Newly hired finance employees often feel overloaded with information about their new company, its policies and procedures. Rather than bombarding new hires with paperwork, policy books and forms to compete, the most critical thing that a company can do to increase the chances for a new hire to still be employed and actively engaged in their role at the one year mark, is to encourage existing employees to reach out and forge relationships with new hires.
Research consistently shows that new hires substantially benefit by connecting with peers and supervisors one level above them, who can provide direction for making them productive in the short term.
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In fact, the best inoculation against attrition is when an employee has someone within the organization, ideally in a management role, that they feel comfortable going to for advice, and concerns.
Considering this data, a company would be wise in encouraging their leadership teams to make an effort to reach out to ALL new hires, not only their direct reports, but those in other departments.
Initiating a custom of having a welcome coffee for new hires, where they are introduced to the team, is an excellent opportunity to make introductions in a casual environment.
No matter how comprehensive the orientation program, it cannot predict every situation new accountants, financial analysts, or controllers will face. Rather than attempting to foresee difficulties and issues the new employee will encounter, insightful companies will introduce him to the people within the organization who can offer practical advice and counseling when those circumstances arise.
By interacting with current employees – both those who will work with the new employee daily and those from other departments with which the finance and accounting divisions serve – he will develop a network of resources. These co-workers can answer specific questions and offer their assistance when concerns arise during the workday, sending the message that the firm is truly committed to their success and productivity. By fostering human interaction, these contacts will keep the new hire engaged. Being able to share concerns with someone that has been part of the team for a while can alleviate concerns before they turn into serious issues.
Meetings with their colleagues early on will help new team members pick up the nuances and unwritten rules of the workplace and its culture. These interactions provide practical, real-world information in ways that are impossible to discern from the employee handbook, building tours, or rapid-fire presentations from division supervisors and human resources representatives. Just as important, they begin the process of social integration and employee-to-employee relationships that are crucial to worker loyalty, longevity, and career development. Part of communicating that engagement involves listening to the new employee, who may offer suggestions gleaned from previous jobs that can result in improvements before they get bogged down in “we’ve always done it this way” thinking.
“Instead of asking themselves, ‘What does my new hire need to know?’, Managers should ask, ‘WHO does my newcomer need to know?’ note members of the Babson College Working Knowledge Research Consortium. “This will then help them focus on generating a strategic list of key experts and information providers with whom the newcomer needs to meet, from which they can then structure the necessary interactions into the new hire’s assimilation process.”
Giving some thought to your company’s culture, and how you can increase positive interactions with new hires and your management team as early in a new hires on-boarding as possible, will result in ultimately quicker ramp- up times and lower attrition rates.
Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of International Search Consultants, and can be reached directly at or direct dial at 888-866-7276
Anna Souers is Director of Finance Recruiters and can be reached directly at or direct dial at 800-450-3808