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The First 7 Days: Why On-boarding Millennials Is Critical to Employee Performance

Written By: Kevin Baumgart
Posted on August 25, 2016

With each passing day, dealerships have to reconcile the fact that they will need to hire an increasing number of Millennials. What does this mean exactly? Like any normal demographic shift, older Americans are retiring and younger generations are filling their positions.

The big differentiator between now and previous generations is that the incoming group is such a huge segment of the population. According to Pew Research, Millennials – those between 18 and 34 – now number more than 75 million in the U.S., pushing them past the next largest group: the Baby Boomers.

What Does the Millennial Shift Mean for Dealerships?

This is meaningful for your dealership for a number of reasons. First of all, Millennials are in the middle of a job-hopping trend that has been growing increasingly pronounced over the past decade. For example, research from LinkedIn found professionals who graduated between 1986 and 1990 average 1.6 jobs during their first five years in the labor market. Workers who graduated between 2006 and 2010 have an average of 2.85 jobs during the same timeframe.

On top of that, Millennials are pretty stark in their self-assessments of their level of preparedness for the workforce. Bentley University released a study that revealed Millennials give themselves a grade of C or lower on being prepared for their first jobs.

When you consider the ramifications of these trends, you have the chance to recognize the importance of an onboarding program that keeps employees engaged and less inclined to look for work elsewhere.

Make Onboarding a Competitive Advantage

Building a dealership with the right talent will extend into the overall positive performance of the business. Employee onboarding is a fundamental aspect of the overall engagement framework of a top-performing business. With Millennials taking up a growing segment of the overall talent pool, keeping new hires engaged early on is even more important.

Strictly concerning financial performance, having a formal employee engagement program can make all the difference. A recent report from Aberdeen Research found that companies that have programs aimed at building employee loyalty achieve a 15.5 percent year-over-year increase in annual revenue – compared to 12.3 percent for all other organizations.

Meanwhile, these top-performing organizations also generate higher annual revenues from customer referrals, and more of their sales team members achieve their annual quotas compared to companies that don’t have an employee engagement strategy.

How Are Companies Creating Impactful Onboarding Programs?

Consider the first week of a new employee’s time on the job. At the end of the first seven days, do they:

  • Have a clear sense of their role within your dealership?
  • Understand your organization’s culture and expectations?
  • Feel as though they are socially integrated?
  • Have confidence in their abilities to fulfill their responsibilities?
  • See a direction forward as they continue along their career path?

These questions can help you get started understanding whether your dealership has an effective onboarding program.

Here are a few tips to ensure you’re keeping Millennials engaged from the very start.

  1. Limit Traditional Learning Strategies: It’s important to remember that onboarding is not the same as training. There are certain aspects that will cross over, but, in large part, your onboarding program should be squarely focused on integrating new hires into your dealership. Certainly, you should be taking the time to introduce company policies, benefits and other fundamental information for each new employee. However, your onboarding program should get Millennials out from behind a desk and next to a mentor within your dealership who they can shadow. This will enable them to get hands-on experience and information about the processes and practices that go on during a regular day.
  2. Begin Employee Recognition Early: From the very beginning, your dealership should work on integrating ways to help Millennials feel that they’re making significant progress—and you have made the effort to recognize them for it. A recent article for the Society for Human Resource Management found there’s a growing trend among organizations to invest in social recognition tools. A simple “thank you” goes a long way with respect to encouraging engagement among new hires, especially when you’re using social platforms that enable a millennial workforce to do so quickly and conveniently.
  3. Customize Their Experiences: Whether or not it’s a positive attribute, Millennials are known for their love of personalization. From their Spotify playlists to their Starbucks orders, customization is a central component of their daily lives. They expect this to transition to the professional world. For instance, it’s common for new staff members to get introductory materials, clothing and other items during their first few days on the job. By adding their name or including references to topics or trends they enjoy, you increase the likelihood that your new hires will have a positive outlook and impression of your dealership.

By understanding how Millennials approach their professional lives and careers, you put your dealership in a better position to create an effective onboarding program that will make your business more productive.

Remember that this generation is less loyal to their employers than previous ones, meaning your onboarding strategy is even more likely tied to the long-term success of your business than you may have originally thought.

Special thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing their insights on onboarding process. Learn more about Hireology. And join NCM’s experts for more actionable guidance for hiring the best people for your team in our Hiring Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plan classes.

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