Mentoring & Fitting In at A New Job

Fit InIn a recent survey of more than 1000 people, BambooHR learned that a startling 31 percent of respondents had quit a job within the first six months, with one in six leaving within the first three months. A mentoring or sponsorship program for new hires could have made a huge difference in helping them fit in and navigate the transition from newbie to a solid and productive member of the team.

Here’s what these former employees said could have changed their minds and made it possible for them to stay:

23%     they had been given clear guidelines as to what was expected of them.
21%     they had more effective training.
17%     they felt welcomed – a friendly smile or helpful co-worker.
12%     they had been recognized for what they brought to the team or organization.
9%       they had been given more attention from managers and co-workers.

When you consider that the cost of replacing someone can be up to two times their annual salary, it makes sense to keep people once you’ve hired them.

The solutions:

  1. Assign a mentor, buddy or sponsor. 56 percent of respondents thought assigning an employee ‘buddy’ or mentor” was one of the most important things a new employee needs to get up to speed and begin contributing quickly. By the way, 36 percent of HR professionals believe a mentor/buddy program needs to be created or updated at their companies.
  2. The job description got them interested in working for you. Once you hire them, you want to spend some time outlining what their responsibilities will be, how they will be assessed and what specific results they will be held accountable for producing.
  3. Give employees the training and tools they need to do the job you hired them to do.
  4. Accept and welcome your new hire. You give people a party when they leave, celebrate the new hire’s arrival, or completion of their 90-day trial period.
  5. Give actionable feedback early on. What they are doing well and what needs improvement. Don’t wait for the week before their 90-days are up or their first annual review.
  6. Get their supervisor involved in the onboarding process. This will help them begin an empowering relationship with the person they work for.

Even with a manager taking every step possible to make a new hire feel welcome, clearly defined expectations, and comprehensive training onboarding can still be a stressful time. Integrating comfortably into a new team can be tricky, and many new workers will be nervous. That’s why Solution #1, assigning a mentor to answer questions and give guidance in the early days is one of the most effective ways to foster early engagement. Dusting off and re-launching that old mentoring or sponsorship program or creating a new program that is effective can make the difference.

Susan Bender Phelps, speaker, trainer, consultant and author helps companies strengthen their existing mentoring program or build one that is strong from the start. Follow her on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.