It’s not only important to know what onboarding is and how it’s done, but why it’s a good idea to have an excellent process at your company.
There are many benefits that can come out of a strong onboarding process, not just for the employee, but the company itself—because, in the end, it’s important to remember that your company is made up of individuals, and how they feel they are welcomed and part of the whole matters in how good of a company yours will be. To achieve these benefits, you have to push yourself towards certain goals.
1. Goal: Integrate new hires into company through purpose and narrative.
Don’t just make orientation a handbook of rules, a few insurance forms to sign, and a list of blocked websites! This is your first organized chance to introduce your new people to your company and make the best first impression possible. In the first few weeks and months of a job, says David Lee of ere.net, employees are hyperalert, trying to notice everything around them. Make sure that what they’re taking in is a good impression of the company, since everything you do in this period is representative of company culture. Tell them about what the company’s goals are, how the company came about, and how they as new employees are joining an important venture and taking part in a story that matters.
Benefit: Employees feel like they are working for something important and worthy.
2. Goal: Socialize new hires thoroughly.
Help your new employees fit in and get to know everyone sooner, rather than later. Let
them know that you’re there for them by being there to welcome them on their first day.
Assign them a buddy to introduce them to everyone- not just for their first day, but for their first week (or longer!); this person can be a go-to guide on navigating a new environment. The sooner your new employee is comfortable socially, the sooner they will be trading ideas with their colleagues and knowing who to go to with a problem, which all means that they will confidently be doing great work from their first day.
Benefit: By providing them with knowledge of who has the resources they need, they can become productive more quickly.
3. Goal: Ensure employee knows they have made the right choice in choosing to work for you.
This begins before your new employee ever starts their first day of work. This is your prime period of time for setting them up in a welcoming environment. Mail them their necessary forms so their first day can be focused on integration, not paperwork. Helbling & Associates, a talent management firm, suggests that during the first three months, give them projects that they can easy succeed at, building their confidence to move forward; during this period, assess their strengths to know what training they will need to move ahead, and what they will find frustratingly redundant. And for those employees who go through a welcome into the company and are not sure that it’s a good fit for them? Zappos, a company that puts a lot of thought into employee engagement, offers $2,000 to quit if they do not feel they have made the right decision to work there. It sounds bizarre, but it saves time and money for both the employee and the company, and you know that your people are not coming into work every morning because they have to—they are there because they know it is the right place for them to be.
Benefit: Confidence and morale keep your employees engaged from the start and results in higher employee retention.
Overall, starting a new job is an anxiety-inducing process, and anxiety severely handicaps the ability to feel comfortable, confident, welcome, and focused. Why not do your absolute best to reduce that anxiety and have the very best talent you know you hired—from the very first day?
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