While the importance of employee onboarding cannot be overstated, many companies don’t’ get it right. This initiation phase of employees is directly related to the overall productivity, engagement, and retention in a company.
While great care is taken to source, screen, and get the perfect fit for a role, the process of employee onboarding often goes in a rush. Teams, deadlines, and targets push the employee to quickly get on board, and often very little care is taken to initiate the employee into his role. The process of transition and initiation is either rushed or done more by default than design. If the employee is left in the lurch, having to figure it out by himself, disengagement starts right there.
A 2009 study by the Aberdeen Group of senior executives and HR staffing and recruiting functions found that 86 percent of respondents felt that a new hire’s decision to stay with a company long-term is made within the first six months of employment. Tools like Emptrust software help companies to structure the induction process better with these key steps that help to develop your onboarding process.
1. Keep it clear.
Let your new hire know what their day first and the first week is going to be before they step foot into the office. The Aberdeen survey showed that 83 percent of the highest performing organizations began employee onboarding prior to the new hire’s first day on the job.
As soon as an employee accepts the job offer, the company can start to engage with the new hire. A welcome note from their manager, snippets about the company, its work culture, a copy of the employee handbook, even photos of the team members can be sent. It is beneficial if the employee is briefed about his personal and team responsibilities early on. Access to the employee onboarding portal can be given, giving access to content that helps to understand the company and its culture a little better. Let your new hire be ready for their first day, knowing where to go, who to ask for, and even what to wear.
Once a new hire is in office, within the first week, he must get acclimated to the company routine, schedule, team structure, and processes. Let them know what’s expected of them on day one. Don’t leave your employee to learn it along the way or to figure it out by themselves. Being transparent and structured in the onboarding process goes a long way.
Be clear on goals, responsibilities, and targets, giving direction and motivation for a new hire. It also goes a long way if an employee can be shown his path and future in the company. Let him know what is expected of him, and what he can expect from the company. A lunch out with the team or the skip level manager would be great to make them feel included. The aim is to show the new hire his place and role and how he adds value to the larger processes and ultimately to the company bottom line.
2. Keep it simple.
You don’t want to tax the new hire with endless paperwork and forms to fill. The first day can be utilized with far more engaging means. Much of the paperwork can be filled online before the new hire steps into work through new hire onboarding portals. Tax forms such as W-4 or Form I–9, benefits, and payroll forms can easily be completed electronically, eliminating all paperwork. Keep the first-day narrative simple and easy.
3. Keep it ready
Keeping things and the people ready for the new hire reduces the time taken for the new hire to be productive. Having their own workspace, clean and ready, and ensuring their material, computer and tools are in perfect condition, ready and available. Get the team and the manager also ready to welcome the new hire. Go a step further, and place a welcome note or a customized gift.
4. Keep the connect
Having a “buddy” or a mentor in the first few days at a new place is a source of reassurance for all new hires. Making proper introductions with teammates, colleagues, and managers help to build connections and help ease the strain of socializing. Processes can be set up for managers and teammates to help new hires integrate with the company culture, letting them in on company norms and work ethics. Having a mentor or a buddy helps anchor the new employee to company culture and traditions, and intricacies that otherwise would be awkward for a new hire.
It’s crucial for both HR and reporting managers to check in on a new employee a week and month post-induction. Reviewing and providing relevant feedback would help the new hire steer in the right direction. High performing companies often have processes that review the engagement levels of new employees at regular intervals during the course of the first year.
5. Keep it fun
Creating a unique and company-specific onboarding ritual helps build the connect with the new hire. Many companies have amusing and distinct initiation traditions. Onboarding rituals can be developed depending on the culture and work ethics of an organization.
Keeping it simple and clear, distinct, and fun and always maintaining the connect would help ease the induction process for a new hire. Working on onboarding and reviewing its effectiveness is also crucial.