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Getting to Know Your Designer
In this issue, we examine how fabs work with their design customers, educating them on the critical elements of fabrication needed to be successful, as well as the many tradeoffs involved. How well do you really know your customer? What makes for a closer, more synchronized working relationship?
In this issue, the biggest names in PCB manufacturing share their economic outlook for the upcoming year and beyond. As you will see, they were all bullish on our industry, but there was some apprehension as well. No one wants to get burned by another the supply chain disruption.
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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
The New Chapter
By Hannah Nelson & Paige Fiet
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The New Chapter: Effective Strategies for New Hires
How do we retain the best talent with an ever-changing workforce? Employees seem to be switching companies almost as soon as they are hired, which leaves many employers struggling to retain a qualified workforce.
I believe the answer lies in a stronger onboarding process that showcases a positive work environment and fosters growth among new hires. Here are four ways that companies can do that.
1. Start Onboarding Before Work Starts
Think back to when you were hired for your first job, maybe in high school. You know the day, time, and place you started your first day on the job, and that’s it. You were incredibly nervous because you didn’t know how the first day would go.
This is how many new hires feel about starting their first day in a professional setting. I felt anxious about my first internship, but my manager stayed in touch with me from the moment I was hired. He quickly introduced himself, asked if I had any questions, and sent regular emails until I started work. On the first day of work, I met my team and was told who to contact if I had questions about certain areas of my project. I felt incredibly welcomed on the team and motivated to start my first project.
The same cannot be said with my second internship, however. This time, I didn’t know who my manager was until the week before I started. I didn’t know where to go or whom within the company to contact if I had questions. I felt lost and did not feel welcomed on the team. I felt discouraged throughout the entire summer internship and did not want to continue working on this team.
Overall, it’s better to start earlier than later when it comes to the onboarding process. Being hired for a new job is exciting and nerve-racking. The earlier the company starts the onboarding process, the better equipped the employee will be. This can be done through one-on-one meetings, emails, or even a team call to meet your new hire. From my experience, some best practices for hiring include having the manager contact the employee as early as possible, letting the employee know what the first day or first week of work will look like for them, and having programs in place to keep strong back-and-forth communication between managers and their new hires.
2. Set Clear Goals and Expectations
As a former intern and incoming new employee, I have learned that setting clear goals and expectations allows the employee to succeed long-term and lets the employer understand the capabilities of the employee. In my previous summer internships, when clear goals were laid out, I understood where I needed to be and what I was expected to do. This motivated me to accomplish the goals set before me. I even wanted to exceed expectations and learn more than was required.
In my first internship, these goals were discussed in one-on-one meetings with my supervisor, who provided feedback on my progress. Positive and constructive criticism helped me see areas where I needed to improve and grow into a stronger employee. By meeting company expectations, I felt wanted, as though I belonged in the job.
In my second internship, the goals were initially made clear so that I understood the job at hand, but my employer’s expectations didn’t follow through in subsequent conversations. I met one-on-one with my supervisor only twice that summer with very little feedback.
I feel that feedback is so crucial because it reassures new employees that they are meeting company expectations. Without set expectations and goals, new hires may feel like the days drag on and they may even want to quit the job within the first few months.
3. Know What Makes or Breaks Mentorship
Many companies provide mentorship programs. Mentors help new hires acclimate to the company by providing them with guidance and support. They can help new employees feel valued and motivated, which may lead to greater productivity.
I’ve had both good and bad mentors. Some truly wanted to help me acclimate to the company’s culture, while others didn’t even seem to want to be my mentor. They made me feel like I was wasting their time, which ultimately held me back. The mentors who truly wanted to make a difference in my internship experience helped me feel valued—both as an employee and a person. These mentors provided professional advice and I was more motivated to work.
4. Consider Growth Opportunities
Growth and development opportunities help employees feel invested in their role and lead to successes at the company. New employees want to know when there is room to grow within the company. Providing professional development opportunities—such as mentorship programs, leadership development, and additional training—can help new employees grow and feel invested in their role.
Another excellent option is to provide regular check-ins with employees. They allow the employer and the employee to identify and discuss growth, as well as support and potential issues. They also build a strong employee-employer relationship.
Employee retention is a critical factor in any company's success. A positive onboarding experience can be a significant contributor to that success. By starting the onboarding process early, setting clear goals and expectations, providing effective mentorship, and offering growth opportunities, employers can create a welcoming and supportive environment for new hires. It can help new employees feel valued and motivated, which can lead to greater productivity and job satisfaction, as well as higher retention rates. Companies that prioritize the onboarding process are likely to see better employee engagement and, perhaps, an improvement to their bottom line.
This column originally appeared in the April 2023 issue of PCB007 Magazine.
More Columns from The New ChapterThe New Chapter: Easing the Learning Curve for Young Professionals
The New Chapter: My Review of Happy Holden’s ‘24 Essential Skills for Engineers’
The New Chapter: Teach the Terminology
The New Chapter: Reimagining PCB Design in Education
The New Chapter: The Pros and Cons of Tribal Knowledge
The New Chapter: Smoothing the Rocky Road of Onboarding
The New Chapter: Four Steps to Developing an Improvement Process
The New Chapter: It’s a Brave, New Workforce