PRONEL, the personnel agency and Training Leadership Consulting (TLC) provided some insights recently into why some employees leave in their first few months. Imagine, as a business owner, you just heard the bad news — that new superstar employee you hired a few months ago suddenly resigned, as apparently “it just didn’t work out”.

TLC MD Tanya Hulse said at the Victoria Country Club that the cost to a company of not getting the right employee is high, and can amount to 150% of the annual cost of a salaried employee, and up to 75% of the annual wage of an hourly paid worker. There are additional indirect costs, including the time necessary to bring the employee up to speed, the price of mistakes, the impact on other staff and risks to the company’s reputation. She said that for a new employee, the on-boarding period is usually viewed positively, as they have decided to leave their previous job and feel that they want to make a success in their new position. Meanwhile, the employer will also feel positive in that they will have invested time and money to get the right person.

“In reality its tough. Everybody has expectations and anxieties,” said Hulse. She said ideally companies should start on-boarding programmes the moment an employee is signed on, and it is usually best to get as much of it done as possible, before the employees’ first day at work.

One can do, for instance, as much of the necessary e-mail and scanning that is required, during this period. One of the pitfalls she has encountered includes that the appropriate managers are not there on the new employees’ first day.

Other problems she has encountered includes one employee who had to wait four weeks to get logged on to the company system and laptop, and another where a company took days to get an employee hooked up just to be able to email. “IT and human resource staff often say they need time to get various things ‘signed’. You need to find a way to get around this,” to expedite the on-boarding process smoothly,” said Hulse.

She said employers also need to find a way to manage the training requirements of new staff, so that the staffer doesn’t have to wait six to eight months to do some required training, but also so that the employee isn’t overloaded with information and requirements right at the beginning of the on-boarding.

Employers should also consider the risks through the on-boarding, such as what are the employees working on and who are they dealing with. She said employees changing jobs are going through big changes in their lives. “You have to make it simple for them. Try to put yourself back into the shoes of when you were a new employee, and how you felt at that time,” she said.

Pronel managing director Bridget Jones said a lack of clarity during on-boarding can be damaging for a company. She said that for instance, a basic on-boarding kit should include a welcome letter, an  outline of a training schedule, a list of forms to be completed, company policies and procedures, points of contact and a tour of facilities.

As published in The Witness, 20 April 2018 by Edward West