It’s no secret that the “firsts” of a new position – first day, first week, first quarter and so on – are incredibly important to retention and satisfaction of new hires.
But new research from BambooHR found that the time to lock in a new hire for the long haul is even shorter than many may think. Specifically, the research showed that employers only have 44 days on average to influence a new hire’s retention – and for some, the time to decide if a position is the right fit can be as short as a week.
That means employers have a limited window of time to help convince new hires to stick it out for the long haul. So how exactly do you ensure those 44 days help make a lasting first impression?
First impressions and their impact on new hires
When a new hire starts, there’s a lot to think about – from administrative considerations like getting documentation filed to technological needs like helping new hires familiarize themselves with new tech or tracking down log-in information.
While employers are going through their side of the onboarding process, new hires are observing their new workforce to see if and how they’ll fit in. And those first impressions can make a lasting impact: Nearly two-thirds of employees (62%) say their impressions of their company from the first day at work are still accurate.
Although the average time to decide if a new job is the right fit for an employee is 44 days, 70% said that they decide in the first month. Almost a third (29%) say the time to decide is as short as a week.
What’s more: Forty-four percent of new employees say they have regrets or second thoughts about their new job within the first week, and almost a quarter (23%) cried during their first week.
Top frustrations for new hires include:
- No clear points of contact for questions (65%)
- Not enough training on company products/services (62%)
- Lack of access to essential tools (58%)
- Technology issues like malfunctioning computers (51%)
- Not having a single person acting as an onboarding guide (50%), and
- No clear manager (44%).
The key to retention is connection
It’s unrealistic to expect that every new hire will get the “perfect” onboarding experience. However, BambooHR’s research found one key element that can drastically improve a new hire’s first few months: Connection to colleagues.
Building personal relationships is a key element to a good onboarding experience and can aid in retention efforts. In fact, new hires value work friendships more than you may think: 87% say they hope to make a friend at work, 93% want to shadow a colleague and 86% appreciate support from an onboarding buddy.
Finding someone to connect with, ask questions and help get the lay of the land makes a world of difference to help a new employee integrate into their new role and build connections quicker.
The most popular options to help new employees find support include:
- An onboarding buddy program (38%)
- Coach/coachee system (38%), and
- Slack channels or online groups (26%).
In light of the importance of human connection, HR may want to prioritize helping new hires get connected to their colleagues through avenues like new hire welcome videos, job-specific training from peers and one-on-one sessions with relevant team members.