Across industries, companies need effective strategies for ensuring that their new hires stay and add value.

Talent management is a responsibility that must be committed to and invested in – particularly when it comes to new hires. How executives and managers at all levels handle a new hire’s first few months can be critical. Companies lose 17% of new recruits during the first three months on average, one study found. Spending up to a year helping new employees get caught up and settled in is necessary to get the most out of their skills, knowledge and fresh perspective. Companies with strong onboarding programs are more likely to retain talent, and even see a positive impact on their bottom line.

A meta-analysis conducted by Harvard Business Review (HBR) examined 70 separate studies, and found that feeling socially accepted is a key factor in the success of new hires. This has partly to do with knowledge-sharing. The more an employee integrates socially, the more likely she or he will be to seek out and gain access to company information and resources. The results show become apparent in the employee’s performance.

A well thought-out onboarding program, enhanced with human resources insights, should extend to hiring managers. This can be a challenge for some, but it is a crucial component. Another study from HBR found that “supervisors can promote or inhibit newcomer adjustment through their supportive or obstructive behaviors. This is critically important because it means that effective onboarding programs must take into account not just the experience of the newcomer but also that of hiring managers.”

Not surprisingly, a new employee’s manager is one of the most important people from the outset. Gaining this person’s support is imperative, as it can directly affect the new hire’s chances of success with the company. And, the manager is in a unique position to provide role clarity and contribute to job satisfaction.

Onboarding is most effective when the new hire is an active participant, proactively seeking to make connections, build rapport, and learn as much as possible about the company and their role within it. As HBR explains, “It is important to encourage managers to check in with new employees and make time to offer support. At the same time, new employees should be encouraged to do their part to engage in and take control of their own socialization and onboarding by asking questions, seeking out information, and taking advantage of opportunities to meet fellow co-workers.”

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