What New Employees Want During Onboarding

What do new employees want during their first days and weeks at a new job? What do they want during onboarding? First of all, they probably want you to not call it “onboarding.” Initial employee training can make or break an employee’s overall experience with your company: that initial experience shouldn’t feel like a crash course in human resources lingo and paperwork. A recent study found that 86% of new hires decide whether to stay or leave a company during the first six months of employment. Further, 69% of employees are more likely to stay longer than 3 years with effective onboarding.

So, what do new employees want during onboarding? They want to be talked into staying with your company for a while. Here are some specifics on how you can accomplish that in the first days, weeks, and months following a new hire.

On the first day of work, a new employee wants to feel welcomed. Think back to all those first days of school, and what you were concerned with. Anyone who has been a new employee recently can vouch that the necessities are pretty much the same. You want to know: where to go, when to go there, where to sit, what to eat for lunch, and where you can find a pen/paper. These are very basic new employee needs, and successful onboarding begins with meeting these needs. On your employee’s first day, s/he should have: a schedule, a fully stocked workstation, and lunch provided. Introducing your new employees around the office is also a great first-day activity. Name-learning is an age-old form of employee training.

During the first week of work, that schedule you had on day one will become more important than ever. New hires want to be kept busy with new employee training, and as many basic tasks as they can handle at this early stage. Employee training is a given during the onboarding process. Get the most out of your training by combining it with real tasks that new employees can work on in their first days at the company. You could even provide “homework” tasks for employees to complete, as follow-ups to their employee training.

During the first weeks, into the first months, of work for a new hire, don’t forget to check in periodically to see how s/he is doing. The onboarding process will certainly slow down after the first few weeks (depending on your company), but it’s a mistake to forget your new hires later on down the road. New employees may still feel “new” for a while, and they may want additional training or guidance up to a year after their hire date. In Michael Watkins’ book, The First 90 Days, Watkins claims that it takes about 6.2 months for a new hire to produce more than it cost to train them. This means that onboarding shouldn’t stop after the first few weeks: if you want to treat your employees like the investment they are, that is.

What were some of your successes with onboarding new employees? Let us know in the comments.