How You Onboard Employees Can Make a Big Difference
Investing the highest levels of time and energy into your newest and most unpredictable resource might not make sense in every context – but virtually always applies with regards to the topic of employee onboarding. According to a Gallup poll, 88% of organizations do not onboard well. Yet Glassdoor reports that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve employee retention rates by 82%, and boost productivity by 70%. Forbes even cites a negative onboarding process as one of the top 3 ways to lose employees.
Refining the onboarding process involves more than a detailed checklist and a few extra tasks for HR. While the efficacy of the process will vary greatly among industries and within diverse roles, we have compiled our top 7 tips to garnish results and the rewards that go with them.
#1: Share The Wealth. Do not limit the scope of the onboarding process to HR. Every team should be prepared to play a role in the process, with roles outlined before the new hire starts. Team leaders and department peers are integral to guiding expectations within the scope of the job, while an assigned go-to person can aid with ‘who’ to ask ‘what’.
#2: Manage The Timeline. While many people will contribute to a powerful onboarding process, those duties should not be completed all at once. For example, the IT set-up and planning email should go out prior to the employee starting, while other training should be plotted specific to the context of the job.
#3: Offer Diverse Resources. Ensure that new hire resources come in all shapes, sizes and formats. In-person training (one-on-one and group), online training, videos paired with storytelling, immersive and interactive experiences, as well as un-structured time to absorb information and simply ‘meet and greet’ all offer unique advantages and opportunities.
#4: Create Concrete Milestones. Most employers casually check in with employees the first few days, the first few weeks or even well into the first month. However, consistent, assigned intervals will ensure that the right expectations are set at the right time from the right person, and provide support past the first two paychecks. Minimal best practices suggest 30-, 60- and 90-day check-ins from a direct supervisor.
#5: Think Big. The HR Exchange Network advises that onboarding programs last 90 days at minimum, while Indeed advises 100 days or more. Keeping these figures top of mind when assigning increasing responsibilities and preparing peers is key so that everyone is on the same page.
#6: Think Small. Let’s talk micro-experiences. While it is cost-effective and timely to group all new hires together in generic trainings, it’s not always engaging or productive for newbies to be lumped together for days on end. The most critical guidance is often provided in small, personalized experiences that are custom to the position at-hand while taking place amidst team members of all experience levels and perspectives. If you want to make a maximum impact, integrate micro-experiences throughout the onboarding process.
#7: Never Stop. Supporting professional (and even personal) development should not stop once an employee learns their role. Forbes advises fostering a culture of continuous learning in order to equip employees with the skills they need for today and tomorrow. By facilitating whole-person growth, employers can build trust and engagement, while upskilling their talent to align with the momentum of the organization.
In the spirit of reality, overhauling your company’s onboarding process will not happen overnight – nor should it. After all, there is a business to run that includes far more existing team members than new ones, not to mention countless clients, products and services to manage. However, making incremental improvements (think the 1% rule) in 2-3 key areas of onboarding can make a dramatic and priceless impact in employee retention, department productivity, company culture and overall business performance. And that’s an investment that makes sense.
4 Ways to Improve Employee Onboarding: http://blog.indeed.com/2019/12/06/improve-employee-onboarding/
The Onboarding Process and Its Link to Retention: https://www.hrexchangenetwork.com/employee-engagement/articles/the-onboarding-process-and-its-link-to-retention
Three Surefire Ways To Lose Employees (And Three To Ensure They Stay): https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2020/01/07/three-surefire-ways-to-lose-employees-and-three-to-ensure-they-stay/#408eef08633f