Plus, 7 Essential Employee Onboarding Strategies That Will Attract and Retain Your Best Team Ever
“What else can we do to keep our best people?”
Here’s the answer:
Employee loyalty is directly correlated to an inclusive and humanized onboarding process.
One study found 91% of employees stayed at least a year in companies with a strong onboarding process, and 69% stayed up to three years.
On the flip side, 22% of turnover happens within the first 45 days of being hired.
So what can you do to enjoy the 91%, and avoid the 22%?
An Employee Onboarding Story
Put yourself in a new hire’s shoes. Imagine this:
You walk in the doors of your new company on your first day of work.
You’re excited but also nervous, not knowing what to expect.
People glance at you curiously, but then move on, and you’re not sure where to go first. You decide to look for the people who hired you. Walking around, you eventually find them and they smile and welcome you to the team.
One of them stops what he’s doing and says, “You probably want to know where to start. I’ll show you.” Thinking he’s being helpful, he takes you to your station, a nice clean empty desk with a computer.
Then he says, “I’ll send over your new supervisor to get you started.”
A bit later, your supervisor comes over while on the phone working on another project. She shakes your hand and smiles while talking to the person on the phone at the same time. Finally, she hangs up, and talks to you about your skillset and prior experience. Then she says,
“We probably need to get you set up with HR first, so let’s do that today, and then tomorrow we can talk about your first assignment.”
Now, there are so many things the new employer does in this story that reveal a failed employee onboarding process. But the number one failure – the single worst thing you can do when bringing on a new employee – is what the supervisor does at the end:
Sending you to HR to do a bunch of paperwork.
As Association Career HQ says, “Orientation is not onboarding.”
Filling out forms. Waiting for approvals to come back. Signing agreements. Getting passwords created and accounts set up and insurance worked out and payroll up to speed – these tasks all fall into the same category: BORING.
Boring but necessary, for sure. But is paperwork and bureaucracy really the best way to welcome a new hire? Let’s be clear about something – no one enjoys this part of life.
There are far better ways to welcome and onboard a new employee, the first of which is, welcome them! Have someone there to greet them on their first day.
Here are 7 more of them (plus a bonus 8th):
7 Employee Onboarding Tips to Increase Loyalty and Cut Costs
1. Do Orientation Tasks Before First Work Day
Again – orientation and paperwork has to be done. But don’t do it on the employee’s first day on the job. Do it before that. Get it out of the way during the ramp-up to the first day. You can do most of these things online now, so the person doesn’t even have to be there for most of it.
This way, you can plan their first day to be one that integrates them with the team and gets them going on some real work.
2. New Employee Cheat Sheet
What tools do they need? What access to what software should already be ready before they arrive?
Create a New Employee Cheat Sheet that has all this sort of information on it.
Does the copy machine have codes? Is there an employee lunch program they can pay into or a fitness incentive class? Where are the key managers located? Is there a set of phone numbers and email addresses everyone should have? Is there a special entrance and exit process after hours?
Think about everything your employees need to do their jobs, and put as much of that information as you can in one place so the new employee has it all at their fingertips, from day one.
What you’re doing here is eliminating uncertainty. “Where do I go for this?” That’s a question you want to minimize as much as possible. No one else wants to be bothered with it, and the new employee doesn’t want to keep asking it.
3. “Hi, Nice to Meet You”
No one likes working with strangers. If you call yourself a team, then BE a team.
Go around and introduce the new hire to as many people as possible – and not just the ones they’ll work with directly. The first week is so critical for new employees to feel welcomed into the culture of their workplace. Getting these relationships off on the right foot takes more than just a quick hello with people as they try to do their jobs.
Facilitate lunches and after-work hangouts with new staff. Have staff meetings where new employee introductions are central to the agenda, not an afterthought.
The error so many companies make is to become so task-oriented that they overlook the humanity of the people around them. Just getting stuff done isn’t the goal of life or work. That ‘stuff’ will be a lot more profitable and fulfilling when you have a functional team that enjoys working together.
4. The Long-Bearded-Guy Trick
Okay, you don’t really need a guy with a long beard to do this. But you do need a mentorship program for new hires.
You need people on your team who have been around a while and know the ins and outs of the company. They can rattle of some history, share some fun anecdotes about your new boss, and recount some highs and lows the company has been through.
A mentor can offer perspective and give new employees the confidence that this is a person they can trust.
This is the key to a mentorship process your staff will buy into: Make mentorship part of the job description of the people you ask to do it. That way, they won’t see it as a burden you’re piling on that is pulling them away from their “real” work. This is part of their work, part of what you pay them to do.
Mentorship is more than just showing someone around for a day. It’s something that can be spread out over several weeks, or even months, and involve multiple people. It could also involve some job shadowing to see what other key people do.
5. Every Luke Needs a Yoda
The most talented person in the world still needs help when they get a new job. Your employee onboarding process should include relevant trainings created for that position.
Again, different jobs have different types of complexity, so how your employee trainings look will vary greatly. But training programs can be used to develop needed skills, introduce software systems and tools the employee must know how to use, and promote long-term expertise and competence.
6. We’re All In This Together
You want to break through feelings of isolation and being an ‘outsider’ immediately and persistently for the first few months your new employee is on the job.
One great way to do this is by getting them involved in some kind of collaborative project right out of the gate. The sooner they feel part of a team, the less you’ll have to worry about them feeling out of place and not included.
Teamwork promotes friendship. Friendship promotes loyalty.
7. Double the Feedback
No one will be an expert on Day 1. Or Day 8. Build extra time for feedback and skill development the first few months on the job.
If a manager normally checks in with an employee once a month, have them do it once a week for new employees. Also, make it clear why you’re doing this – to help them iron out mistakes and quickly gain and master the skills they need to succeed in their job.
New employees need to believe managers and supervisors know them and want them to succeed. They need to believe their supervisors are approachable. Taking some extra time the first few weeks to work out the kinks as they settle in to their tasks is the single best way to achieve this.
Employee Onboarding Goal: Growth
All these onboarding tasks have one goal underlying them: Company growth and stability.
Effective onboarding fosters loyalty.
It connects new hires to your mission by involving them in your company’s story.
It sets clear expectations, and communicates a culture that reflects your values. Not the values you have posted on a wall, but the values you actually believe and live out.
The Most Important Onboarding Strategy of All
Onboarding ultimately begins in the hiring process, from the first point of contact.
What information do you collect, and when do you collect it? What do you ask in each interview round? What are you communicating about your values, professionalism, and preparation during the hiring process? This too is onboarding.
When you use a hiring professional like PainLess Hire, we can help you maximize the effectiveness of your hiring process so your new hire already feels like part of the team before they take that first step in your door.