Onboarding new staff members is arguably one of the most challenging yet important aspects of any employee retention scheme. Although many businesses inject a lot of energy into keeping 'at-risk' employees happy, such as top talent that may be attracting interest from other companies, improving retention across the board starts on day one. Never underestimate the power of first impressions.
The first few months an employee spends at a new job will significantly influence their attitude to their workplace, colleagues and role. It is also the time when they will start to establish new habits. If they get off to a shaky start, they may learn 'bad habits' that will be hard to break further down the track.
It can be difficult to strike a balance between micromanaging new employees and giving them room to learn. While you don't want to triple-check their every task, it's still important to keep an eye on their productivity and provide feedback, support and guidance.
An effective way to give them the support they need is to pair them up with a mentor during their first few months of training. This could be someone else in their department, a direct manager or even an external, professional mentor.
By providing new staff with a mentor, you will save them the trouble of feeling unsure as to who to ask when they have a question. Mentors can act as a main point of contact and deliver basic training and feedback sessions. They can also lead by example.
As January is National Mentoring Month, there is no time like the present to consider implementing a mentoring programme in your workplace. If you are feeling unsure about whether it would take off, you could conduct a quick employee satisfaction survey to gauge people's overall job satisfaction, while at the same time asking for feedback on a proposed mentoring programme.
Who knows, maybe your current staff could benefit from having access to a mentor for a while, too? One-on-one training can be somewhat of a rarity in today's fast-paced business world, but providing employees with mentoring opportunities could be just the ticket to increased productivity and efficiency in 2014.