3. Give Gear
Nothing communicates "we forgot you were starting today" than not having the new hire's gear ready. Ensure all company-issued hardware and devices are live and pre-loaded with the new hire's favorite utility applications. Surprise them with some super sweet company branded swag. The quirkier and more unique the better. This can help the new hire to begin identifying with the company.
4. Create Customization
Thanks to the Internet, Millennials grew up in an age of customization where they personalized their shoes, shirts, and cars. Lean into this expectation and allow the new hire to customize their workspace, devices, and/or work applications. You can learn a lot about the new hire during this customization process. In addition, provide preprinted business cards with their name on it. This will help the Millennial see and feel that they are a part of the team.
5. Explain Expectations
Millennials need and want to know exactly how you want them to perform. Providing a clear introduction and overview of their job will go a long way. Provide dos and don'ts when it comes to communication, leadership, work hours, vacation, etc. After onboarding, the Millennial should have a basic understanding of the following: culture, values and vision, roles and responsibilities, opportunities and promotions, training and safety, and ethics/accountability.
6. Accent Advancement
One of the top reasons Millennials leave organizations is due to the lack of career opportunities. Get an early jump on this issue by highlighting the necessary steps for advancement within the organization. Clearly identify their options and the necessary timelines for promotions. One company in particular, provides each new hire with a living plant to resemble their growth with the organization. The perceived growth of existing employee's plants is a living (literally) example of the organization's commitment to advancement.
7. Communicate Culture
Provide a "New Hire Handbook" that includes insights from employees, close places to eat or grab a beer, transit options, attire no-nos, recreation options, etc. Consider a new hire scavenger hunt as a way to get to know the office, people, and the culture. Keep in mind that Millennials get Millennials so use recent Millennial hires when possible to provide these tours. Having the company values and vision embodied by the employees and displayed throughout the physical workspace will help to clearly communicate the company culture.
8. End Energetically
Many onboarding processes can drag on and on and lead to a new hire burnout. Not a good first impression. Instead end with energy. Use a social event or activity to signify the completion of the process. Or provide a tangible reward that can serve as a right of passage into the organization. Oddly, Zappos offers $2,000 after orientation for folks to NOT take the job.
Infuse a few of these onboarding tips and not only will your Millennial new hires show up eager to work but they might bring their roommates as well.
(This is 1 of the 47 strategies Ryan shares in his new book, The Millennial Manual: The Complete How-To Guide to Manage, Develop, and Engage Millennials at Work.)