How Your Onboarding Process Can Retain Employees

BY Kathy Crosett
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Did you know that up to 34% of young employees have quit a job within 90 days of their start date? That’s a painful statistic for a sales manager who may have spent up to four months recruiting a good sales rep. If you did a great job vetting the employee, asking them to take assessments, and ensuring a good match with the company and the work to be done, where is the trouble spot? It may well be your onboarding process.

Your Onboarding Process

Sales managers may give recruiting and hiring their best attention and then fail to follow through once an employee starts in the new position. That's unfortunate because a new employee’s first day presents an opportunity to make the right impression. Yes, they’ve agreed to work for you, and they want to succeed. Whether they are signing in from a remote location or coming into the office, their first few days will be confusing. Don’t make them hunt down the person who is supposed to acclimate them to their new surroundings.

On that very first day, having lunch with their boss or new colleagues might not be possible. But they want to talk with you and co-​workers and hear about what they should start working on.

New employees bring fresh energy into an organization. It may take them a while to learn the ropes, but you can help them feel they are making progress if you present a list of administrative tasks they should accomplish during their first few days. These tasks might include setting up digital credentials to access online information, meeting peers in different departments, and securing badges for building and parking lot entry.

The Work Plan

For you, the selling process may feel defined. But when your new rep begins to interact with prospects, they’ll encounter a range of responses and requests. Your rep needs to know, specifically, how far they can go in negotiating deals with prospects. Are they allowed to travel to the customer site to assist with training, for example? And they need to know about exceptions to the rules.

If you aren’t available to immediately answer the questions that come up, make sure they can ask another member of your staff. Tina Eaton, in her HelloSign post, advises, “Treat vagueness as the enemy. If you’re not prepared to help new hires develop SMART goals and plan regular touch points for them with their point person and other members of their onboarding team—you should be held just as responsible as they are for missing expected performance benchmarks.”  Eaton also notes that if your new employees have a 90-​day probationary period, your onboarding process should last at least that long. If you’re not personally ensuring that your new rep is meeting the goals set up during probation, assign the task to a responsible mentor and check on their progress regularly.

Personalized Microcoaching

Another way to avoid missing performance benchmarks is to add personalized coaching to your employee sales training program. If you asked your rep to take a psychometric assessment, along with a sales skills assessment, as part of the hiring process, you have plenty of information to work with. Using the results of those assessments, you can personalize coaching and help your rep with specific challenges they face. Whether it’s learning how to listen to prospects or developing their curiosity and creativity, you can use a microcoaching platform to help them improve.

Your onboarding process doesn’t stop after an employee’s first day or their first month. To retain the talent you worked so hard to recruit, take the necessary time to introduce them to your culture and coach them to success in their new position. Once you make a true investment in your new employee, they’ll engage and become loyal.

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