It’s no secret that the employee turnover rate in the association space and nonprofit industry is quite high. And though there are a number of reasons for that (particularly for-profit competition - the salaries, the benefits, etc.), one of the biggest factors affecting nonprofit turnover is a poor (or nonexistent) onboarding process. See, when employees don’t know how to do their job or what they’re working towards to begin with, they get frustrated and contemplate leaving. And when an employee does leave your organization, you’re then left to start the hiring process all over again (costing you time, money, and your sanity).
To prevent all of that from happening, it’s best to just create a standard new hire onboarding process. Not sure what that entails or how to even begin? Here are a few tips:
Discuss your organization and the job itself in depth
You may have discussed your organization and the job itself during the interview process, but when a new hire joins your staff, it’s crucial that you go back and explain those items in depth. Start by explaining your organization’s mission, values, and culture. It’s from these things that everthing else - your processes, your projects, your overall strategy - flows. Then, talk about your organization in more detail. Discuss who your members are, what benefits they receive, what your biggest challenges are, etc. The more your new hire knows about your organization, the more they can contribute to your organization.
Once you’ve discussed your organization in detail, you’ll then want to discuss the job in detail. Talk about the new hire’s job tasks and performance expectations. What will a typical day look like for them? What will success look like? It’s important that they know these things so that they can then emulate them.
Provide ongoing software training
Ok, now this is a big one. If your organization is using an association management system (AMS) or any other type of software, you’ll need to get the new hire up to speed ASAP. This may require a bit of time, but if your new hire doesn’t understand the software they’re expected to use day-in and day-out, they’ll get frustrated and be more inclined to leave. To prevent that from happening, your training needs to come fast and it needs to be thorough.
(Tip: Some AMS providers, such as MemberClicks, help with new hire training, so check with your provider to see if they’re among that group. If so, that’s a HUGE resource for your staff and your new hires to use.)
Pair them with a mentor
Employee mentoring programs are a great way to strengthen your organization’s onboarding process. Even if you work at a small-staff association, if you can pair your new hire with an older, more seasoned professional, they’ll have someone they can comfortably go to when times get tough or questions arise (which is bound to happen at any job). And not only that, but they’ll have someone to look up to and be inspired by - which is exactly what you want at your growing organization.
Schedule periodic check-ins
Even if your new hire is getting up to speed quickly, you’ll still want to check in with them from time to time. During those meetings, you’ll want to discuss current and upcoming projects, as well as any questions, comments or concerns they might have.
It’s also important that you provide your new hire with feedback during this time. Praise them for what they’re doing right and help them in areas where they may be struggling. Your new hire can’t change what they’re doing - or grow - unless you guide them.
Now these are just a few components of an effective new hire onboarding process. For more tips and tricks to get your new hires up to speed quickly (and encourage them to stay), check out our free guide, Best Practices for Onboarding New Staff, below!