It appears that the rumors are true. According to a May 13th Washington Post article, hiring of recent graduates is up, even though unemployment levels are still uncomfortably high. The combination of retiring Boomers and pent-up demand fueled by historically high cash reserves has corporations all over the U.S. firing up their hiring machines and pulling recent college graduates onto the team. These grads will arrive fresh-faced and eager to work. They’ve been studying for 17+ years and they are ready to join workforce and test their mettle. The question is: what will your organization do with all that potential?
See if either of these onboarding scenarios might describe what your new hires will experience when they start at your company:
OPTION A: After finishing an HR orientation, your new hire is met at the door by a manager and a coworker. They say, “Welcome, we’re glad you’re here. We knew you were coming and have a plan to get you up to speed quickly. Let’s sit down for a quick conversation. —Here are 10 things you need to get a fully functioning workstation and access to all the current information. —Here are 7 things you need to know about the Big Picture for our team. —Here are 35 skills you’ll need to know or develop during the next two months so that you can take on the work we have planned for you. —Here are 5 people who will teach you the skills on your list. And here are some tips for how you can make this whole process go as quickly as possible.” Shortly after being hired, this new employee is taking on real work, is productive, and engaged.
OPTION B: After finishing an HR orientation, your new hire gets lost trying to find his new team. He locates his desk and finds a note saying that IT is going to get him a computer. He meets his manager and gets marched thru the halls and introduced to 35 people, all of whom appear to be really busy. He starts attending team meetings and gets offered an opportunity to “shadow” a coworker for a few months while he “gets his feet on the ground.” He is pointed to a website with reams of documentation and encouraged to read up and “get a background” in the work he’ll do some day. Six months after starting, this new hire is still “new” and has yet to produce any meaningful results.
So which option are you presenting to your new hires?
5 Things All New Hires Need
At my company, our client work and research has shown that every new hire—regardless of industry— needs five things to reduce their ramp-up to productivity.
- A Peer Mentor and a Manager who have clearly defined roles in the new hire’s onboarding — who will do what to help the new hire get up to speed?
- “Air, Food and Water” — what are the basics that must be in place before the new hire is ready to learn and work?
- The Big Picture — what are the 7–9 big picture questions the new hire had better be able to answer to ensure she feels connected to the strategy, can prioritize well, and make good decisions?
- A Skill Development Plan — what is the list of skills and tasks that the apprentice must be able to accomplish to take on the work at hand?
- A First Meeting about Onboarding — Getting a new hire up to speed is a “project,” and what project goes well without a kickoff meeting?
SUMMARY: U.S. companies are once again increasing their hiring of recent graduates, which means lots of inexperience workers who need onboarding and skills training are entering the workforce. If you provide your new hires with the above five things, you can cut their ramp-up time to productivity by typically about half. With 50% less time wasted, you will see greater contribution to your bottom line AND higher employee morale and likelihood of talent retention.