The honeymoon period: How to improve your employee onboarding

21 May 2024 Sharyn Waterworth

How To Improve Your Employee Onboarding

Have you heard of “the honeymoon period” but in a work context?

Much like starting a new relationship, starting a new role is exciting, right? We expect new employees to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, eager to hit the ground running.

Previous research has established the existence of this “honeymoon phase” at work and has shown that employee intentions to leave are typically lower during this period of heightened satisfaction and enthusiasm.

This is why it’s worrying that more recent research shows new hires are reporting lower levels of engagement, well-being, inclusion, and intent to stay, compared to years gone by.

Is the honeymoon period on the way out? Or with a few simple changes to your employee onboarding experience, could your organisation start reaping the benefits of more engaged, high-performing new starters? Keep reading to find out.

How to improve your employee onboarding and maximise “the honeymoon period”

Nobody expects their new job’s honeymoon period to last forever, but there are still ways to make the best of it and preserve the excitement. Here are our top tips:

Set clear goals and expectations

One of the worst mistakes you can make is to not establish clear expectations with your new employee from the get-go.

By setting both short- and long-term goals, you’re turning your new starter’s to-do list into actionable and achievable points. As your new starter gets more familiar with their position and the business environment, you can (and should) revisit their goals to make them more reflective of their abilities.

For more goal-setting tips, check out another one of our blogs: How to set goals for employees (and why you should).

Get serious learning and development

Before the novelty and excitement of the new job wears off, you should focus your new stater’s energy on demonstrating and improving their skills and abilities.

Once you’re confident your new starter is clear on their responsibilities, creating a supportive environment that prioritises learning and development will ensure they feel confident and motivated to get the job done.

This could be as simple as offering ample opportunities for advice and feedback or creating a more formal development program.

Prioritise collaboration and team bonding

The importance of creating a comfortable environment for your team to work in can’t be understated if you want to retain your employees.

This doesn’t mean your team has to be the best of friends but it is important for them to build constructive, collaborative relationships that enable them to work well together over the long-term.

You can encourage this by encouraging attendance at company events, improving team communication and creating relaxed opportunities for your team to get to know one another such as team lunches.

Reward success

If someone doesn’t feel like they’re valued at a company, they are much more likely to resign. To help them feel more appreciated, you should find ways to effectively reward your employees’ success.

This step can have many mental health benefits for your employees, as well as increase productivity as time goes on.

No one likes to feel underappreciated, but this is especially true for people who are new at what they’re doing. This is why you should pay particular attention to celebrating the successes of new starters, and encourage them to do the same for themselves.

Keep in touch

Regularly checking in with your employees individually is a very important step –not just for new starters, but for every employee in your team.

Besides improving productivity, this shows your employees that you care about their well-being. One-on-one meetings are also great for helping you to spot if there is anything wrong with your employee on an individual level, so you can provide support if necessary.

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