The quicker new hires feel welcome and prepared for their jobs, the quicker they will be able to effectively and confidently contribute to the success of the company.
A 2015 report on onboarding released by SHRM stated that new employees who attended a well-structured onboarding orientation program were 69 percent more likely to remain at a company for up to three years. Onboarding is a smooth transition of new hires adjusting to social and performance phases of their new jobs.
Onboarding new hires at an organization should be a strategic process that will ensure high employee retention rates. It’s important the employee's first interactions with their employer create a positive impression of the department and company as a whole. They need to be shown that the company not only is excited to have them join the team, but that they care about their success by having an up-to-date hiring process.
Here are five ingredients that hiring professionals should include in the new hire orientation process:
1. One part proactivity
Before a new hire arrives on their first day, make sure everything is organized accordingly. A pre-course to the new hire training program should be set up before Day One.
Put together an outline of what their onboarding schedule will be like and links to resources to let them preview the training. Are there any assessments they can take before they arrive the first day? Is there any paperwork they can complete beforehand, so they can jump straight into training? Anything they can get out of the way ahead of time, that will make them feel prepared and less overwhelmed on Day One, should be considered as part of a proactive onboarding process.
In addition to their schedule, an appropriate workspace should be set up. There is nothing proactive or efficient about having to share a cubicle/computer with another employee until a space is set up. It may seem like common sense, but make sure to provide the employee with a personal workspace, computer, ID, credentials and any other necessary tools they will need to do their job effectively.
Also, current employees should be informed about the new hire prior to arrival. Send out a ‘welcome to the team’ email announcement to coworkers, and make them feel accepted by stopping by their office for a personal introduction.
2. A splash of making connections
Managers are responsible for increasing job satisfaction by jump starting relationships.
A survey conducted by SHRM of 600 U.S. employees in 2013 found that relationships with co-workers are very important to 41 percent of respondents. Set clear and realistic objectives for new hires and encourage them to use time during their training to build relationships through the onboarding process.
New employees need to feel socially comfortable and accepted by their peers and superiors. Try assigning a peer mentor and rotate current employees throughout the onboarding process to allow new hires time to work with their peers in different areas. [click to tweet] These connections are important for getting to know employees and the inner workings of other departments.
HR should facilitate onboarding by actively making time to engage in brief chats or arranging informal social interactions, such as office tours, lunches or coffee breaks. This form of engagement allows new hires to relax in their work environment and opens the door for smoother communication down the road.
3. Mix in some coaching
The HR department and managers can influence new hires by not only sharing information, but also serving as a workplace mentor. In fact, the previously mentioned survey from SHRM reported that only 56 percent of employees were satisfied with management’s recognition of their performance.
Everyone learns at a different pace and has a certain style of retaining information -- have some patience when showing them the ropes. This is a building process. Managers need to have conversations (not just one!) about what they expect from new employees. And those expectations need to be reasonable.
A new employee needs to have not only the skills, but also confidence to perform in the role they were hired for, and coaching new hires will give them the feedback they need for self-assurance.
4. Secret support sauce
New employees need time to get assimilated to the company culture, expectations, and training, but they cannot be expected to reach milestones on their own.
A 2013 study from the Aberdeen Group of 230 organizations reported that only 29 percent of new hires who go through onboarding at 'Industry Average' companies reached milestones in the first 12 months. Even the top 20 percent of performing companies, or ‘Best-in-Class,’ only produced 62 percent of successful new hires in the first year, through their onboarding program. New hires may not be reaching their goals due to a lack of follow through in the onboarding process.
Once they have been there for a week or two -- and are a bit more up to speed -- check in and ask how they are feeling, what they are not getting out of their training, and what is working thus far.
Check in regularly with new hires to make sure they are receiving the support they need, long after the initial onboarding period. Keep open lines of communication and make sure to discuss their strengths and weaknesses.
5. Then, top it off with some feedback
When integrating appraisals into the onboarding process, regular, brief meetings are helpful. Think more along the lines of “pulse” check-ins, rather than full diagnostic meetings, as new hire’s progress and their managers, mentors and HR provide guidance.
The benefit of transparent feedback is that it helps new employees understand how others view them. Feedback from all sides can help resolve any disagreements early on.
Remember that feedback is a two way street. Ask new employees what was helpful during the onboarding process. Did they find the pre-course programs helpful? Did they receive clear enough training to understand their new role? Are there any ways the onboarding program could be improved?
These questions are helpful for management and the future growth and development of the orientation process.
What key ingredients would you add to the new hire orientation process?