Do you remember your first experience when you started a job? Was it positive, or did you find it quite challenging to settle into the company?
Gallup found that only 12% of employees found that their company did a great job at onboarding new employees.
Some employees only get introduced to the full team, weeks into employment. Others find themselves with no clear direction in their role, and some have severe imposter syndrome.
It’s evident that employee onboarding needs to change, and here are the best practices to make sure you do a great job at it.
It’s sometimes referred to as organizational entry – it’s the process of getting new employees accustomed to the company. This can include everything from the company culture, to the actual work.
While it’s true that onboarding can be a lengthy method – it is a beneficial process. It includes all programs, practices, and policies – ensuring that new employees integrate comfortably into the company.
In the short term and long term, this can help retain employee satisfaction, and keep turnaround low.
Below are the nine best practices for employee onboarding.
As you’ll be aware, the first day is always the most daunting experience. When an employee starts a new job, you need to make sure that they feel welcomed and useful.
Firstly, make sure that their work is set up, and they understand all their roles and responsibilities. They should not be made to feel like a burden and passed from one worker to another.
For instance, make sure that all their paperwork is ready in advance – don’t make them anymore confused, or keep them waiting.
First days can be mundane for employers and supervisors, but they make a lasting impression on the employee.
On a similar note, you should plan your onboarding process like you would any other meeting or presentation.
Identify what you would like to achieve from the first day and ensure that the day runs smoothly.
Throughout your planning, consider what impression your onboarding will have on your new hires – including what they will think about the culture and work environment.
The HR Specialist of WoWGrade and TrustMyPaper, online writing services, says “The best kind of a work environment is the one that lets you learn and acquire new skills all the time. Your employees need the challenge to keep them in the best shape.”
Another aspect to consider is; always to make sure that the message you portray in onboarding is consistent.
If you want to think outside of the box and showcase how innovative your company is – gamification could be the answer.
Ultimately, a bold move like this can engage and motivate new employees in ways you could only imagine.
For instance, you could incorporate leaderboards, bonus prizes, and challenges to help make the first day enjoyable, motivating, and competitive. There’s no doubt this will motivate them for an extended period.
Remember, if your employees are engaging with customers, their happiness could also benefit exceptional onboarding process. You can also use other forms of innovation, not only in your onboarding process, but in your company.
Every individual has different strengths and talents. During the onboarding process, if you don’t focus on these strengths and don’t reward your employees, you could deter them.
When employees have the opportunity to use their strengths, it encourages them to work harder, and provide more to the company.
If you hire an employee and ignore their talents; throwing them into a role that doesn’t recognize their skills, you won’t keep them.
Onboarding has the potential to prevent new employees from looking elsewhere for a job that appreciates them more.
If you have the resources, you should consider providing mentors to new employees. These will stay with them, basically, throughout their entire work life – but they’re especially useful in the beginning.
Mentors help with easing in new employees to their new role, and the company culture.
Mentors can simply provide knowledge of the company. If needed, they’ll also help them thoroughly will their work and any problems.
Employees with a mentor undoubtedly become more invested in the organization – giving them a chance to make a stable connection, even in the first week.
If the thought of a “mentor” doesn’t reflect your company, you can provide “buddies.” Essentially, they’re the same thing but a lot more casual.
“Buddies will focus more on socializing and helping the new employee feel more at home. Once an employee builds meaningful relationships with their colleagues, they feel like they can integrate themselves easier. Comfort is key.” Emilia Dawkins, HR specialist at Studicus
Sometimes the traditional processes are the best once. Sure, workplaces have changed, but onboarding hasn’t significantly changed.
We recommend using a blended combination of both formal and innovative practices for onboarding.
For instance, the use of gamification, alongside an office tour or a “meet the team” presentation.
An extra benefit of this is that new employees know what to expect. On your first day, the familiar can be comforting.
New employees should not be isolated from the rest of the team. Even if you believe it is in their best interests.
Onboarding should be fun and interactive and give them a healthy outlook into the team their entering.
If you’ve hired multiple people at the same time, bring them all together, and allow them to work in small groups.
As we mentioned, the social connections that employees make can significantly change their overall experience. Inarguably, great social relationships at work improve retention.
In the first week, employees should have a meeting with their manager. Microsoft actually experimented with this and found that there is a benefit to this (scary) one-to-one.
One-to-ones have a terrible reputation. Ultimately, they should have the employee’s best interests in mind.
With the onboarding process, this meeting should focus on creating a sense of belonging to the new employee. It should encourage them to be more confident and express that their ideas are essential.
New employees that have this manager meeting will likely collaborate more, and participate in other meetings.
In fact, all our onboarding tips should focus on helping the new employee to feel more confident.
You’ll never know how well your onboarding process is unless you ask. You must give your new employees multiple ways to provide feedback – so they can improve your service.
The use of online surveys is an innovative way to do this – make sure that its anonymous as this gives them more confidence to be honest.
We also recommend using open-ended questions and encouraging discussion. This is a thoughtful way to gather meaningful feedback without putting your new employee in an uncomfortable situation.
The takeaway from this should be that the new employee should be the prime focus. Ensuring that they’re comfortable, appreciated, and happy is the most important thing you can do.
Achieving this differs from company to company. We highly recommend focusing on socialization and being completely organized and consistent from the start.
With a blend of innovation and traditional onboarding practices, you’ll not only ensure that your new employee loves their first week, but they continue admiring their company throughout their employment.