By Christy Decker, Director of Human Resources, OMG, LLC
According to research, an employee’s most productive time in a new job is usually within their first 6 months of employment. This means that employers have a great opportunity to engage, train, and build meaningful relationships with their latest hires during this very crucial period. In a new and uncertain world shaped by the pandemic, with workers switching jobs at high rates, this time is more critical.
If you are looking to give your onboarding programs a much-needed makeover, keep in mind that to truly engage new hires, you have to get at the core of what most employees care about —being successful in their current role, forming effective and strong work relationships and being given growth and development opportunities.
Employee onboarding is certainly one of the most important steps during the recruiting process. Effective and comprehensive onboarding is the first impression that a new employee will have of your company. Many organizations invest all their budget and time courting candidates with telephone calls, recruitment campaigns, and company videos, failing to focus on key opportunities at the start of the employer and employee relationship. Effective talent management must begin on day one and through an employee’s first year of employment.
What is Employee Onboarding?
Onboarding is the process through which an employee gains the requisite skills, knowledge, and behaviors to become an effective organizational team member. It’s essentially the process of integrating new employees into your organization and corporate culture.
According to SHRM, “onboarding is the process of helping new hires adjust to social and performance aspects of their new jobs quickly and smoothly.” Onboarding is often confused with orientation. While orientation is necessary for completing paperwork and other routine tasks, onboarding is a comprehensive process involving management and other employees and can last up to 12 months.
Importance of Onboarding
Effective onboarding helps your workers feel comfortable in their new environment, engages new hires by creating workers that are committed to the company’s success and helps retain employees by making them feel like a member of the team.
A successful onboarding strategy will reduce attrition and increase employee engagement, both of which impact your customers’ satisfaction as well as your bottom line.
According to Employee Benefit News, employers spend an average of 33% of a worker’s annual salary to replace just one employee. Let’s put that into perspective: It will cost $12,000 to replace an entry-level employee making $36,000 a year. It will cost $20,000 to replace a manager making $60,000 a year.
Smart Steps for a Successful Onboarding
Provide Early Career Guidance and Support
Overall, the employee onboarding experience you provide should set the stage for a productive and successful career for all your new hires. This is important because they will know what is expected of them in terms of performance and effort.
Today’s new hires expect an onboarding experience that allows for a considerably greater degree of customization, flexibility, and personalization. When the path is laid clear, all your new hires will be able to better control their future with your company and know when to reach out to their peers or colleagues for assistance.
Provide a Company Tour
Take the new employee on a comprehensive tour of your entire operation. Make sure that you provide a glimpse of the essential things happening in your office. Also, point out key areas, like the human resources offices, the kitchen, and points of areas that would interest each individual you are onboarding.
Help New Hires Build Connections
Whether it is a new hire lunch (virtual or in-person), team-building activities, or strategic introductions to other team members, relationships and friendships are critical to employee retention. Harvard Business Review reveals the two biggest reasons for employee turnover among new hires are the inability to adapt to a new culture and a lack of established relationships.
This is why you should use introductions to provide your new hires with timely access to workers at your organization who would make excellent mentors. Providing mentoring support and guidance will give your new employees an additional layer of comfort and assurance in their new job.
Similarly, coaching can help your new hires understand their role in helping your organization achieve its vision, prioritize goals, create strategies in order to accomplish those goals, and develop strategies for building healthy and lasting internal relationships.
Foster a Cultural Fit
Immersing your new hires in your organizational culture is probably one of the best and simplest ways to ease their transition into their new jobs. According to a 2017 survey, 79% of managers feel that it’s very important for new employees to assimilate into the company culture successfully.
Also, keep in mind that company culture can be important to performance. 94% of company executives and 88% of workers believe that distinct company culture is crucial to success.
Clarifying what makes your company special and unique and involving new employees in work-related social activities can be the best tool that managers have that helps new hires feel they are part of the team.
Inform Your Current Employees about a New Recruit
It can be extremely daunting and anxiety-inducing for many people to start a new job. You should always ask existing employees to introduce themselves to the new employees and make them feel welcome.
It can be hard for anyone to absorb a lot of information, such as company policies, all at once, let alone an anxious and confused new employee. Managers and supervisors should consider employing microlearning methods. Instead of overwhelming new employees with too much information, it is better to impart policies and processes incrementally. This will help improve knowledge retention, making the onboarding process simpler and less intimidating.
You should make it simple for new employees to clarify any policies and procedures. Also, encourage them to ask relevant questions and emphasize that they will not have to face any negative repercussions for doing so.
Help New Hires Envision an Excellent Future
To develop trust and loyalty, it is best to onboard new employees in a manner that helps them envision a long and productive future at your company.
Take new employees on a journey of discovery about your organization that includes facts, memories, intangibles, and stories from employees regarding their working experience at the company. If you do this, they will feel enthusiastic and happy to make an impact
Onboarding is the start of an employee’s relationship with your organization. However, today’s talent economy requires dynamic and forward-thinking companies. They need to evaluate and assess how they bring new hires into their organizational culture and get them up to speed, usually virtually, so that they can be productive as soon as possible.
When you tie employee onboarding into the whole employee experience, you will get a much better and broader picture of what you should do during your new hires’ first few days, weeks and months.
Taking suitable measures to ensure a positive and healthy experience right from the first contact through every milestone will considerably affect how your new hires react and engage with their new positions.