Aside from the interview process, onboarding is your new employee’s first foray into your organization. Once a prospective employee accepts the job offer, the relationship shifts. You’re expecting them to perform their job duties. And they’re expecting to have adequate training and integration to support their work performance
A big part of that training and integration is the onboarding process. Get it wrong, and it’s likely your new employee will bounce before you even have quarterly results to assess.
It takes thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of staff time to select a great candidate. Treat your investment and the individual with respect with a thoughtful and effective onboarding experience. Check out these four aspects of a winning onboarding process to integrate into your organization.
1. Develop a Consistent, Repeatable Process
One manager may be a dynamo at onboarding. Another would perhaps rather shrink into a black hole. Instead of leaving it to chance, take time to develop a consistent, repeatable onboarding process and train your managers to execute it.
Identify a time-based plan to help your supervisors guide their recent hires through the process. Consider a 30-60-90 day plan to align new hire objectives with the company mission. This plan will help communicate the goals and metrics you will be evaluating the employee on. With clear objectives and expectations, your new team member will feel reassured as they navigate their role within the organization.
2. Lead With Culture
It can be easy to just jump right into the workload, but take a step back. Your existing team has likely already been covering for the staffing gap. Resist the urge to begin slinging assignments on the recent hire right off the bat and first focus on culture.
Even if it’s not intentional, every organization has a culture. Culture is the way the people within an organization behave with one another. It’s also the shared beliefs that the employees hold. Identify your workplace culture and include a primer on it in your onboarding. Translate common jargon, share background on projects, and dedicate time to discuss your culture and the organization’s approach to it.
Businesses are often riddled with jargon that can seem exclusionary to new team members. Provide a written guide for some of the more common terms used internally so recent hires can get up to speed quickly. Train existing team members to define jargon when they use it with new colleagues.
3. Prioritize Belonging
You may have hired a great individual, but are you making sure to include them within your team’s interactions? Consider assigning your new employee a social guide who is not in a supervisory role. Charge this person with making sure the new staff member knows the ins and outs of the culture side of the business.
The designated ambassador may want to educate the recent hire on how your team celebrates project successes. There may be the opportunity to take your newbie out to lunch or coffee. Or there could be affinity groups to be introduced to, such as a group who get together once a week for happy hour.
By choosing someone not in a supervisory role for this guide, social settings are more easily navigated. Identify the team members best suited for this role, train them, and provide a budget to ensure there’s a great experience.
One tip: Be mindful of the different personality types in your organization, especially during a pandemic. Consider the types of collaboration and social events that more introverted or extroverted team members may prefer. Conduct surveys through your HR department or team leadership to assess the interest in these engagements. Maintaining mindfulness about preferences will also communicate a healthy level of empathy to your team.
4. Connect the Work With Your Purpose
Work is more inspiring when you understand the purpose behind it. Share details about your customer journey map with employees of all levels at your organization. Expose the marketing-focused information to help your team empathize with the customers you serve. When they can better understand the problems your team is solving, it can make even the most mundane assignments inspiring.
Use internal messaging to reiterate your organization’s purpose. Consider a new employee–specific messaging protocol that can help reiterate the company’s mission. Partner with your firm’s marketing team to draft compelling messaging that effectively communicates through behavioral science. Track engagement through your messaging or email platform to influence project improvement and opportunities.
If your office is in-person, consider whether internal signage can support your message. In this application, both new and existing staff members can benefit from the clarification of your “why.” An example of internal signage might be printed copies of the mission statement hung throughout the office.
No matter your work location, prioritize connecting the company’s purpose with all that your team does. One way is to incorporate user testing into your customer experience model. Not only does it make those who conduct the testing feel valued, but it helps your entire team better understand the target customer.
Use Your ‘Why’ to Drive Productivity, Engagement, and Retention
We all need money to survive. But making money is more enjoyable when you feel like your work contributes to something meaningful. While all jobs won’t be directly pursuing world peace, you can identify meaning for your employees.
Keep your mission and your employees’ contributions to it front of mind in all you do. If your organization supports its community through team service projects, celebrate those successes as much as your client work. When you’ve onboarded and integrated your employees into the total workplace experience, you can retain them for the long haul.