Can I let you into a secret? There’s one thing you can do that will make your new hire feel incredible.
And it’s a secret because very few employers do this so your new hire won’t expect it. Good news on both front to make your new hire feel like a million dollars
And what do people do when they feel incredible? They carry on doing the same thing that makes them feel so good. So if you want to stop new hires leaving way before you’d like them to, this one’s for you.
Any idea what that ‘one thing’ might be?
Here’s a clue
Yes, this secret hack is about asking your new hire one question.
Your aim is to make your new hire think that he has made the best decision ever in joining you. First impressions are hugely important in keeping hold of that great talent you worked so hard to find.
So this is it.
Ask him how he would like to feel at the end of the first month in his new job.
If you keep that one thing at the front of your mind, and act upon it, your new hire will have a great experience of their new job.
Does that make you cringe a little?
Too touchy feely for you? If you are raising your eyebrows right now just stick with me for moment and let me explain.
In a sales situation, you want to understand what would make the customer happy with your product and service. Then you try to match that. You want your customer to be delighted and to continue to buy things from you.
Well, it’s the same thing for an employee. If they are delighted with the experience, they have in the first few weeks, they are much more likely to stay with you.
A scary 22% of employees leave in the first six weeks.
And let’s be honest replacing an employee can often be more costly than replacing a customer.
Here’s some responses I have had
I have asked this question a lot. And please don’t think this approach is too ‘soft’ for most jobs. These particular responses are from a Senior IT Director, two hard core techies and a project manager. Trust me, everyone wants to know their thoughts are valued.
I want to feel like I have made a great choice. Like I was meant to be there
Vindicated, challenged, enthused.
Like I belong.
Pumped – like at the end of a great training course when you come out full of ideas.
Like I am going to add value.
So here’s what I suggest you do.
Email/chat to your new hire before their first day (if you are not doing this, you should be and this is why)
Tell them your number one aim is to help them be successful. And ask them how they want to feel at the end of their first month. (I normally ask them to use three words to do this. You can see from the examples above most people struggle with it but it does encourage them to keep it succinct)
Then work out how you can make them feel that way. What do you need to cover in those first few weeks?
Let’s take three of the examples from above
I would like to feel I am going to add value
- Tell them what impact their role has on the organisation
- Discuss with them how they, and their unique skills can make a difference. Why did you choose them?
- Structure their training so they can make an impact fast. Intersperse the training with getting some work done where possible so they can start adding value.
I want to feel like I belong
- Focus on the people side – make them feel like part of the team
- Organise lunches with different people to help them build their network fast
- Invite them to meetings so they can soak up how things work.
- Ask someone from senior management to pop by to say hi. (If they greet them by name and know one small thing about them – like where they used to work – this will 10X the impact)
I want to feel pumped
- Talk him through the opportunities for him to make a difference in this role
- Discuss improvements you would like to make – ask for his input
- Get him excited about the direction the company is going in and what they want to achieve
Once they start
On their first day, discuss how you have designed their onboarding to make them successful.
Use their words. This is really important. Your conversation might start like this
‘When we chatted you said that at the end of the first month you want to feel x, y and z. This is what we’ve included in your onboarding plan to try to make that happen.’
Who isn’t going to feel good about that sentence?
You should also have success factors you want to add to the list. Yours may be more tactical and that’s fine. You want him to have completed x training, met these people or written this report. This is a good way of introducing your expectations of your new hire, a critical part for both of you to track progress.
At the end of each week, check in with him. Review what you have done that week and ask him how close you are to meeting his success criteria. Work out together how you might fill any gaps.
This is the message you are giving
Just think for a moment how great this would make your new hire feel. You are saying to him
‘I want you to be successful
What would success look like in your eyes?
This is what I would like to see you achieve.
This is how we’ll get you there.’
And this is the best bit
If you have a decent onboarding process, you won’t have to do any extra work. You just need to identify what parts of your onboading will help him achieve his goals, and highlight them in your discussions.
If you still have work to do on your onboarding process, this will help you focus on the important stuff. You don’t have to invest a lot of time and money into onboarding, but you do need to plan it. Think about the way he wants to feel and add that to your success criteria. Then figure out what you need to do to achieve it all.
Now you may be worried that their requests may be ones you can’t satisfy. But that is unlikely to happen. He wants the same thing as you. He wants to be successful. (If his expectations are way out of the park, we may need to chat about your selection process!).
Just ask the question
That is the important bit. As Nancy Willard so rightly implies in the quote above, merely asking the question is impactful. It will stand you out from other employers. It is unlikely that their answers will surprise you but it will allow you to personalise their onboarding experience. And that’s what makes it so special.
Listen to what they say and act upon it. So simple. So powerful.