Most organizations are aware of the immense value of onboarding, but many are not aware that onboarding continues beyond day one, week one, and even year one. Successful onboarding is strategic, informative, and, most importantly, it’s ongoing. Surprisingly, 22% of turnover occurs within the first 45 days and that can cost the company at least 3 times the former employee’s salary.[i] It is vital that organizations revisit their onboarding processes and see if there is room for improvement.
Here are 5 ways that organizations can improve the onboarding experience for new employees.
Begin Onboarding Before Day One
The first way to improve a new hire’s onboarding experience is to begin it before their first day. The first day is stressful enough. Prepare the new employee for success by beginning their onboarding before they even walk in the door. According to an Aberdeen survey, 83% of the highest performing organizations begin onboarding prior to the new hire’s first day on the job.[ii] There are many tools available that allow new employees to view, carefully read, and sign important tax documents from the comfort of their homes. These tools also allow the new hire to review their job description, view information on new team members and even review company policies. Allowing the new employee the time to read and get acquainted with the organization – before they begin – creates more engagement, and allows for a smoother first day.
Share the Organization’s Values
The second way to improve a new hire’s onboarding experience is to share the organization’s mission, values, and goals. Elon Musk said, “People work better when they know what the goal is and why. It is important that people look forward to coming to work in the morning and enjoy working.”[iii] When a new hire understands their purpose within the organization, it creates engagement. In fact, a survey found that after both operational and cultural onboarding, 92% of new hires felt like productive contributors to their organization after one month on the job.[iv] Laurent Reich, Director of Internal Learning Practice at L’Oreal, once said, “Our objective…is to take our onboarding practices to the next level and to give each and every employee, from the moment they arrive, the keys to succeed in full alignment with company values such as multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusion.”[v]
Provide a Mentor
A third way to improve a new hire’s onboarding experience is to provide them with a mentor. The purpose of the mentor is twofold: to create inclusion and accelerate immersion. A mentor should help the new employee absorb the organization’s culture and become their established resource as their go-to for questions. Tawni Cranz, Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, said, “Once you get in, then you experience the culture and marinate in it. But now we have these orientation meetings with 10 people and it’s highly likely that 6 of them are new. If 6 of them are new, you need to do something to accelerate that feeling of marinating in the culture.”[vi] By providing new hires with a mentor, they are better equipped to succeed and meet their milestone.
Guide Employee Success
A fourth way to improve a new hire’s onboarding experience is to provide frequent check-ins and feedback. Elon Musk said, “I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice – constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”[vii] Managers should ask new employees questions about their experience, their progress, their concerns, and their feedback on how the manager can help them succeed. It also provides the new hire the opportunity to build trust in their manager, encouraging them to speak up. Feedback, both positive and negative, is an essential part of the employees’ growth and engagement. In fact, surveys show that 82% of employees appreciate positive and negative feedback; and 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week as opposed to 18% of low engagement employees.[viii] By providing new hires with feedback and allowing them to share their feedback, the team improves, which leads to a stronger organization.
Ensure Long-Term Learning
The fifth way to improve a new hire’s onboarding experience is to ensure that learning is ongoing. According to the Aberdeen Group, only 2% of companies extend onboarding beyond one year.[ix] Continued learning and training are essential to keeping employees engaged. Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, said “My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had – every day I’m learning something new.”[x] Continued learning makes for continued success. By ending new hire training at week one, managers are limiting the employee’s potential. Continued learning and training should be practiced until their last day.
[ii] Maurer, Roy. “Onboarding Key to Retaining, Engaging Talent.” SHRM, SHRM, 11 Apr. 2018, www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/onboarding-key-retaining-engaging-talent.aspx
[iii] Patel, Deep. “25 Quotes to Inspire Your Entrepreneurial Journey.” Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, 23 Apr. 2017, www.entrepreneur.com/article/291925
[iv] Baker, Laura. “Cringe-Worthy Stats to Crush Your Onboarding Disbelief.” Talent Management Blog by ClearCompany, blog.clearcompany.com/cringe-worthy-stats-to-crush-your-onboarding-disbelief
[v] “Wake up and Smell the ROI : 17 Quotes about Employee Onboarding.” Cognology, Jon Windust, https://Www.cognology.com.au/Wp-Content/Uploads/2017/01/Cognology-Logo-Colour-300×101.Png, 21 June 2017, www.cognology.com.au/17-quotes-employee-onboarding/
[vi] “Wake up and Smell the ROI : 17 Quotes about Employee Onboarding.” Cognology, Jon Windust Https://Www.cognology.com.au/Wp-Content/Uploads/2017/01/Cognology-Logo-Colour-300×101.Png, 21 June 2017, www.cognology.com.au/17-quotes-employee-onboarding/
[vii] Schwantes, Marcel. “Elon Musk Shows How to Be a Great Leader With What He Calls His ‘Single Best Piece of Advice’.” Inc.com, Inc., 12 July 2018, www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/elon-musk-shows-how-to-be-a-great-leader-with-what-he-calls-his-single-best-piece-of-advice.html
[viii] Lyons, Rich. “Feedback: You Need To Lead It.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 10 July 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/richlyons/2017/07/10/feedback-you-need-to-lead-it/#43a71fd74a35
[ix] Maurer, Roy. “Onboarding Key to Retaining, Engaging Talent.” SHRM, SHRM, 11 Apr. 2018, www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/onboarding-key-retaining-engaging-talent.aspx
[x] Patel, Deep. “25 Quotes to Inspire Your Entrepreneurial Journey.” Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, 23 Apr. 2017, www.entrepreneur.com/article/291925