If your company is like two thirds of organizations around the world, your new-hire process probably focuses more on getting through an administrative to-do list than ensuring new employees are given the best chance to succeed. After a short period of basic orientation, they’re pretty much left to their own devices and expected to start adding value as quickly as possible. This sets many new hires up for mediocrity at best and failure at worst. And the more senior the hire, the greater their potential fall and its impact on your business. It’s hard to believe that so many organizations still take this approach, particularly in billable industries such as law, where talent acquisition has become so competitive.
I often discuss this phenomenon with my clients. Most recently, I chatted to Dorianna Phillips, Director of Lawyer Recruiting at Stoel Rives about it. Dorianna is a great friend, a brilliant client, and a true change-maker in the area of employee integration and retention, and she had some wonderful insights to share. In this article, we’ll look at link between employee integration and retention, before exploring the concept in more detail.
The undeniable link between employee integration and retention
Recruiting high performers is a long-term game – a courtship if you like. We know that money isn’t everything to those earn above a certain amount. They’re looking for opportunities to learn and grow within a warm and friendly culture. And younger employees are starting to expect this too. Millennials and Generation Z are passionate about what they do, they want to feel valued and challenged, and they want to see how their work fits into the bigger picture.
So, HR teams and hiring managers spend a lot of time, money and energy wooing potential new hires. They make a lot of promises and eventually, if they’re successful, they have a new hire to train, integrate and retain.
“It’s at this point,” explains Dorianna, “that we’re tempted to view onboarding and retention management as two separate things. After 3 -5 days of mind-numbing inductions and IT set up, the ‘onboarding’ stops and the ‘retention’ starts. Unfortunately, retention activities often only crop up every 3, 6 or 12 months, by which time it’s way too late to change an employee’s first impressions of your company.”
She’s right. You never get a second chance at first impressions. Did you know that 22% of turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment, and a senior employee typically decides within the first 30 days whether your company is home or not? Once they decide it’s not, they’ll be out of there faster than you can say “two weeks’ notice required during probation”. It’s a pity that so many great people slip through the cracks.
Integration is easier to achieve than you think
Employee integration is a long-term approach that turns the short-sighted ‘onboarding’ process into a powerful, practical strategy for retaining employees. Employee integration starts on day one, evolves as the employee settles in, and continues until the employee leaves your organization. It ensures that they feel valued, supported and challenged every day.
“So many companies bring in new hires, give them some training, and then hope they’ll stay,” says Dorianna. “We shouldn’t be hoping they’ll stay – we should be ensuring they’ll stay. And it really isn’t that difficult – you simply need to give them the access to the right people, tools and processes to ensure they feel valued over the long term.”
What does an employee integration strategy include?
Well, it’ll be different for every organization, but our clients have seen great results from including the following:
- Connecting employees with mentors and coaches who can provide guidance and support. In the case of senior hires, a peer liaison is a great resource for learning how to deal with key stakeholders, and highlighting any unspoken rules.
- Ensuring that the relevant people make time to introduce themselves to the new hire, ideally in person or over the phone.
- Scheduling regular coffee breaks with co-workers to help the new recruit build relationships.
- Inviting new recruits and their partner out to lunch or dinner with senior stakeholders.
- Ensuring they’re invited to join relevant interest groups, as well as any diversity and inclusion committees.
“Making time to schedule these activities shows that your organization really cares,” says Dorianna. “Sometimes, especially when people are busy, they forget these simple acts of kindness. All the HR team needs to do is find a way to remind them just how important and impactful these little things are – and that’s what an employee integration process is designed to do.”
If it’s not measured, it’s not managed
Many organizations fail to implement employee integration processes because they have no way to measure them. As we all know, things that aren’t measured take a definite back seat to things that are – especially at work.
Tracking the progress of an employee’s integration, i.e. what tasks have been completed, and by whom, gives HR the power to manage the process – improving it over time, and providing additional training and support as needed.
Eventually, as everyone learns how to make new recruits feel welcome and included, great employee integration will become an integral part of company culture and you’ll see a decrease in attrition rates.
Automate the process to make it easier to follow and manage
The key to ensuring the adoption of any new process is to make as simple as possible. The more complicated and time consuming it is, the less likely people are to follow it. Dorianna’s team used to manage their firm’s employee integration process in Excel: a highly manual and time-consuming process.
We worked with several HR leaders, including Dorianna, to create an intuitive piece of software that would automate much of this process.
vi by Aderant’s Employee Integration and Retention solution enables HR teams to set up new integration programs in a third of the time previously required. Once a program is set up:
- It automatically sends calendar invites to relevant stakeholders.
- It tracks the completion of tasks, giving the team instant visibility into each new recruit’s progress.
- It allows for a more holistic, objective and consistent approach to employee reviews – highlighting red flags quickly.
The software makes the entire process much easier to manage and measure. “It saves us a ton of time, which equates to dollars, but it also improves the employee experience, keeps our firm happy and healthy, and increases productivity,” explains Dorianna.
And that’s what it’s we’re all about: keeping your people healthy, happy and productive by giving them a great employee experience. It’s time to stop losing great people to poor employee experiences.
Want to learn more?
We’d love to take you through a short demonstration of our Employee Integration and Retention solution. To book a time, just follow the link below and leave your details.