An onboarding strategy is one of the most important processes your company should adopt. For one thing, it’s your first chance as an employer to define expectations and convince new staff to become invested in your company and its work. It’s the time when new hires are supported to shift from an individual mentality to that of a team. And it’s an opportunity for your business to show how well it’s organized, as it manages logistics during those first few days.
Effective onboarding strategies make a difference. In fact, employees onboarded through a standard process have 54% greater new hire productivity and are 50% more likely to retain those new employees. Yet one-fifth of companies have no formal program.
Even if you have a standard onboarding policy, there’s always room for improvement. Here are a few things that may be missing from your strategy.
A new hire’s onboarding should begin as soon as they accept the job offer.
Starting onboarding early will help that employee manage the learning curve that comes with any new job. Sending in-depth briefing notes and an employee handbook a few weeks before they start will allow employees to absorb that information well in advance and on their own schedule. There shouldn’t be radio silence from an employer, either — a call with a team lead or manager can go a long way in answering a new employee’s questions and assuring them they’ve made the right decision.
This is also an opportunity to get a head start on building company loyalty. Consider delivering a booklet outlining job perks and branded company gear. These small gestures can help employees understand that they’re a valued member of your team.
Effective early onboarding will foster an environment where hires are eager, informed, and excited to walk through the company doors on day one.
A Team-wide Welcome
Managers and HR departments shouldn’t be the only ones aware of an employee’s start date. Your onboarding strategy should include steps to ensure new hires feel welcomed by the entire staff team.
This can take many forms. For example, use your internal newsletter or intranet to post a short biography and photo of the new team member. This will mean your staff recognizes their face and qualifications on the first day.
Assign new hires a mentor within the team. This person can ease rookie staff members into the workflow of a company, and serve as a guide during their first weeks. Any new hire who has ever wondered the location of the bathroom or refrigerator will understand the importance of this latter role. A mentor can also serve as an alternative point-person for new employees who may be intimidated to speak with management.
Onboarding is not all about tax forms and direct deposit sheets. Remember to brief new team members on your company culture. Does everyone go for a beer after work on Friday? Is free coffee provided each morning? Make sure staff know how they can reap the benefits of your positive workplace culture.
Onboarding shouldn’t be completed within an employee’s first week. Consistency and longevity are two elements often missing from a company’s onboarding strategy.
Evidence shows that an ongoing onboarding process can make a huge difference for both staff and management. Yet only 37% of all companies have onboarding periods that extend beyond one month. Ideal onboarding lasts anywhere between 90 days and one year and includes regular benchmark reviews, professional development opportunities, and check-ins to ensure an employee is clear on their workplace expectations.
Ultimately, onboarding success requires the investment of an entire team. By adding the above elements to your onboarding strategy and having systems in place to help move the entire process along, you’ll soon be an onboarding whiz.
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