When new employees are brought into an organization, the most important thing a company can do is to set them up properly for success in their new role.
By having a well-developed employee onboarding program as a standard element of the new hire process, new employees can get integrated into the company and learn ethics and policies, organizational norms, and key objectives they will be working towards in their new positions.
According to research from Aberdeen Group, there is a direct relation between effective onboarding and employee retention and engagement, with 91 percent of employees retained at ‘best-in-class’ organizations having a formal onboarding program, and 33 percent year-over-year improvement in hiring manager satisfaction.
During this critical introductory period, it is vital for companies to make sure they have certain key elements in place to ensure successful integration into the organization.
One of the most important steps a company can take when executing an onboarding program is to begin the process prior to the new hire’s start date.
In addition to saving time on their first day, starting the onboarding program before day one gives the new hire a head start on completing company paperwork and reading up on key documents, enabling them to be more prepared and engaged when they finally begin their new role.
Documents like I-9s and emergency contact forms are examples of items that can be completed through the company onboarding portal prior to their start date. According to Aberdeen Group, 69 percent of best-in-class organizations begin the onboarding process before day one.
When designing an onboarding program, add personal elements specific to the new hire’s department and job responsibilities, such as individual goals to achieve or certain departmental procedures related to their position.
By adding these personal touches into the mix, the overall onboarding experience is enhanced and the new employee will feel more prepared and engaged compared to utilizing a more standard format. Also, introduce them to the key team members they will be working with in various departments throughout the company to begin developing the important interpersonal relationships needed for success.
Communicating your employment brand and company culture is another crucial step in successful onboarding programs, which allows your new hire to learn and integrate to the norms and values of the company and ensures a smooth transition into their new role.
One way to do this is to provide short videos the candidate can view on the company career portal in advance of their start date, or by providing company-branded promotional items that convey overall values.
By communicating these important elements, new employees will better understand how they fit into the organization and what is needed to achieve success.
It is very important to keep the onboarding process fun and engaging, which will help to ensure that information is retained and new hires are paying attention and learning.
Teambuilding activities such as office-wide scavenger hunts, group creative exercises, and new hire breakfasts all contribute to the overall onboarding experience and aid in the assimilation process.
By making it interactive and encouraging participation, employers can also gain an understanding of how the new employee communicates and engages with other staff, which can then be used to determine specific projects to assign or the possibility of a promotion down the road.
Finally, assign a company mentor to act as a resource for the new employee, preferably from outside of their department. This helps them to further develop interpersonal relationships and gives them a different perspective on the various components of the organization and how they work collectively to achieve success.
Additionally, the new employee may feel uncomfortable asking certain questions to their direct manager or department members, so having an additional resource available can go a long way in helping to make them feel at ease and ready to perform.
In addition to the previously mentioned tips, one of the most important things to remember is that onboarding is an ongoing process, not a one-time event.
By going one step at a time and presenting the information in easily digestible amounts, you will ensure better understanding and retention of key information and increase the probability of success and employee retention. As the saying goes, “It’s better to go slow in the right direction than to go fast in the wrong direction.”
Also read: How Technology Can Save Onboarding
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