Recruiting, hiring and training new employees is difficult and expensive. There is nothing more disappointing than losing a new hire, and up to 20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days. Employee turnover seems to accelerate with the economy: demand for talent means more opportunity for employees, including yours.
As a manager, how do you keep your new hires? How do you onboard or integrate them into your company and culture, so that they can contribute to your team’s success?
The key is to get started now: don’t wait for an annual review to find out how your employee is doing. Refocus on the needs of each new employee – needs that extend beyond competitive pay and great benefits. Pay and perks matter, of course, but employees who feel valuable stay.
Think Differently About the New Hire Process
To hang on to your great new employee, you’ll need to offer more than training and an initial company orientation. You’ll want to:
- Make your employee feel like a valuable, contributing member of your team.
- Understand and manage their expectations.
- Uncover potential problems.
So how do you do this quickly, without waiting for problems to arise?
By adding a series of exploratory conversations and key questions into your new hire process, you can gain insights into your new employee. Find out what they like (or don’t) about their new position, learn about their expectations, and solve budding problems quickly.
Ask These 10 Key Questions
Meet with your new hire between 20 and 45 days after their start date. You want to give them enough time to form an impression, but not enough to fix their opinions. Begin the conversation by letting the new employee know that you are happy to have them, that their input is valuable to you, and that open and honest feedback is appreciated.
Next, start asking the questions below that fit your situation; there are many questions you can ask an employee, choose the ones that resonate with you:
- What’s going well so far? Describe some of your best experiences.
Start the conversation on a positive, energizing note, you will learn what the employee enjoys, which provides insight into the employee’s strengths and interests.
- Is this role what you thought it would be? How has it differed from your initial expectations?
Different is not bad, but the answer will provide an opportunity to manage expectations, correct any missed expectations and clear up questions in regards to the role responsibilities.
- Are you experiencing any challenges in particular than I can assist you with?
The answer gives you the opportunity to show the new employee that you are a resource – that you care about them enough to find out what items they are struggling with. Change course as needed, and consider future training needs.
- Do you have enough time to do your work? Do you have too much or too little time?
A new hire can be overwhelmed or underwhelmed with their work load, and both can be an issue. Gauging an employee’s time versus workload can help you to provide more assignments or reassign tasks.
- How can I help you learn and improve? How can the organization support your growth and success?
Employees want to feel like they are being invested in, and that they have a clear path towards development. Be prepared to follow up with action. If you don’t, you can build false expectations and cause disappointment.
- Do you feel you have the information, tools, and resources you need to do your job successfully?
Empower the new hire to succeed; nothing is worse than having talent wasted because they did not have enough information, the right tools or know the right resources to help them succeed early and often in their new role.
- Are you comfortable asking questions about work? Whom do you ask? Are there any introductions I can make?
Connections and networks in the workplace are pivotal to employee engagement and success. These questions pinpoint which employees can be influential in retaining the new hire and if you can help strengthen the relationships between the new hire and other team members.
- Are you feeling comfortable within the organization in general? Do you feel like you have a good understanding of your role within the organization?
Clarification of the role is important. If a new hire does not know what their role is, the expectations of the role and how it fits in to the organization at large, the employee is not going to feel as connected, engaged, or successful.
- Is our organization’s mission clear, and do you see how your job supports that mission?
Whether the employee can already see the relation or if further clarification is needed, this is your opportunity to talk about purpose: the purpose of the company and purpose of the role.
- Do you have any suggestions for, or do you see any weaknesses in specific systems, processes, and procedures that the organization can improve?
Fresh eyes can uncover ideas that will help you improve operations and become a better manager. This question represents a great opportunity for a new hire to feel they are contributing to improvement.
At the end, give your employee a chance to ask you a few questions. Remind the employee that your door is always open for feedback or to answer questions on any matter.
Don’t jot down answers and walk away. Once you’ve got honest feedback from your employee, take action! You don’t have to act on every request, but acting on a few of them shows that you care about your employee and their input.
By taking the time to ask these key questions you can gauge whether an employee is comfortable, happy and engaged. You’re providing a wealth of opportunities: for the new hire to be heard, for you to change course, to recognize the employee’s early contributions, and to help the employee see his or her future within the company.