As many organizations face the growing challenge of a tightening talent market and generational shifts, it's important to think about how to retain those employees once they join your organization. And since "up to 20 percent of turnover occurs in the first 45 days" according to a recent SHRM article, getting the new hire experience right is crucial to your organization's success. Here are 4 ways new employees often struggle and what  you can do to ensure that they are progressing from the start.

1. Connecting with Others

Building a strong foundation with peers can be fundamental to any new employee's happiness in the short and long term. Not only does it make the work more enjoyable, but peers are often the informal educators for new employees who need support. Existing employees represent your brand, your expectations and what the future could be for your new member of the organization.

That said, recent studies show that "only 32% of organizations provide peer networking opportunities." Collaboration and teamwork is very important to millennials and generation Z employees, according to the Millennial Legacy; "most Millennials like working in groups and we highly prefer a sense of unity and collaboration over division and competition." And yet, while they may value the opportunity to work with others, there is a significant segment of this population that lacks the core capabilities to do so successfully. According to a 2015 SHRM study on workplace readiness, nearly 40% of recruiters believe that candidates lack the core skills to work well in a team environment. Establishing expectations around teamwork and the behaviors needed to be successful can help mitigate this gap. Integrating teamwork into your onboarding training can make sure that new employees are connected to peers and clear about what is expected of them in the future.

2. Effectively Communicating

Part of new hires working well with their peers and customers is ensuring they have great communication skills. Be it through one-to-one interactions or written correspondence, your new employees need to have core communication capabilities to make a great first impression and remove some of the frustrations of learning a new position and culture.

However, according to the same SHRM study above, 31% of recruiters believe applicants lack the basic language skills they need to be successful. While this is certainly something that could reveal itself in the hiring process, helping new hires polish these skills is an excellent way to support them early on. Including communication capabilities into a company's onboarding program can not only fill potential gaps but ensure that the communication expectations you have are abundantly clear.

3. Building Technical Abilities

Talent experts know that, for many positions, hiring for attitude and training for skill can be a great recipe for success. However, in order to help minimize frustration for a new hire, selecting candidates who have core skills can help fast-track their progress. According to a recent Penn Foster Study, "newly trained employees typically only function at about 25% productivity and it takes new employees an average of 5 months to reach full productivity." This creates a high potential for disengagement and attrition.

The best way to address this risk is two pronged: 1) select candidates who have the core skills you need, including basic math, language and technology capabilities and 2) provide solid skills training as a part of your onboarding process. Together, this approach will get your new employee up and running quickly and happily.

4. Developing Solid Problem Solving Skills

No amount of onboarding or education can solve every problem a new employee faces. Be it the challenge of a new task or a new environment, issues are going to arise. These issues can become the breaking point of your new team member. This is particularly concerning because in a 2015 study by the Education Testing Service, "Americans between the ages of 16 and 34 fared poorly on tests designed to measure their grasp of literacy, numeracy, and computer-age problem-solving skills."

This is why the Career Readiness Partnership Council and Achieve list problem solving as such a critical component of career readiness. Approaching each challenge with agility and toolkit of resources on how to overcome obstacles can be the difference between a long-term hire or a short-term visitor. Hiring employees who come to the table with these skills, and integrating these expectations into your company's onboarding, can help ensure they stay. Moreover, employers can help teach this skill on the job to new employees through situation-based training and simulations that mirror real-world scenarios they will face on the job.

While it may seem like the barriers to success for a new hire are somewhat high, many organizations are invested in addressing these concerns and bolstering the skills and capabilities of entry-level employees. Through educational commitments early on, employees will have a solid foundation that will make them more effective in their job and, therefore, more satisfied. Combine this with the commitment of businesses to connect with, support, educate and continuously develop their employees, and you will have a great a future together!

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