Forget the free food and perks--your new hires aren't as shallow as you might think. They care more about effective job training and clear guidelines, and it's time you provide that for them.

Your new hires want to start contributing right away. Try Zappos’ approach, which provides each new hire, regardless of their position, four weeks of customer service training. “This is because, since customer service is one of our No. 1 priorities, we want everyone to be able to experience it,” says Zappos representative Chelsea Patterson.

More than 33% of new hires want management over HR or colleagues to show them the ropes. Square takes it a step further, with a guided tour of San Francisco and talk about company principles from Square's CEO, Jack Dorsey.

Research shows that new hires leave at a steady pace around 17% for the first three months, which means that your recruiting doesn't end when you hand them their offer letter.

Most of the hires that leave quickly are entry-level. These employees are usually fresh out of college and just entering the business world, so offering them the guidance they crave is key to keeping them around.

Top reasons for employees leaving include new hires changing their minds on their career path, the work was different than they expected, and the boss was a jerk. Don't fret, though; there are ways to tell if you fall into the jerk boss category and to change your behavior.

Free lunch is nice and all, but most important is providing effective job training. That's why Facebook don't just provide dining perks; it also puts all of its engineers, whether VP or recent college grad, through a six-week onboarding program called Bootcamp. There they learn the codebase by fixing bugs, learn about Facebook's culture, meet engineering teams to hear about their projects, and ultimately choose the team they will work with, according to communications rep Alex Hollander.

Only 9% of HR professionals thinks their current orientation process doesn’t need any help. That leaves a lot of room for improvement.

Areas of the orientation process that new hires most value are not surprisingly the places that HR professionals feel need the biggest boost. Study results show that it's time to throw out the old employee handbook and opt for something a little fresher. Take Valve's handbook as a shining example, which became the envy of all the Internet when Valve released it to the public. The preface reads, “This handbook is about...how not to freak out now that you’re here.”

Almost 52% of new hires believe “receiving organized, relevant, and well-timed content” is the most important aspect of the orientation process. In the days leading up to a new hire's first day, Warby Parker sends an electronic welcome packet with the company history, core values, press clippings, and a list of what the new hire can expect the first day, week, and month they are there.

New hires want orientation to extend beyond the first week, or even the first month. That's why onboarding at Birchbox is a month-long process. Managers set goals for their new hires for the first 30 days, and a meeting is scheduled at the end of the month to review.

This Infographic Reveals The Real Ways To Hold On To New Hires

Forget the free food and perks—your new hires aren't as shallow as you might think. They care more about effective job training and clear guidelines, and it's time you provide that for them.

Imagine you’ve just hired a new employee and it’s their first day on the job.

You have everything in place for them before they arrive, including a clever employee handbook, their desk arrangement and new equipment, and a good idea of what their responsibilities will be.

During their first few weeks on the job, you’ve met with your new hire to talk about their role and your expectations for them, introduced them to the team, provided them with a mentor, and taken them through the on-the-job training and orientation process.

You’d think that an involved orientation process like this would be common sense for companies, especially since new employees are 58% more likely to stay with a company for at least three years if they experience a structured orientation program, according to the Wynhurst Group.

However, recent research from HR software company BambooHR shows that 31% of new hires quit a job within the first six months, and more than 16% quit in the very first week.

It turns out the No. 1 thing new hires want in their first week isn't fancy perks or free food; it's on-the-job training, quickly followed by a review of company policies.

So if you’ve hired for quality and not quantity and avoided a bad hire, now it’s time to hold on to these prized hires for the long haul.

Check out our slide show of BambooHR's infographic for more insight.

[Image: Flick user Marcin Monko]

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3 Comments

  • Scott Nushart

    The best onboarding experience I have had ws in a self-contained division, consisting of 9 people generating $15M/year collectively.

    Day one pulled me into a full division meeting, a typical S & OP gathering, followed by a discussion of short term (day to day) and several long term projects (6 months+), a benefits talk, and the receipt of my lunch schedule for the coming two weeks. I was scheduled with each internal person for lunch each day to discuss roles, perspectives, etc.

    Without question, I hit the ground running, with an understanding of taking paper cups out of the 'swamp' each day, and a chance to design the bucket for the long term projects.

    The classic was our new product development session. The managing director, marketing manager and I, as a supply chain/operations guy, stood in a hallway. The marketing guy and I were told "...I need X, that I can sell for Y, made out of one of three different materials and you have six months. End of meeting!

  • Silver Creek Press

    Great piece and as an HR consultant it makes many of the points I've been advocating about with clients for many years. I wonder if there is a generational breakdown to the data Rachel? My own research (7 New Rules for the Sandbox - The ABCs of Generational Retention at www.silvercreekpress.ca) shows for example that employee who would like more mentoring are more likely younger folks. So when you see blended data like this, it make me wonder if we need to look at different strategies for different age groups in the workplace.

  • Rachel Gillett

    Good points here. This data doesn't speak specifically to generational retention, but it does show that most of the people leaving their jobs early are entry level. For the most part, we can assume these are younger people compared to those in upper management positions for example. But a greater breakdown by generation is certainly something worth pondering.