When new employees come into your organization, how do you onboard them? Usually, companies engrain trainees with their processes, procedures and textbooks – basically, they inject new hires with the organization’s DNA. If a new employee asks: “Why do we do it like this?” her seniors tell her: “Because we’ve always done it this way.”
The Problem: Rigid Employee Onboarding
The way you train your employees in the first week can vastly impact their satisfaction with the job, and whether or not they’ll last in your organization. According to a study based on data provided by workplace research and consulting firm Work Institute, approximately 40 percent of employees who quit in 2017 did so within 12 months of being hired. About half of those new hires left within their first 90 days.
We spend a tremendous amount of time searching for new employees who demonstrate immense talent, ambition, and originality. Once they’re hired, employee onboarding can suck out the creativity and innovation from them. If you’re training new employees to make them see things EXACTLY the way the company does things, you’re setting them up to fail. To ensure that you’re creating a culture of innovation, I suggest you re-engineer your onboarding strategy.
The Solution: TWO QuestionS
#1: “How did you find your first week?”
This should be the first question you ask a new employee after their first week. Remember, you’re not just asking this question for them, but for the company. Their fresh perspective is invaluable. Their feedback can tell you whether or not your processes and operations were efficient and optimized. You may even discover where opportunities for innovation.
When you ask a new employee to give their opinion on processes in their first week, you’ll not only benefit from hearing their concerns, but you can also use it as an opportunity to have them engage in making noticeable changes to your processes. After they’ve reported an issue, have them implement one idea or strategy over their first few weeks that could improve on that specific inefficiency.
#2: “Can you make it better through a small experiment?”
If you allow people to develop their own ideas and take small actions around those ideas, your ambitious new employees will jump at the chance to experiment. An employee who develops and executes an idea in the first week will more than likely continue to do. This is how you start to build a culture of innovation in the workplace and have employees who are excited about the work that they do. The result is a decrease in employee turnover and a workplace filled with engaged, curious employees.
The funny thing about training new employees? If you’re doing it right, it’s not really their onboarding at all. It’s your company’s onboarding and a way to produce ground-breaking results.