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6 ways to make the first month count for a new employee

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If a new employee quits, there’s a good chance they will soon after starting. Studies show that around 40% of worker turnover tends to happen within the first month, with another 10% deciding to go before they’ve reached their first anniversary.

This makes it even more crucial to make new starters feel welcome and connected from minute one of day one with a positive onboarding process at your business.

By giving new colleagues good experiences early on in their time with your organisation, it makes sense that you boost the chances of them settling quickly and thriving - hence a better long-term outcome for everyone.


Go above and beyond in preparation

Workstation set-up including computer, phone and relevant log-ins ready to go, plus any equipment needed for the job are the bare minimum you need to supply. The aim is for your new recruit to spend their first day learning a little about their new company, role and colleagues, not on hold to IT for access to the network.

But think about what else you can have in place for a new starter’s arrival to give them added confidence that you value them, including perhaps:

  • An employee handbook
  • A handwritten welcome note from a line manager or CEO, with an invitation to lunch or coffee
  • An agenda for their first day and a plan for the first week
  • Freshly-printed business cards
  • A nutshell guide to the company’s policies, benefits, calendar and benefits
  • A photo who’s who or organizational chart to make it easier to remember names
Assign a buddy

It takes time to get up to speed on how things work at a new company, and assigning a workplace buddy helps ease the transition.

As well as showing the new starter around and introducing them to people, a buddy can also be the first port of call with any concerns or questions. Knowing there’s someone there to help and welcome them will boost a new employee’s chances of settling in faster and more easily. It could even make the difference between wanting to stay in the role or moving on early.


Give them an overview

It’s best to limit new information given out on the first day, or you may risk overwhelm. But the first week - ideally day two or three - is a good time for a leader to explain the core mission of the new starter’s team or department, including the roles of key colleagues and how they interact. This is as well as more detailed information on:

  • Strategic plans and business objectives for the year
  • How your business differs from close competitors
  • The business’ history and structure
Book meet-and-greets

For a new starter, not knowing who to contact in another department when necessary can add to a feeling of helplessness and overwhelm.

So scheduling quick meetings with managers, team members and colleagues from other departments will allow them to put names to faces. It’ll also help them understand how departments work together and what each one contributes to the bigger picture.

Set positive expectations

It’s good to immerse your new starter in the company culture from day one, but it’s also crucial that they get an introduction to the work they’ll be doing.

Chances are, they’ll want to get stuck in as soon as they can. So aim to give them a roadmap with expectations and measurable goals in the short- as well as long-term - all the time reinforcing the positive contribution you feel they’ll be able to make. If you can help a new employee feel they’re playing a meaningful role in the success of their organisation they’ll be more likely to stick with you.


Check in after 30 days

Ideally, the new starter’s line manager will have a few minutes at the end of every day of the first week to check how things are going. But at the end of the first month it’s good to have a more formal sit down to perhaps ask:

  • Do they fully understand their role?
  • Is the work what they expected, or have there been any surprises?
  • Have they spotted any areas where they need extra training or would like to further develop their skillset?
  • Do they feel comfortable with their colleagues?
  • Do they have any feedback about how the first month has gone that could help improve the onboarding process?

Through our work at RHL we know that the fight for technical and professional talent is intense. Savvy employers pay huge attention to supporting and engaging new starters, as even candidates who’ve started work in new roles will continue to be contacted with other job opportunities by recruitment consultants.

Our advice? Make someone’s first hours, days and weeks count and you needn’t worry about them being lured away to your competitors.