April 8, 2020 3:00 pm
Did you know that more employees quit during the first thirty days of a new job than at any other time? Studies of employees discovered that one of the biggest reasons given is that the employee felt like they weren’t being considered a crucial part of the organization. They remained confused about company culture and what the expectations are. They felt that other employees were not easy to meet and they felt unwelcome. You can significantly reduce this early loss of employees with correct onboarding.
New employee onboarding is making the employee feel like part of the workplace from the start. This process starts when hiring the employee is completed. It is not to be confused with orientation. While orientation gives the employee the nuts and bolts of the position, onboarding gives the new employee the tools necessary to immediately find a niche within the organization where he or she can feel both comfortable and valuable.
Even the most confident people find themselves disoriented the first few days of a new job. They need to understand where they fit into the team, what expectations there are of them over time, and how they can fit into the organization to be productive as quickly as possible. They want to know their coworkers because familiarity makes it easier to work as a team. By providing the information and means to allow the new employee to feel like “one of the team” from the start, you increase employee satisfaction and have the chance of retaining a happy, productive team member.
There are many benefits of effective employee onboarding. Let’s take a look at the most important.
Every job has a learning curve. With effective onboarding, you can shorten this learning curve by providing necessary information. An employee will be able to understand what exactly he is responsible for, where to find the tools and added help she may need, and how much personal control she has. She’ll know where she fits into the big puzzle that is the workplace.
Effective onboarding allows a new employee to understand exactly how “things are done around here.” Many times, several roads lead to the same outcome. Every organization, however, has one or two that are considered appropriate. Clearly defining this approach allows for any team member that may have to pick up partially finished work due to an unexpected absence and get it done with no problem. These methods can become ingrained from day one.
Happy employees stick around. That is an undisputed fact. By making it possible for the employee to feel like a valued and productive part of the entire company, he doesn’t feel like he’s just another body and will work harder to make sure he does his part to move things ahead. With each success, he’ll become more confident and more invested in staying.
When an employee knows the expectations of their work, confidence increases. They know their hiring was because someone believed they have the necessary ability to accomplish what the job entails. Subsequently, the employee will work hard not to break that trust.
It might help to understand how onboarding and orientation differ. After all, aren’t both done at the beginning of the process? Yes, but they each have a place. Employee orientation is a part of onboarding. Both help the employee understand the job and prepare for working for the company in general, but there are differences:
Employee orientation is the information given to every employee hired. It includes things like the employee handbook, information on requesting time off, and things like company-wide policies. Onboarding is focused only on the position for which the employee is hired. What are his duties, who can he ask questions of, when can he take lunch? These are all individual items.
Orientation can be done online, in a classroom setting or individually, depending on the hiring needs of the company. Onboarding focuses on the area where the employee is to be working. Meeting co-workers, direct supervisor, and other introductory details are included here.
Orientation gets the employee ready to start being trained. Onboarding prepares the employee to become productive from his first day on the job.
The employee onboarding starts the minute you choose to hire a new employee.
The first thing you need to do is make the job offer, negotiate salary, and determine a start date, all of which is done best in person. If in-person is not an option, then choose a phone call, preferably with video capabilities. Sending an email is considered impersonal. Being able to see your face and read your body language physically allows the employee to know you value his answer.
After accepting the offer, schedule a quick call, and review the benefits, policies, forms, and set expectations. All of these can be considered part of orientation. It helps if you can provide the employee with a written copy of this information for review but make the initial discussion verbal. Once again, it makes the employee feel vital that you are taking the time to discuss these things in a way that allows for questions and clarification.
Some people are looking at more than one job offer. A person may accept your job offer and then get another offer later that day or the next that sounds more promising. The future employee must know how important he or she is to you. Try setting the start date as soon as possible, but take into account what the employee may need time to arrange for in their personal lives. It wouldn’t hurt to send a small gift, or even just a card, welcoming him to the organization and stating how glad you are that he is becoming part of your organization.
No matter how much they wanted the position, the new employee will have some doubts on that first day. Make sure their workspace is all set up and ready for work. Have the internet readily available, passwords handy, and any materials needed to start work.
A good idea is to set up some type of employee portal. Give the employee the information for accessing it. Have information on the site that might include a checklist of steps needing completion, such as payroll forms, and information on lunch details, and other information that can help make life easier, such as maps to the cafeteria and restrooms.
If possible, greet the new employee yourself. Introduce her to her immediate supervisor and possibly assign another employee as a “buddy” that will willingly introduce her to other employees, give her the personal kind of details about how the office runs, etc. Arranging a small welcome party with doughnuts and coffee can add a positive note.
Make sure all forms for the Human Resource Dept. are either right there to fill out or easily at hand, make sure a payroll account has already been set up, and have any computer equipment set up and ready to run immediately. If the employee needs access to any files or databases, make sure they are already approved and have access information at hand.
Now is the time to cover any orientation that hasn’t already been covered. Ask if the new employee has any questions about what has already been covered and clarify anything. By the time you have reached this part of the onboarding, your new employee should be feeling much more confident than when he walked into the building that morning.
When you cover your expectations with the employee, you should also work on goals for 30, 60, and 90-day periods. Doing so will help the employee understand how he or she can grow and the expectations during each step. At each checkpoint of thirty days, set up a meeting to discuss the goals, cover the success of those goals, and figure out adjustments if something isn’t working. Your goal is to create a thriving environment for the employee’s integration into the company. At the end of ninety days, you may wish to cover the coming year’s goals and set up expectations, a blueprint for meeting those goals, and an evaluation date.
Let’s take a brief look at the tips for creating a successful onboarding experience.
Job satisfaction starts before the employee even shows up for the first day. Make the experience positive from the moment you make a job offer.
You will never have a chance to redo the first day. Make sure everything is in place that sets the employee up for an experience of getting through the first day with the knowledge and understanding of just how vital his presence will be.
Don’t expect the employee to pick up everything on the first day. Set goals that allow for time to acclimate, start slow, and work up as time goes on.
Set them up with a project on the first day. It can be just the first steps of a larger project or a piece of a project that is currently being done by another team member and can be easily accomplished without the employee feeling like it is merely busy-work.
Pair the new employee up with a more experienced employee that has a personality that meshes well with that of the new employee. Have the mentor available to introduce other office members, walk the employee through the day-to-day things, and help him feel at home.
Make it clear from the start that you know what the employee is capable of accomplishing, and you will expect nothing less. Set clear expectations and stick with them.
Making these initial days as positive and affirming as possible will go a long way toward creating an employee-friendly environment. Your employee will feel not only like you truly value his presence but also like he can contribute to the success of the company. Confidence and productivity go hand-in-hand. It all starts with a positive and affirming beginning.
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