What you’re missing in your employee on-boarding strategy

Seeing as you can’t put a price on people power, onboarding is an increasingly important priority for numerous businesses in a wide range of different sectors. Despite the fact technology has advanced to a point where countless careers are under threat from machines, the indispensable attributes of accustomed employees cannot be beaten.

On top of that, the recovery of world economies in recent times has meant more organisations are bringing in new staff, which in turn calls for onboarding programs. This growth has also brought about more mergers and acquisitions, which also calls for amalgamated workforces to be taught about new core values and daily procedures.

Even so, the process of onboarding is easier said than done. Turning unfamiliar and nonplussed new hires into productive and effective members of staff in the shortest time possible is no mean feat. During this time, recent recruits will also be formulating ideas about their future with the company, which forces onboarding programs to think about retention incentives too.

Therefore, coming up with the right approach has given many organisations a severe headache, especially if it doesn’t have the desired effect. If this sounds like a familiar scenario, read on to find out what you’re missing in your employee on-boarding strategy.


Start onboarding before your new hires’ first day

One of the biggest mistakes a business can make is waiting until a new employee’s first day before starting the onboarding process. As soon as potential recruits fill out their application forms and attend interviews, they should be given an insight into what the company is all about.

Not only does this increase enthusiasm and create greater competition, it also makes a strong first impression and makes new members of staff feel like they have made the right decision.

Delay the onboarding process and employees will struggle to get up to speed straight away. In the worst-case scenario, they could develop a negative attitude towards the job or pick up ever-lasting bad habits.

So, to avoid this from happening, you should send employees a personal welcome note, an information pack, and maybe even a small gift. You can publicise their arrival in the company newsletter, set up their workspace, schedule onboarding meetings, order business cards, assign them a mentor, and arrange a welcome lunch for their first day.


Make onboarding a company wide process

There will be a temptation to develop specific onboarding processes for particular roles. Although this can be beneficial from an individual perspective, it completely ignores the company’s culture, which should be at the heart of everything your employees do.

In order to work effectively, feel connected to the business, and develop engaging relationships to their role and colleagues, new hires will need to feel a sense of belonging, which can only come about from onboarding programs that envelop the entire organisation.

So, think about teaching employees about the company’s history and origin, previous victories or foregoing failures. Reiterate the company’s vision, mission, and values, and how they relate to the role.

You should also consider looking into topics such as the industry and where the company fits in, typical buyer personas, the current marketplace, and financial forecasts for the year ahead. If this sounds a bit dull, consider teaching methods that are more fun and entertaining, such as the gamification model that Wranx adopts.


Don’t think of onboarding as a one-off event

If onboarding is a one-off event or weeklong course, employees will struggle to retain every little piece of information they have been told. What’s more, they probably won’t enjoy themselves very much and might think less of the business, which won’t do anything for motivation levels.

But by thinking of onboarding as a process rather than an event, new recruits will absorb and retain what they are told much more effectively. Also, you avoid the risk of boredom, cynicism and disillusionment.

When it comes to initiating this process, make sure employees know what is expected as they progress and create scheduled goals that align with broader business objectives. Establish checkpoints to gauge their progress and adjust onboarding accordingly.

Although you may want to ease new employees in, it is important to establish minimal productivity as soon as possible. This way, they will feel like they are contributing from the get-go and can keep on improving.


Getting existing employees involved

The vast majority of your existing employees are bound to have an extensive amount of knowledge just waiting to be tapped into. This wisdom should be taken advantage of and used to help new employees in any way, shape, or form.

Even though staff who have previously been in their position will be of efficacious assistance, senior employees such as managers and executives must also get involved to truly establish a feeling of being in the same boat.

With most organisations and industries, recent recruits will hugely benefit from a mentor or coach. From providing on-the-job guidance to having conversations over lunch, this relationship can also address informal issues that aren’t in the welcome pack.

But in spite of involving the existing workforce, new hires must be responsible for their own development process, which includes asking questions where necessary but also using initiative and making independent decisions.


The need to regularly review onboarding programs

Follow the aforementioned advice and you should be able to implement an effective onboarding program. However, you shouldn’t assume this will be perfect first time round, as every organisation’s requirements are different.

So, have a system in place that allows for regular reporting, which can measure and monitor the progress of new hires. This should not be limited to their attitude or morale either, as you will need to bear in mind the financial aspects of onboarding too.

Business metrics will relate to the prescribed timeframe of onboarding and how long it took to reach minimum productivity. Whereas recent recruits should be asked about the barriers they encountered but also what worked and helped them out the most.

Do this and you should be able to incorporate new hires into your business with the greatest of ease.

For more information on how you can onboard your employees effectively click here. 

Written by: Persia Shahkarami

Published: 9 Jul, 2015