5 tips for a successful onboarding experience
The onboarding process is your employee’s first glimpse into what it will be like working at your organization, so it is no wonder that as companies look at ways to improve employee engagement and retention rates onboarding has become a hot topic. As you look to evolve your onboarding strategy, here are five tips to success:
Understand that onboarding is an ongoing process: Onboarding begins before a new hire’s first day and generally spans until the new hire’s 3-month mark, if not beyond. Often, the period between offer acceptance and the new hire’s first day on the job can be a black hole, but companies should not discount this time as part of the onboarding experience. The ease of filling out new hire paperwork, details given about the new hire’s first day, and communication with HR after the new hire has accepted the position all have a significant impact on the new hire’s first impressions of your organization. Just as important are the weeks following your new hire’s start date; you want to continue helping your new hire to get acclimated to the organization by making onboarding a process that spans, at minimum, the first three months of employment and enables the employee to build connections in multiple areas of the organization.
Leverage your LMS for pre-hire date activities:
The last thing new hires want to do during their first day on the job is sit in a conference room all day watching videos, or even worse, listening to PowerPoint presentations. Automate as much new hire training as possible so employees can take it prior to their first day, or at their own pace during their first week. This allows you to get more creative during the formal onboarding sessions by bringing in guest speakers, giving new hires an opportunity to network and get to know one another, and infusing more interactivity into the process.
Onboard as a cohort:
The rush to get your new hire acclimated and operating in their new role as soon as possible is understandable, after all, it is why they were hired in the first place! Some companies insist on starting new hires all on the same day, while others take a more fluid approach. If it is not possible to onboard everyone on the same day, consider holding new hire events at least once per month so new hires from the previous month can have an opportunity to mingle and interact with one another.
Make sure new hires know what the organization does:
This shouldn’t need to be stated, but having been a new employee at companies ranging from five employees to tens of thousands, it needs to be said. Make sure your employees have a solid understanding of the company’s history, mission, and all the company’s major product lines and services. Many organizations are so large and siloed that they allow this to slip through the cracks, but your employees are a constant representation of your brand, so it is imperative they can speak to it.
Evaluate your onboarding process:
There is no point in putting in the effort to revamp and improve your onboarding process if you aren’t going to measure the impact. Many companies leverage surveys that are given to new hires after they have been with the company for three to six months. While this data is important, consider asking for direct feedback at the end of a new hire’s first week, or asking new hires to fill out a quick survey regarding their first five to ten days while the experience is fresh in their minds. This will also help you get a pulse regarding the initial onboarding experience that you can compare with data you collect at the three to six month mark to measure program satisfaction over time.