Remember to start early. Onboarding really begins when the offer is signed, not when new hires walk through the front door. Big or small, global or local, the new hire experience should always be warm and welcoming.
In my last post I gave an overview of what to keep in mind while starting the design of your a onboarding program. Today, I’ll dive in a little deeper and go over the top three tips to keep in mind for creating a successful and engaging onboarding program.
Onboarding should first and foremost be about relationship building. If a company’s onboarding program is designed with that principle in mind, it will automatically be warmer and better. It will help you create lasting relationships with employees that endure past the first 90 days…past six months, and potentially for an entire career.
That investment in the employee relationship will (over time) pay dividends back to the company. Employees who have a positive early experience with an organization will become strong recruitment ambassadors, talking highly of the business to others and create a terrific referral system.
1. Take a Slow and Steady Approach to Training
Very few companies have the ability or luxury to invest in weeks of training when they bring on a new hire. A new sales manager may start on a Monday; attend a team meeting on Tuesday; and pay a visit to key customer accounts on Wednesday. Learning in a modern workplace needs to be integrated into an employee’s first weeks and months on the job. It should also be delivered in small manageable chunks. Supporting a self-paced model will allow a person to absorb the information they need, when they need it. You will provide new hires with small victories, and make people feel more accomplished in their new role. You should also forget about starting that learning on the employee’s first day. It’s not important that people remember what they learned in their first 7.5 hours in the office. It only matters how they feel. We want people to go home to their families after their first day knowing that they made the right decision in joining the organization.
2. Consider the Buddy System
One of the ways we can welcome a new employee is by appointing a buddy system, where a colleague “takes charge” of a new hire’s well-being. This approach can decrease a person’s anxiety in their first few days and boost employee engagement over the long-term. It also allows a new employee to feel less vulnerable. It is often easier to admit to a colleague what you don’t know, rather than bring a concern or challenge to a new manager in your first days.
Having an onboarding program that eases a person’s entry into a new company and culture helps the employee and the team. In organizations that are growing at an exponential rate, adding a new person to the team can be incredibly disruptive. A smooth onboarding process helps integrate new team members, while preserving team productivity. Growth is good but without proper onboarding, it can create disruption and be very costly to the business.
3. Strong Onboarding = Culture of High Performance
A strong onboarding process is a starting point in a company’s investment in their human capital. Onboarding done right allows you to build a stronger team, grow your culture and create lasting relationships. It’s not about the policies, procedures, or even the job skills. It’s about creating a welcoming, inclusive environment that supports the needs and ambitions of every employee, fosters long-term business growth, and reduces risk by minimizing turnover and maximizing retention.
Stay tuned for my next post “Performance Process or Performance Culture?” We’ll be taking a look at leadership’s role in performance culture.
In the mean time, download the new enterprise eBook for an in-depth look at how to create an engaging learning model for your organization.