How Do You Avoid a First Week Failure? Try These Four Straightforward Steps

You finally found someone to fill that vacant position at your community. Congratulations! But don’t relax just yet. Unless you want to be replacing that new hire again in 60 to 90 days, your work is just beginning.

According to Gallup research, about a third of new employees don’t even last 90-days on the job. If you’ve been burned by a new hire flaming out before they even made it through a season, you may be reluctant to get too invested in your newest team member. That’s understandable, but it’s also a huge mistake. Investing in a quality onboarding process for your new hire can pay huge dividends, including:

  • Getting the new hire to be a productive contributor as quickly as possible
  • Building their relationship with their coworkers, which is a huge confidence-booster
  • And ultimately, increasing the length of time they’ll stay on the job.

Here are four tips to ensure your newest team member feels at home, can tackle the tasks they were hired to do, and sticks around.

Multifamily Onboarding TipsRoll Out the Red Carpet – Before Day One

The job market has gone crazy in the last year, but in spite of record-high unemployment rates, good employment candidates remain extremely hard to find. It’s probable that the person you’ve just hired is also entertaining other job offers. Your courtship is not over until they actually start. Don’t go dark on them just because they’ve said ‘yes’ to your offer. In reality, they’re not all that invested in you or your company yet and could easily be tempted by other offers. Stay in touch and connect them to other members of the organization to start creating those co-worker bonds. Now is also the perfect time to answer the many questions they may have about their new role.

Create a Warm Welcome

We know how to make a fabulous first impression for our residents; use those same marketing and hospitality skills to create a warm welcome for your new team member. Some ideas:

  • Post a welcome message on your leasing center chalkboard or marquee sign
  • Block off a reserved parking spot; mark it with balloons and a sign that says “Reserved for our newest team member”
  • Prepare a clean and inviting workspace that’s equipped with the tools they need
  • Reward them with some branded items to make them feel like a part of the team

Multifamily New Hire TipsDivide and Conquer on Orientation

What about the actual task of getting your new hire informed about what they’ll be doing and how to do it? It’s a big job, and it makes sense to share the responsibility with multiple team members. I love the idea of using Tag Team Training Guides to involve multiple coworkers. For example, your Maintenance Technician can tour them through the community grounds and amenities. The Assistant Manager can take the lead on demonstrating how to use your various systems and software. The Corporate Accountant meets with them by phone to discuss payable procedures. You get the idea! Another advantage to this approach is that you are building a large network of people your new hire is connected to, which strengthens their bond to your company.

Focus on the “First Day Feeling”

The first day on the job is very stressful for your new hire: everything about their new role is uncertain, unknown, and just plain awkward. Make it your objective to minimize their discomfort. You want your new employee to go home at the end of the day feeling like they made a great choice when they said “yes” to your job offer. This won’t happen if they spend the day slogging through paperwork, or worse, trying to look busy when they really don’t have a clue how to do that…and no one has time to show them. A positive first-day feeling will result when your new hire starts building their social network with their coworkers; when their supervisor and colleagues seem genuinely happy they are there and have time to dedicate to them, and when they are exposed to the actual work they were hired to do.

Hiring is hard. Operating while short-staffed is even harder. It’s worth the investment of time and energy to get the onboarding process right – and turn your new hire into a loyal, long-term team member.

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