Onboarding is the equivalent of a company's first impression. Unfortunately, most organizations are missing the mark.
To illustrate, ADP, a global provider of business outsourcing needs, conducted a survey of almost 1,500 managers and human resources professionals and found that only 25 percent of employees feel that their organization does onboarding or orientation “extremely well,” and only 21 percent of employees were “extremely satisfied” with their organization's onboarding effort.
Managers and HR administrators are even less proud of the current onboarding process, as only 9 percent and 19 percent respectively believe they deliver onboarding “extremely well.” The first 90 days are the most critical for a new hire. Odds are you will spend this time evaluating your decision to hire this person and your new employee will no doubt spend time evaluating your organization and deciding whether to stay. Onboarding, done correctly, will capture their hearts and minds and touch their human needs that drive loyalty, retention and productivity.
With that in mind, today's onboarding process needs to utilize the right technology and digital platforms. For example, technology enables a manager to send a text and video in order to introduce themselves as well as their team even before the new hire's first day. What a great way to already build loyalty!
Other things can you do prior to their start date:
• Help new hire with digitally completing standard practices such benefits documents, corporate policies, direct deposit, etc.
• Maintain frequent contact to answer any questions your new employee might have and to let them know that you're excited and prepared for their arrival.
• Send out text or email to your team to let them know a new hire is coming aboard.
What to do on their first day:
• Lay the foundation for employee productivity and help new hires to develop their expectations for the company. Be ready to provide all tools and resources necessary to be successful on the job, i.e. business cards, laptop, smartphone and any other mobile devices.
• Have a welcome team in place but make sure the right people are telling the company's story. Involve your top performers in the orientation and training process. Encourage your new hire to get to know their co-workers and the company culture. Probably 95 percent of firings are the result of failing to “fit in.”
• Finish any paperwork still necessary, provide an office tour and show them where to get a cup of coffee. Also, the hiring manager should take their new employee out to lunch.
• Pair up a peer mentor with your new employee, if possible. This way, someone who is more experienced will offer encouragement and promote career growth while helping them make a greater contribution to the organization.
What to do within the first 90 days:
• Deliver what you promised during the recruitment phase. Nothing is worse than changing the rules of the game after it started. Within the first 45 days, take time to review the original job description. Determine whether it is still on track. If the position veered, take time to put it back on track.
• Demonstrate your commitment to on-going training, team building and a positive work environment. This will send the message that your organization provides more than a place to work. It should touch the very heart of what motivates employees to continue to work.
• Giving and getting feedback is a continuous process. Therefore, schedule regular information sharing sessions and accept honest feedback without repercussions. Come across as an ally not an adversary. Your new hire may have some great ideas and insights but needs to feel comfortable when expressing them. This is also a good time to reiterate that your goal is to help them succeed. Remember a star performer makes you look good as well.
Employees who are highly satisfied with their onboarding process are three times more likely to feel comfortable after the first day because an effective onboarding plan sends the right message and makes a great first impression. It defines your organization as one that provides a healthy environment with exceptional opportunities for employees. In turn, energized and enthusiastic employees are a great return on investment due to faster performance development, reduced turnover, greater job satisfaction and improved productivity.
David Peterson is managing partner and director of plastics at Solon, Ohio-based Direct Recruiters Inc.