Employees Expect Career Plans/​ Formal Goals on Day One

BY Kathy Crosett
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You’ve expended a lot of energy and spent a significant sum to hire your new employee. The first few days of that employee’s experience with your company will make a big impression. Make the right impression by setting expectations and handling onboarding in a professional manner. In its 2016 Midsized Business Owners study, the ADP Research Institute checked out what’s working and what isn’t for businesses on day one and long after.

Surveyed employees in businesses that have fewer than 100 workers say successful onboarding involves:

  • A mentor for guidance/​support 35%
  • Hearing about the company’s goals 33%
  • Meeting with direct peers 27%
  • Knowing work hour expectations 25%
  • Tour of company and meeting others 23%
  • Having a neat and clean place to work 22%
  • Having career plan/​formal goals 22%

To enable an efficient onboarding process, you may want to use a checklist similar to the one developed by the professionals at Continu​.co.


If you’re like most managers, you’ll be eager to have your new employees be productive quickly. In reaching that goal, the ADP study found that employers focus on performance management (33%), workforce analytics (31%) and onboarding planning (29%) to get the biggest ROI in the talent management area.

Only 14% of employers say career planning is important. With 22% of new employees wanting to see possibilities for advancement as soon as they start their new jobs, this is an area for managers to pay attention to.

Regardless of how long an employee has been with a company, ADP analysts say it is important for managers to set goals with their team members. Some of these goals should focus on career development. Connecting the achievement of goals with additional training is one way to emphasize a career plan. Currently, over 70% of employers are using the performance review as a way to discuss career development. That strategy doesn’t sit well with over half (54%) of employees. And, at least 77% of employees know there is training available, but only 40% have used this resource in the past year.

This situation might underscore a serious disconnect. Part of your role as a manager is to encourage employees to engage with training designed to advance their careers. Make sure these folks have time in the workday to attend training. If the training programs being offered aren’t appealing or suited to the stated work goals, it’s your job to change the curriculum. Failing to pay attention to this detail could lead to low employee engagement and morale.