How to Rock at Employee Onboarding!

Posted in Best Practice

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We believe the onboarding process should be all about the people! Think how much more exciting it would be for a new hire to start if they felt welcomed, appreciated, important, and motivated right from the start. There are so many great ways to build trust and engagement while your employees are about to begin, instead of trying to re-ignite that lost enthusiasm down the line when opinions already have been made. It's unfortunate that so many organisations still are missing out on this incredible opportunity to connect and engage their talent while they are fresh and excited to begin.

Well, at least things are starting to get better now, but for years, onboarding has pretty much been valued as a 'nice-to-have' rather than a 'must-have' practice. This means organisations have been investing in complex tools to facilitate paperwork such as offer letters, non-disclosure agreements, contracts, payroll, etc. While there is nothing wrong with having systems in place to make HR-admin easier, it's not doing much to increase employee engagement. However, onboarding with employee engagement focus is starting to get stronger and is now shifting from an administrative function to a more holistic experience.

Research conducted by the Aberdeen Group in 2006 found 66 percent of companies implementing onboarding programs claimed a much higher rate of successful integration of new employees within the organisation’s culture. While 57 percent noted fewer turnovers, 62 percent had higher time-to-productivity rates, and 54 percent claimed much higher employee engagement.

Ok, we get it... employee engagement in onboarding is good for business. So how do we make sure our onboarding is done right?

1. A big first step towards getting onboarding right is assessing the current state of your company's onboarding strategy. 

Here is a short quiz that allows you to reflect and audit the experience your organisation is currently delivering. Hopefully, it will spark some ideas on how to redesign or improve it.

2. Got your results? Great!  Let's move on and understand the importance of designing an integrated employee experience.

Employee experience can be defined as the practice of understanding and optimising day-to-day interactions within an organisation to ensure employees feel integrated, oriented, productive, and competent.

Let's consider the full employee lifecycle – from recruiting to onboarding, training and development, and career planning up to retention or offboarding. Each stage of this cycle has a complex set of employee encounters and activities that will trigger perception and emotions towards an organisation. In order to deliver a strong experience, we must look at each of these stages in terms of a timeline, anticipating the needs of each individual along with the final objective of setting employees up for success within your business.

There are three main components always intersecting when designing and developing an integrated employee experience, no matter the stage of the employee lifecycle. It begins with your organisational culture, values and accepted behaviours, then followed by the technology and tools adopted, and concludes with the physical workspace in which your employees interact. Understanding, owning, and taking advantage of these components will open the door to redesigning an experience that will make people excited to come to work every day.

3. Excellent! Now that you have all the essentials in place, It's time for some other useful stuff. 

Designing and maintaining an integrated employee experience can be a little tricky at the beginning, but here are a few tips you can consider to get your stars shining sooner:

  • Get everyone onboard – onboarding is not HR’s full responsibility. There are other key players that have a direct effect on the new hire’s experience such as business leaders, hiring managers, IT, security, and the general workforce of your company. Understanding their roles and level of engagement will give you the knowledge to accurately design tactics that can positively influence these interactions.
  • Identify business processes- Sit down with your Human Resources leader or team to identify business processes that need improving. Discuss what’s lacking and what changes need to happen, how and by whom.
  • Create a plan. Map out what the onboarding experience should look like from the new hire’s perspective.
  • Cover off no less than the following for any employee’s first day. (i) Have all IT equipment and access passes setup and ready to go, (ii) Make sure someone greets the new hire smiles and all. (iii) Have an actual plan for the new hire on day 1, and for the first week (iv) Be sure to set up payroll in advance (v) Be clear on the start date.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to connect. Reach out prior to the starting date. Remember engagement should be your objective.
  • Make day one all about the new hire. Prepare everything for their first day – welcome them, and make them feel special. You only have one opportunity to make a good first impression!
  • Make sure managers are coached as part of the process. To empower your managers, support and guide them Automate and invest in technology. Make sure you equip your team for success.
  • Get some feedback from your current employees. They went through the process once and can help you identify the main pain points.