3 reasons your induction program causes new employees to quit

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How much time, effort and money does your organisation spend on finding new employees? Probably quite a lot. The costs of hiring new staff are high. Yet what if your induction program causes new employees to quit? Especially when surveys suggest that over 40% of new employees leave within the first 90 days!

If your employee induction program is poorly conceived or executed, it can easily undo all your efforts in recruitment and have a genuine economic cost to your organisation. It may be immediate – with new employees quitting within the induction period. Or it may be delayed – with the seeds of disengagement sown from your induction program and manifesting in new employees quitting 3-12 months later when they have ‘finally had enough’.

In this article, let’s examine the top three reasons your induction program causes new employees to quit – and what you can do to avoid these costly mistakes.

Reason 1 – Your induction program is simply form filling

If your “induction” program is nothing more than filling in forms, then you have confused induction and onboarding.

Onboarding is the necessary paperwork and logistics required for a new employee to be functional within your organisation. It’s site access, sign-ins, payroll information and similar form filling exercises. No-one likes filling in forms and if that’s it, then its increasingly likely your induction program causes new employees to quit.

So let’s fix this problem.

  • Review your ‘form filling’ processes to see if forms can be eliminated. This is especially true when duplicate information is requested across multiple forms. Can that information be asked for just once or can it be pre-filled on some forms?
  • Spread out the ‘form filling’ processes. Ask upfront for the really essential information which is required for someone to get started with proper induction. Delay asking for additional information which could wait until day 3 or week 2.
  • Move forms online. Eliminate paper-based forms as much as possible and move to a digital system, which can be faster to complete, allow for pre-filling and be significantly faster to submit (plus its easy stuff for an employee to complete while in transit or in downtime).
  • Actually have separate onboarding and induction programs! Your induction program should be about helping an employee feel comfortable with their decision to join your organisation and then to become as productive as possible, as soon as possible!

Reason 2 – Your induction program is simply information overload

In this case, your organisation does at least have a separate induction program. What we need now is an induction program which causes new employees to be inspired. So let’s eliminate the next big reason your induction program causes new employees to quit – information overload.

Quite often, new employees come straight from one organisation to another. Their last week at the previous organisation was probably quite hectic – wrapping up projects, completing exit task and having goodbye drinks. It may have also been quite emotional.

So what state will those employees be in at the start of their new role with your organisation? Hopefully exited, but perhaps also exhausted!

If they walk into an induction program which begins in the first hour of day one and proceeds to overload them with information for the rest of the week, they can end up feeling confused, frustrated and worried.

It’s true that we want to have new employees become productive as soon as possible, but the shortest path between A and B is not always a straight line.

Employee induction needs to engage new employees. Inspire them. Positively confirm their decision to join your organisation. Help them feel like a useful part of a team – not like the ‘new person who doesn’t know anything’. Too much, too soon can cause employees to feel they are not up to the task and have made a terrible decision…

This is where an online employee induction program can be very valuable. When combined with team experiences and 1:1 sessions, a blended online induction program can allow employees to move at a pace which suits them while still keeping them on the path.

Sometimes, less is more.

Reason 3 – Your induction program only lasts one day

In a similar theme, if your induction program is nothing more than a ‘day one welcome experience’, the problem can be equally as bad. Even if that one day doesn’t overwhelm the new employee with information overload, it can leave them feeling extremely isolated on day two.

Building connections with a new team takes more than eight hours of the first day of work. It can take multiple interactions, in varied environments, over a few weeks before a new employees feels a sense of community.

Induction programs need to create opportunities for connections. This might be induction buddies, an internal mentoring program, social opportunities like lunches or end of week drinks, regular team meetings or internal instant messaging platforms.

Human resources and the employee’s manager should also be conducting regular check-ins at the end of each of the first few weeks and months, to ensure the employee is making connections, feeling a sense of belonging and obtaining the information they need to be productive.

What’s your investment in induction compared to your investment in recruitment?

If your induction program causes employees to quit, then you have wasted your investment in recruitment.

Consider that research suggests that the cost of hiring a new employee is around $10,000 for entry level positions, up to $35,000 for executive positions. If your induction program causes employees to quit, that’s hard money wasted.

Yet a good employee induction program, when run through a platform like Tribal Habits, might only cost $30-50 per employee – and accelerate them towards productivity, reducing the time for your investment to pay off. That’s a 100x return on investment if it prevents a new employee from otherwise quitting. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better investment than that!


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