Cisco Blogs

Partners Protect Your Investment: Help New Employees ‘Break Up’ with Their Old Employer

- February 27, 2013 - 2 Comments


This is the third blog in the Cisco Partner Talent series, helping partners attract, develop, and retain the right people with the right skills at the right time. Last month’s blog shared talent attraction tips. This month’s blog post goes into detail about stage three of the Cisco Fit4Talent Employee Lifecycle: Onboarding.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe he wasn’t so bad. Maybe we should get back together.

Many of us have thought something like this at some point in our lives. But you might be surprised to learn that your new employees are having these same thoughts about their previous organization—and often from day one on the job

In many cases, new employees haven’t broken their emotional ties with their previous employers, nor established new ties with you. Humetrics, a talent recruitment and retention specialist, recently conducted employee exit interviews on behalf of a client, and found that as many as 20 percent of that client’s employees would consider returning to their former employer.

The reason? They said that hadn’t yet developed an emotional attachment to their new employer. And having that emotional attachment is critical, according to Humetrics, because emotionally-connected employees are the predictor of business outcomes such as productivity, profitability, customer engagement and turnover.

How can Cisco Fit4Talent help partners?

As a Cisco partner and an outcomes-driven business, you want new hires to be productive right away, and you don’t always have time to help them through the difficult process of ramping-up. To help your employees break their old emotional ties, you need an “emotional” onboarding program. That may sound a bit touchy-feely, but it’s not. It’s simply a structured program for more deeply engaging with employees at the start of the job and reducing premature turnover.

And it works. According to Wynhurst Group, at most organizations, 22 percent of staff turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment. Wynhurst also also finds that new employees who participate in a structured onboarding program are 58 percent more likely to be with the organization after three years.

So how do you develop a structured program that focuses on people, not process? The first step starts with the offer.

You can lay a foundation for a strong manager/employee relationship if you directly include the hiring manager in the offer process. A candidate will find it much more difficult to turn down a prospective boss than a recruiter or HR pro. They’ll also feel valued right from the start by the person from whom they most need, which can help build a bond right away.

But this isn’t where it stops. The direct manager continues to play the most critical role in your new employee’s success or failure. While this may seem like an obvious mistake, it’s common for managers to welcome a new employee and then leave them on their own as they navigate their new role.

Instead, managers should take active, ongoing steps to help a new employee connect to the team, the culture, and the job itself.

The first step is to do some work before a new employee shows up for their first day. There’s nothing worse than bogging down employees on day one with a myriad of forms and procedures. Anything you can take care of ahead of time, from scheduling key meetings to cleaning out and stocking their desk with supplies, helps the new hire feel more connected right away.

That also leaves room for bonding on the very first day to reinforce their decision to take the job, discuss organizational structure, go over products and services, and answer their questions. It’s important to help them understand how they fit in, and how their role in the group relates to others

But it doesn’t stop there. Managers should assign the new employee some sort of project to complete in their first week. This will give the manager an opportunity to evaluate their work style early and identify any potential challenges. Also, managers should make it their responsibility to schedule lunch partners for their new employee, so that they can begin to bond with co-workers.

In the first 30 days, it’s important new hires get enough work, so that they can get engaged and feel productive right away. I remember some of my earlier jobs. It was de-motivating to not have enough to do—I didn’t feel like I was part of the team. That is something managers want to prevent – and can prevent — from the very beginning.

These are just a few tips. For more details, read our guide on Cisco Fit4Talent, which is a one-stop shop portal with all the talent tools, templates and guides partners need to build stronger, more forward-thinking, better-engaged teams.

Have any tips for helping new employees bond with your company? Share them below.


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  1. These are really nice tips. It will be very interesting to hear how employers execute their “emotional” onboarding programs for new employees or new team members when moving from another organization within the company. There is a power that shifts between the employer and the employee depending on the supply and demand for jobs of the moment. This may impact differently how we measure productivity, profitability, customer engagement and turnover. After these past years of massive layoffs, we also have learned how devastating this is for employers and employees. When layoffs are the only option left, it will be important to run an emotional program as well, which may increase the possibilities to rehire their valuable employees when the situation improves.

    • Great to know the tips are useful. As hiring new employees is an investment so establishing a successful emotional onboarding is essential for employee engagement and ultimate retention. It helps to develop trust and rapport quickly and easily when you identify your new employee's motivations, strengths and career aspirations to help them feel fulfilled and be productive immediately. I am interested to know if the onboarding process of Cisco Partners build emotional engagement or not?