How early feedback can kick-start your retention journey
If there’s a problem, you’ve got a much better chance of solving it if you can spot it early. This applies to all manner of workplace-related issues - and it’s especially true of employee onboarding.
Early employee feedback helps you on two fronts. For the individual employees concerned, it gives you a chance to identify and address any teething troubles they may be having - which could be anything from IT niggles, through to understanding what your company culture is all about.
This can increase the chances of happier employees who settle in quicker, who become meaningfully-productive at an earlier stage - and who are more likely to stick with you. And when you bear in mind that around one in five employees quit within 45 days (and often for reasons that could have been avoided!), early feedback takes on an extra level of importance.
The second big benefit of early feedback links to your wider talent acquisition and employer branding strategies. Quizzing your new starters can give you valuable intel on what you are getting right (and wrong). Especially once you've built up a bank of feedback from lots of new starters, this can help inform the future shaping of those strategies.
Here’s a rundown on what kind of feedback to focus on - and when to seek it…
The post-hire debriefing
Your new employee has just arrived. But already, from first finding out about you, the application process, through to final selection, this individual has already been on quite a journey to get here. Very early on (e.g. in the first week), it’s definitely worth getting their impressions on that journey so far.
Areas to focus on here include the following:
What attracted them to you in the first place. Was there anything in particular that struck a chord (e.g. particular employee stories or media content)?
The application and selection process. From their perspective, was it a smooth experience?
The pre-boarding material you currently use. Examples might include a welcome pack or inductee-focused online content you may have in place. Just how useful has this been? How could it be improved?
First impressions. It’s especially valuable to check whether their experience so far measures up to the expectations they had built up before joining you. “It’s more ‘sink-or-swim’ than I thought.” “I didn’t think I’d be working on X”... If you’re getting lots of comments along these lines, it’s definitely worth taking a look at your employer brand - and at whether the “brand promise” you are conveying is an accurate one.
Regular onboarding feedback sessions
A 3-month trial period (or something similar) is standard in many organisations. But just remember that if you’re an employee who’s not receiving any feedback - and who isn’t getting the chance to air their concerns, three months can seem like an eternity.
Pencil in regular and frequent two-way conversations to ensure that everything is on track. (An example timetable might be at the end of the first day, the first week and then weekly or fortnightly thereafter).
These can cover everything from technical, role-based queries through to broader issues linked to wellbeing. By keeping these encounters informal, you can create the type of environment where new starters feel comfortable about airing concerns.
And finally, where feedback is valid, always take care to act upon issues that are raised. By making it clear to employees that feedback is actually going to be taken on board, you raise your credentials as an employer worth sticking with.