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Retaining good employees can come down to a good onboarding policy.

In a Low Unemployment Economy, the Best Retention Policy is a Good Onboarding Policy


With unemployment at long-time lows, retaining talented employees is a top concern among employers, but many fail to realize that the right retention strategy begins before the new employee even walks through the door. In today’s hiring climate, a welcoming onboarding experience is essential to employee retention.

That is why Express Employment Professionals has laid out the four critical components for keeping good workers right from the start — the Four C’s of Onboarding:

Company – Helping the employee understand the company’s mission, goals, policies, customers, organizational structure and how their job fits into the big picture.

Connection – Helping the employee build relationships and information networks with colleagues.

Culture – Ensuring that the new hire understands the company’s values, beliefs and environment and how they can thrive in that environment.

Career – Mapping out the employee’s personal objectives and how they are measured and realized, as well as setting out expectations for success and advancement.

Express provides these and other onboarding insights as part of its “Engage to Retain” initiative.

Jan Riggins, general manager of two Forth Worth, Texas, Express franchise locations, explains that employers must have a well thought out onboarding plan.

“Bringing a new person into your organization is no time to wing it. Consider creating a written plan that you can reference for all new hires,” she advises.

She observes that a “mentor system,” is valuable but often missing from employers’ onboarding process.

Mike Brady, the Express West Jacksonville franchise owner in Florida, agrees. Assigning a mentor/trainer is a missing step he says.

“Most of the time, it is just straight to work with no introduction to the team or talk about culture, values, team vision or safety,” he said. “Companies that understand turnover costs, in terms of time and money, and that are willing to spend more or do more to retain employees, will save money and boost production.”

Crystal Lake, Illinois, Express franchise owner Terri Greeno also recommends a mentor and adds that personal touches can go a long way. She recommends, a “clean, well-supplied, organized desk with business cards, a living plant and a note from the owner.”

Another common mistake is thinking that onboarding occurs only on the first day or two.

“We must stay with them for weeks or months constantly reinforcing their decision to join the company,” said Janis Petrini, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Express franchise owner.

Express Oklahoma regional director Tracy Underwood recommends “constant follow-up.”

“This is an employee market and will be for quite some time,” she also notes. “There will always be some turnover. But that shouldn’t deter people from investing in onboarding and retention. We work hard to retain employees knowing that even if they leave us, they’ll speak highly of the environment we created if we’ve been successful in the onboarding and retention effort process.”

First impressions are everything, agrees Express CEO Bill Stoller.

“If an employee’s first week or first month is spent fumbling their way through a new job and new company without any help, they won’t feel like part of the team, and soon they will be looking for an exit,” he said. “But if a company invests in them, they are far more likely to be invested in that company for the long haul.”

Got a news tip? Contact A.J. Hecht