Great onboarding isn’t a HR ‘nice to have’ it’s a crucial process which will affect how productive and engaged your new people are.
‘Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater new-hire productivity.’ Most new hires have chosen to accept a role with your organization because they believe they can make an impact. Onboarding should support that process by shortening the time it takes for an employee to provide value and feel engaged with their work.
First impressions count when it comes to new employees. Studies by IDC have shown that on average 20% of employee turnover happens in the first 90 days. This can really rack up costs as you are hiring, re-hiring and re-onboarding a replacement, at which point you still haven’t gained any productivity outcomes for your organisation.
What does a productivity and engagement-focused onboarding look like?
1. Overview of the organisation and how the new employee fits in
This can be seen as a basic to any onboarding and whilst that is true there are a few things to consider to make this step really impactful to performance. An employee needs to know how they fit in and the role they play in order to feel engaged with the work they do. They also need to know who they can rely on to ask questions.
Use different formats to immerse your new employees in your organisation.
David Donaldson, Workplace Development Manager at Ishida spoke to us on a recent onboarding webinar about a filmed walk around tour of their factory facilities. It’s done on a phone with some commentary from the person walking around, making it feel like you are there and anyone in the business can view it. Videos don’t have to be professionally made – the more personal the better.
2. Processes that they need to be familiar with
This is another basic in onboarding, but it can be an area of unclarity if not addressed properly. For any new employee to be able to get ahead and start performing in their role, they need to understand the basic processes they will encounter. Having a summary of processes like, ‘how to set up an account on software X’, ‘how to request holiday leave’ or even ‘what to do if you need approval for content’ will make their day-to-day much clearer — reducing anxiety and improving their productivity.
Create a cheat-sheet with all the questions someone might not want to ask and keep a live version of it online. Questions like ‘What day do we get paid?’, ‘What can I expense if I am going to see a client?’, ‘How do I request holiday leave?’ will all be really appreciated by a new employee. You do need to keep it up-to-date.
3. Setting goals
One of the most important things you can do during the onboarding process is to be clear about objectives. These are tasks or small projects that will allow them to immerse themselves in their actual role and provide value to the company. Goal setting is a known motivation technique so starting early will be beneficial to both the employee’s performance and work engagement as well as the overall productivity of the company.
Make goal-setting part of an interactive session between your new employee and their manager. You can start by speaking about strengths and specialisations of the employee and then come up with one or two specific objectives that they will deliver on with dates and outcomes.
4. Social aspects and cultural
Another aspect of engagement and connection to the company is getting to know people ‘outside of work’. All companies have their own cultural norms and expectations and the quicker a new employee can understand them and feel comfortable, the better.
Social psychologists like Abraham Maslow include a sense of belonging in the hierarchy of needs. A sense of belonging motivates our behaviour as much as things like access to food, shelter and the feeling of safety. Considering most full-time employees spend the majority of their week at work, this is an aspect that cannot be passed over lightly.
Not everyone is as social or extroverted as the next person. Having some ‘forced fun’ will help get everyone together in a less intense way rather than just throwing people together. Think about some planned activities or even a personality directory – a document where people talk about themselves from a non-work perspective.
Onboarding is a crucial part of your employee’s experience and focusing it around productivity and engagement means you will get a return on investment quicker but also it means that your new employee’s performance is improved. If you want to know more about great onboarding practices, please watch our webinar on onboarding conversations.