The biggest investment you can make in your business? Hiring new talent. Yet, out of the millions of employees that responded to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace study, a measly 12% reported that they had a great onboarding experience with their employer.
12%...out of millions…that's cringe-worthy.
Without an effective new hire onboarding program, your company is not only forfeiting revenue, but you’ll also compromise your competitive positioning and ability to retain employees. Designing a strong onboarding program means going beyond mere compliance standards and paperwork. It requires communicating a clear message to new staff members that you’re invested in their success and you place value in your employees.
Want to make a real impact? Here are 5 onboarding trends and best practices to consider implementing into your program.
Most employers believe engagement should start on the new hire’s first day as an employee. However, the onboarding process should begin as soon as a candidate accepts your offer. With the war for talent becoming so competitive, employers must begin treating new hires as a part of their team before they’ve even sat in their cubicle for the first time.
To help new employees feel like they're already a welcomed member of the staff, you can extend an invite to any company-sponsored events, share noteworthy news stories about your organization, encourage them to participate in social media conversations, and send periodic emails to drop by and check in.
You can also leverage the pre-onboarding time to get paperwork done and provide the individual with any metrics, resources, or self-training modules they can use to set themselves up for success. By doing so, the new employee will feel much more relaxed when they finally set foot in the door and have a good sense of background knowledge on the company.
Personalizing the Onboarding Process
Personalization is the key to success in today’s marketplace. Both consumers and employees alike want to align themselves with brands that go the extra mile to recognize them as an individual. Just think about it: Have you ever walked into a Starbucks or a local restaurant and the server not only acknowledged you by name, but knew your guilty pleasure was a blended chocolate chip Frappuccino? It was a nice feeling, wasn't it?
Employees want to feel like they have a voice and that their individual input is helping further the company’s mission. To customize the onboarding experience, you want to help new hires build a connection with your company straight off the bat. it’s important to take things like interests, experience, and work preferences into consideration, so you’re speaking to new hires in a way that effectively resonates with them.
Get creative. Design some first week activities around their areas of interest, pair them with a mentor that complements their personality and working style, create personalized welcome messages, and use training strategies that adhere to their preferred method of learning, such as gamification.
Machine learning, A.I., and advancements in technology have begun infiltrating the modern workplace, quickly becoming a valued addition to traditional onboarding strategies. There’s no doubt that there is a lot of organizational complexity to the onboarding process. Because inducting newcomers’ is such an integral part of job satisfaction, work efficiency, and employee retention, automating parts of the onboarding experience can be tremendously beneficial. Just keep in mind, personalization is a vital part of the process, so be sure to balance automated technology with the parts of the onboarding process that require a human touch.
More and more employers have begun incorporating microlearning into their onboarding program. Microlearning concentrates on concise training content that only requires between five and ten minutes of a learner’s time. You can use videos, articles, presentations, or even audio files to communicate succinct and valuable information to your team. Not only are attention spans shrinking, but training programs that dump a boatload of information on new hires in a short period of time have proven to be less effective, as learners aren’t able to retain all the necessary information.
Helping Newcomers Achieve Cultural Harmony
In order to create an environment where new employees feel a sense of belonging, you’ll need to include a cultural assimilation strategy in your onboarding checklist. This goes beyond just communicating surface-level company values and goals and requires delving into office working styles, behaviors, and the way your employees interact with one another.
Because every organization speaks its own unique language, whether it be how achievements are celebrated, slang terms the team uses, or manager expectations. By providing new employees with important insider knowledge, you’ll help new staff feel prepared to hit the ground running from day one and reach new levels of success.
Many people can recall their own memories of a lackluster welcome, absent orientation process, or a striking discrepancy between what was communicated to them and what they experienced during their first few weeks at a new job. When a company invests in building a strong onboarding process, it’ll deliver tremendous value in the long run in the form of improved productivity, higher retention rates, accelerated individual performance, and ultimately, increased revenue.