Turnover costs are higher than ever, and it’s difficult to find, hire and train skilled labor. An effective retention strategy is crucial in combatting these unnecessary efforts and costs — so where does a retention strategy begin? It starts with onboarding — and preparing your managers and leadership team to facilitate it.

Training and Tools

Preparing managers to onboard new employees is an important task, but often overlooked among the many responsibilities a manager has. In many cases, organizations may assume managers already know how to effectively onboard a new hire. That isn’t always the case. Creating a guide or an onboarding agenda help. This ensures new employees are onboarded consistently and seamlessly throughout the organization.

Expectations and Goals

Once equipped with a guide or onboarding agenda, managers have a roadmap of where to go in those first few critical weeks of orientation and training. Remember that many newly hired employees are new to the industry and need to be given an idea of the expectations for their role. The best time for managers to set these clear expectations is during onboarding. Within the first week, new hires should do more than simply read their job description. Effectively setting expectations requires managers to engage in continuous conversations centered on both performance and career development.

Why are these conversations about career development so important? Remember that a primary goal of onboarding is retention — we want our newly hired employees to see themselves with the company long-term. That means establishing a clear career growth path for them.

Process Improvement

Employees should have a voice throughout the onboarding. Get feedback via surveys or candid conversations, and use it to evaluate the effectiveness of the process.

Meanwhile, managers should highlight areas that may require process improvement. Processes are rarely perfect the first time, but the important thing is to take feedback from your managers and new hire seriously. They may help you uncover areas in which the onboarding program could better foster high retention.

No matter how well you recruit or how great the new hires, if your managers have not been equipped for effective onboarding, you will continue to face issues with retention. Luckily, an ounce of preparation goes a long way.