How to keep your new IT hires from jumping ship

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IT-specific onboarding programs help savvy companies bring new hires into the fold and keep them there. Here are their best practices

Kevin Hart, chief technology officer at Cox Communications, is fresh off his latest meet-and-greet session for newly minted IT hires. Once a quarter, Hart hosts about 35 incoming employees at Cox's state-of-the-art "C Tech" center, acquainting them with the culture of the cable giant, fielding questions about its technology stack, clarifying roles within the IT organization and outlining possible career paths.

Hart's presentation is all part of Cox's formal Technology Onboarding Program, which kicked off companywide last year after its start as a grassroots initiative within a specific operations team. In addition to the meet-the-CIO roundtable, the multi-month program, completed by all 150 new IT hires last year, includes an overview of the telecommunications industry, a crash course on current trends, an analysis of the competitive landscape, a roadmap to Cox's multifaceted business strategy and a deep dive into the company's technology goals and IT transformation plan.

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The Technology Onboarding Program is designed to complement Cox's general onboarding routines centered around HR and administrative practices, Hart explains. He estimates that the program, in its first year, has spurred a 15% improvement in IT productivity, he estimates, by facilitating a business-driven focus among new staff and ensuring employees understand Cox's organizational structure so they know where to get what they need. Cox's turnover rate is lower than industry average, a fact Hart attributes at least in in part to programs like the IT onboarding initiative. "Every little bit helps," he says.

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