Filling a vacant position is expensive, and unless you do these three things, it’s liable to be an expensive waste of time.
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Let’s face it — the hiring process is painful, and not just because you have to look through reams of résumés. From posting job listings to conducting several rounds of candidate interviews to ultimately making a selection and then training a new employee, the time and money required to fill a vacant role add up quickly. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it costs an average of $4,129 to hire a new employee. Considering this process takes an average of 42 days, it’s clear that you want to get it right the first time.
And just because you’ve made a candidate an offer and he or she has accepted it doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. In fact, Tinypulse reports that 22 percent of turnovers occur within the first 45 days of an employee starting a new job. Without an effective onboarding process, you’re setting your business — and your new hire — up for failure. On the other hand, an effective and engaging onboarding program allows companies to retain 91 percent of new hires for at least a year, according to the same research.
Successful training makes for successful employees, which in turn makes for a successful organization. If your new employee onboarding and training program is strong, your confused newbies are more likely to turn into productive contributors, and this transformation will take less time. Don’t overlook these three key areas when training your new hire.
1. Teach trainees to identify basic cyber security threats.
Cyber attacks are increasingly common, and they’re a threat to businesses of all shapes and sizes. While some hackers are conducting extremely sophisticated attacks, research by Cofense revealed that 91 percent of security breaches still stem from basic phishing emails. Because they’re unaware of their new company’s common practices, new hires are particularly susceptible to social engineering attacks. The most successful scammers start by gaining access to an executive’s actual email account; after all, who’s going to say no to a request from the CEO?
As David Wagner, president and CEO of email security firm Zix, explains, “Any messages then sent out automatically bypass authentication tools, making unsuspecting recipients the last line of defense.” If you’ve trained your employees on what they should and shouldn’t send over email — and can and can’t expect to receive via email — your organization has a decent shot at escaping unscathed. If not, the oversight could cost you a fortune. Make sure your training materials show your new hires examples of phishing emails and provide a list of the types of company information that should never be shared via email.
2. Help them to buddy up.
Relationships are an important part of employee engagement. Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report found that workplace friendships drive employee engagement and performance. In fact, the report determined that organizations can better engage customers and increase profits by increasing the number of their employees who feel they have a close friend at work. So include your new employees in the social circle at work and provide get-to-know-you opportunities so they can quickly feel like they’re part of the team.
Encouraging new employee assimilation could be as simple as making sure newcomers have someone to eat lunch with for the first few weeks. An even more effective way to promote engagement involves pairing up a new employee with a peer mentor for the first few months on the job. Mentorship programs have seen great success, and they’re utilized by around 71 percent of Fortune 500 companies, according to the Association of Talent Development. Ask the veterans on your team to sign up as mentors and set clear parameters for what that entails. Will they be an as-needed resource for new employees, check in on them weekly, or be integrally involved in their training? Decide what works best for your team.
3. Give your training materials a makeover.
Nothing causes employees to tune out faster than sitting them down in front of a computer screen with an employee manual and training videos that clearly should have been left back in the ’90s. If your onboarding materials quote Ferris Bueller or reference the original “MacGyver,” it’s probably time to freshen things up. When you upgrade your training materials, incorporate interactive elements that encourage active participation.
Fun activities like a scavenger hunt will help new employees learn their way around the office, and interviews with other members of the company will help familiarize them with their colleagues. Before you plan training for your new hires, make sure you understand their learning styles and offer training activities that best meet their needs. You could even have them fill out a learning styles questionnaire and use that information to personalize aspects of their training. If your new hires learn best by doing, include opportunities for them to jump into a task. Or if your new employees are visual learners, focus more written materials than oral presentations or in-person chats to ensure the information sticks.
It takes time to get a new employee up to speed, but there are steps you can take to accelerate their training. If your onboarding process hasn’t changed in years, be sure to prioritize these three things in your next update. They’ll protect your organization, improve engagement and put new hires on the fast track to success.