All Aboard: Good Onboarding Leads to Better Retention

Onboarding blog

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

We’ve all been there.  The first day on a new job.  Priority number one is to meet with human resources.  The morning consists of document signing, benefit information, and a tour of the office.  You are introduced to dozens of people with the hope of remembering just a few names.  In the afternoon, you finally sit at a desk which isn’t yet set up, and you decide whether to ask someone how to begin (without sounding like you don’t know how to begin).

Onboarding.  According to a Gallup poll, only 12 percent of employees say that their organization does a good job of it.  Yet, Glassdoor’s research finds that employers with solid onboarding processes can improve retention by 82 percent.  So, what are the best ways to onboard employees?

Strategy 1: Humanize Onboarding

Successful onboarding means getting into the point of view of the new hire.  It means anticipating day one concerns that other employees take for granted.  For example, what are the norms for dressing, communicating, having lunch?  Is a desk with working equipment ready to go?  Where should the new employee park and what passwords will he or she need?  Do other employees even know that a new person is starting? Which paperwork is necessary for the first day and what can wait?  Is there a way to help the new employee feel welcome and part of the team?

In other words, how can onboarding be humanized and specific to this employee as a unique individual?  HR expert Perry Timms says, “The most important rule for employee on-boarding is to help people feel they belong and do so quickly.”  Personal touches which show that an employer has thought through everyday human issues like those above can go a long way.

Strategy 2: Communicate a Timeline for Onboarding

Starting a new job is overwhelming.  That’s why onboarding should be a year-long process.  Employers should communicate to new hires that learning everything in one week is not an expectation.  Schedule trainings throughout the first several months so the new employee has some context for trainings (instead of absorbing everything at the beginning).  Then, schedule check-in meetings at 30, 60, 90 days, six months, and a year.   At the check-ins, make a point to ask where the new hire see gaps in their learning.

Onboarding Trends

In “The Top Onboarding Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2019,” Glassdoor’s Aris Apostolopoulos highlights some fascinating trends such as:

Preboarding.  This describes communication that occurs between an accepted offer and the first day.  It includes emails, invitations to future meetings, and things to think about ahead of time.  It can also include HR paperwork, so new hires can focus on other things their first day.

Niche training is another trend where employees learn the skills for their personalized position rather than general orientation skills.  Managers get employees up and running in the position with a list of the exact programs they’ll need, a personal mentor, and whatever else is needed to handle day-to-day before training them in company-wide skills.

Microlearning is where employees get trained in 5 to 10 minute increments instead of attending all day or multiple-day orientation sessions.  This can be done through videos, webinars, or short presentations (Glassdoor / Talent LMS).

Social Onboarding

Employers are best served when their employees form personal connections with each other.  As a new employee begins, do not underestimate the power of social bonds with coworkers.  New employees will be more motivated to come to work, do their best work, and stay in a position if tied in socially.

Employers should place value in creating regular social opportunities where employees can get to know each other on a personal basis. Do not let a new hire work a year before the holiday party.  Social settings help new hires feel part of the company, and help current employees see the value of adding the new hire to their team.

Better onboarding can also lead to employee happiness. Read more about that here. 

At Artemis Consultants, we help employers find employees they want to put through their onboarding process.  Contact us to learn best practices on building positive relationships from the initial offer so employees can quickly become part of a new team.

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