First day on the job key to long-term retention

by 08 Mar 2012

If the first day for a new employee entering your organisation consists of being shown to a desk and handed a 500-page company manual to read, you are sending a clear message you don’t care about keeping them. The induction or orientation process for a new employee, or onboarding in HR terms, is key to ensuring their success and retention in the role. And with many university graduates just entering the workforce for the first time, employers need to make sure their onboarding processes are up to scratch or risk staff heading for the door or losing interest.

The rogenSI 2011 Global Mindset Index (GMI) revealed that employers have barely a year to engage new employees and consolidate their commitment to the organisation if they hope to retain them in the long term. Ronan Carolan, HR director ANZ for pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, agrees saying onboarding is crucial to engaging employees from the outset and enabling organisations to achieve their goals.

“A comprehensive and diverse induction to the organisation and to the role is fundamental to new employees quickly gaining the most from their new career,” said Carolan, who will be discussing on-boarding best practices at the upcoming National HR Summit in Sydney.

“The more an individual understands their role and how it fits in the organisation’s future, the more comfortable they will feel to contribute their unique abilities and strengths on the job.”

Best-practice onboarding should involve initiatives like assigning a company buddy or mentor to each new employee, proactive efforts to involve the new employee in company activities, regular one-on-one communication with their direct supervisor and realistic weekly and monthly goals to provide the new employee with motivation and a sense of progress.

Now in its tenth year, the National HR Summit is the leading forum for people management professionals in Australia. To find out more about how to boost employee engagement and to view the full program, visit


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