Case Study

How a New Employee Engagement Program Improves Retention



  • How to prevent early turnover from new hires
  • What to include in a new hire retention program
  • How to use technology to control for variables in the process


  • Leadership support for the initiative
  • A single point of accountability for ownership of the program
  • (optional) a Team Engine subscription to automate the process

THE PROBLEM: High Employee Turnover in the Warehouse

Working in a warehouse is a tough job. There’s the long hours walking thousands of steps on concrete floors. There’s loud noise, dirt and dust. Warehouses aren’t usually climate controlled, so workers often experience extreme swings in temperature of their working environment.

But that’s only the beginning of the challenges associated with keeping warehouse jobs filled. These workers often feel like exiled employees, banished to the shop floor and kept in the dark about company initiatives, successes, and challenges. When they’re not kept in the loop, and when their managers don’t take an active interest in them, there’s no sense of investment in the company. That lack of investment makes it easy to quit an otherwise good job for pennies on the dollar somewhere else. And it happens all the time.

When Ryan, the Training Development Manager at O’Neal Steel, noticed this was occurring in their warehouse, he started digging into the data to try to understand why.


Within the first six months of new employee tenure, the turnover rate was over 60%. And then once you cross that six-month threshold, it was dipping down to over 30%. So, you're cutting in half if you get them through the first six months," Ryan concluded.


Then they started wondering what they could do to get people engaged and get them bought in over the first six months.

Ryan added, "We believe that if they understand our culture—if they see how we do things—that they'll stay long term."



Ryan and his team knew they needed some kind of simple (but structured) program to guide new hires through their first six months at O’Neal Steel. So he developed a robust orientation program to facilitate engagement between the new employee and their manager. They branded it as “The 180 Day Experience” and defined the goals of each phase of the new hire’s tenure.

Ultimately, they wanted to make sure the employee felt welcome and invested in by the organization. Ryan knew he wanted the program to have the following components:

  • Weekly 1-on-1 check-ins for the first month
  • Monthly 1-on-1 check-ins for the remaining 5 months
  • Periodic reminders with helpful information, such as how to retrieve paystubs and use company communication platforms
  • Periodic check-ins from HR asking if training has been adequate, what additional training they would like, if the job is meeting their expectations, and what else they need to be successful in their role

What he didn’t know, however, was how to execute the program.

That is, until he found Team Engine.


Not only was Ryan able to configure the entire program to run on Team Engine, he did it in a way that automates each employee’s experience and controls for as many variables as possible. 

For example, managers are notified a day before one of their direct reports hits a new milestone and is due for a check-in. The reminder emails are effective at making sure the meeting happens, but Ryan took it a step further. Rather than just reminding them to have the meeting, he lays out specifics on where the employee should be in their onboarding journey, as well as talking points for discussion.

He also sends text message reminders to the new employees with helpful information and reminders as they hit certain milestones in their first 180 days.



Turnover in the warehouse at O’Neal Steel has been trending downward since implementation of The 180 Day Experience. Fewer new hires are leaving because they’re more engaged with their jobs, which Ryan and Mindy, the HR Manager at O'Neal Steel, believe is a result of the sense of belonging and acknowledgement they have at work.


It's the actual touchpoint of our leadership—whether it’s the supervisor, the manager, or HR—showing them that we are valuing them and we're invested in them.


They’ve seen additional benefits to using Team Engine outside of The 180 Day experience, too, including improved communication among the leadership team and fast communication with team members. 



The key takeaway is that you can’t bring on a new employee and just expect them to find their way on their own. Drafting an intentional roadmap for their onboarding journey like Ryan did is one of the best things you can do to invest in the longevity of new employees (and lessen the burden to be constantly hiring).

And while you don’t have to have a Team Engine subscription to facilitate your program, we believe automating it with technology is the true key to success. That’s because all the steps have to happen, with consistency, with every single new hire—and there’s a lot of moving pieces to keep track of. 

For help establishing your own onboarding program, or to learn how Team Engine can help automate your existing process, sign up for a risk-free trial today!

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