The Secret to Successful Onboarding

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John Izzo is a celebrated author, activist, and public speaker who advises companies worldwide on corporate sustainability, social responsibility, leading on purpose, and employee engagement. In this interview with Barry Matties, John offers some suggestions for a better onboarding process, and he answers some of the tough questions that companies are facing regarding employee retention.

Barry Matties: John, thank you for speaking with me. I see that many companies are faced with challenges not only in hiring and training, but helping new employees feel like they’re part of the culture and have a desire to grow with the business. Many companies are hiring someone only to have them leave a year later. What advice would you give for onboarding in today's market?

John Izzo: To some extent, if you hire good people, you're always taking a chance they will go elsewhere, so that's a part of the game. Today's team members seem to have more desire for variety and movement than in previous generations. 

First, you must make that onboarding experience positive, a time when they are welcomed deeply. This builds community. We know that two of the biggest factors in someone staying at a job are their relationship with their immediate supervisor and whether they build social networks at work. It’s very hard to leave a group of people you like and have become friends with; most people leave their boss, not their job. Now they may leave for a much higher pay, but we can't always control that.

So, what can we control? We do things that help them build solid relationships, creating friendships that work. In this hybrid/virtual world, we have to work even harder to make sure people have the type of contact that builds those relationships.

Next, we must make sure that every leader in the organization is leading in a way that people won't want to leave that lead. If you have leaders who are not good leaders of people, you have to know. I always say to coach them up or coach them to another assignment because the leader is even more important now in keeping people.

The other thing is that many younger employees are thinking immediately at a faster pace about the next thing, so you have to make sure it's clear to them what the opportunities are and the process to get to those opportunities, because they want to be very active. They don't want to just sit around and wait and hope that two years down the road you notice them. Find out what their career goals are and help them see a path to whatever that goal is in your organization. I think those are some of the most important things.

To read this entire conversation, which appeared in the April 2023 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.


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