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How HR can retain new hires with better onboarding


This year, the unemployment rate in Hong Kong reached a 20-year low of 2.8%. This figure shows that the ability for organisations to retain top talent will only intensify.

One report suggests that employee retention is the number one issue for HR professionals and CEOs. And yet, companies often spend very little time onboarding new hires. With around 20% of staff turnover occurring within the first 45 days of employment, an effective onboarding process is crucial.

Here are some realistic onboarding strategies to help improve your employee retention.

Organisational onboarding

Teach your new hires how things work. The first part of onboarding is alerting new employees to the information they need to perform on a daily basis: where to get an ID card, how to navigate the building, how to enrol in the company’s MPF programme. It’s also essential to teach them your workplace language and acronyms – deciphering them can be a distressing mystery for new hires.

Help new hires assimilate. Companies must be intentional in helping new hires adapt to the company’s values and norms, especially during the first 12 months.

At regular intervals, say three, six, and nine months, HR should formally involve new hires in conversations about the company’s history and brand, and how performance is measured and rewarded.

Technical onboarding

Define what good looks like. Provide your new hire with a job description that includes well-defined accountabilities and any boundaries around the leadership or available resources they should be aware of.

Set up early wins. Giving new hires clear goals is a powerful strategy because it allows you to share realistic expectations.

Surprisingly, 60% of companies revealed they did not set short-term goals for new hires. A good way to begin is to assign tasks with an expectation they be completed within a clearly defined and realistic time frame. Start with targets you are confident your new hires can meet. Then, if all goes well, gradually increase the level of responsibility associated with each task.

Social onboarding

Build a sense of community. Building relationships during the new hire’s first year can help them feel less isolated and more confident. New hires, in partnership with their manager, should identify a core team of people, including superiors, peers and customers, who can contribute to their success. This will help create social capital with teammates and build camaraderie and trust.

The full version of this article can be found on the Harvard Business Review website.

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