Adjust Your Seat First

My daughter recently got her driver’s permit. She worked hard to get it and is now a diligent driving student: adjusting the seat first (she’s 5’2″ so there’s a lot of adjusting required), then the mirrors, then putting the car in drive followed by her hands dutifully at “10 and 2.” She’s a zealous learner, too, asking to drive just about everywhere.

Watching her zest for learning in this life event got me thinking – we really don’t change much as we grow up. Let’s take starting a new job, for example. We go through a lot of work to get that new position: polish the resume, search, apply, repeat. Then we go through the interview process, sometimes several times before we find the perfect fit. As the big day draws near, we are excited, nervous, and eager to get started.

When we got to the DMV on the day after my daughter’s birthday, she was excited and nervous and eager to get started. Then she went to take the test. And she failed. She came out of the room disheartened and extremely disappointed. This was not what her day was supposed to be like.

When your company doesn’t have a substantial Onboarding program in place, your new employees could feel like they’ve failed. I recently spoke with someone who shared that he nearly quit his job on day three because the new company had no Onboarding program, leaving him disheartened and disappointed.

Onboarding is important because it sets the tone for new employees. A strong Onboarding program will:

  1. Allow your new hire to connect with co-workers
  2. Clearly describe the new hire’s duties and expectations
  3. Demonstrate the corporate culture and values

When my daughter got to the counter at the DMV to say that she had failed, the assistant asked her if she’d like to take it again. Her face immediately lit up with the second opportunity for success. This time, she passed.

If your current Onboarding program consists of little more than “Hi, here’s your desk,” consider this your invitation to take the time to create a strong and empowering strategy to welcome new employees. When employees are provided with a structured Onboarding program during their first 90 days, they are 58% more likely to still be with the organization in three years. And with turnover costs ranging from 16% – 213% of an employee’s salary, it’s worth the time to create a solid program, complete with success metrics.


Jennifer Currence is an HR Strategy Advisor and Success Coach who focuses on making sure an organization’s people practices align with their corporate strategy. She lives in Tampa, FL with her two teenagers.


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