Your Onboarding is Terrible
...and yes, it matters
So, you think your onboarding isn't terrible?
If you’re still doing onboarding the same way you were doing it five years ago, then yes your onboarding is probably terrible.
Here are some ways you can check:
- What’s your employee survey data saying about new hire engagement within their first 12 months (and generally)?
- What’s your data saying about employee turnover within their first six months?
- What’s your employer net promoter score (eNPS)?
… We’ll wait…
Here’s the thing. Numbers don’t lie.
We’ll bet our bottom dollar that you’re probably burdening your managers and disengaging your newest workers when the rest of the world is scrambling to find ways to wilfully engage them.
Perhaps you thought going paperless would fix everything. But the only thing it fixed was your workload.
So how do you make your employees love you like they love their mum? And what can you do to overhaul your onboarding so it’s a lot less mass-produced auto-tuned pop star and a lot more epic rockstar?
>>>Well, let us tell you.
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The biggest obstacle to better employee onboarding
The biggest hurdle for onboarding is that no one’s taking ownership and everyone is seeing it from the wrong point of view:
- That onboarding is merely an induction process.
- That onboarding is solely HR’s kingdom.
- That onboarding is all checklists, regulatory compliance, and paperwork red tape.
But anyone carrying this mindset just isn’t thinking about onboarding in the right way.
And so, everyone is in this weird sort of Mexican stand-off, staring at each other from opposite ends of the room with one eyebrow cocked in suspicion and one hand on a water pistol ready to draw fire on the first person to tell them they should be doing onboarding better.
Why your hiring managers aren't onboarding new employees properly
The reason your managers are terrible at onboarding is because they don't have the tools and they haven't been empowered to do better.
They think it’s your job.
You think it’s their job.
Meanwhile no one’s done anything useful about making it an awesome job.
Well, not unless you consider valiant efforts to reduce physical paperwork with the introduction of digitised forms and new-and-improved checklists.
Onboarding is about more than going paperless
Maybe you think you’re a genius because you managed a couple of integrations, introduced some new processes, and reduced paperwork time by 50% - but it’s not shifting the needle.
Going paperless doesn’t make you a hero; your boss doesn’t really care that you just freed up a coupla extra hours, not unless you can prove you and the hiring managers used those extra hours to increase retention, or productivity, or customer satisfaction, or you know, achieve world peace.
Digitising your onboarding process is a great start, but it’s not the whole story.
To only view onboarding as a process that needs greater efficiencies is to miss the big picture entirely. There are bigger goals to be unlocked here, and you're missing out!
Rockstar onboarding is not about paperwork. It’s about the employee and their experience.
The real reason your onboarding is broken is because no one is really thinking about the employee. It's process and paperwork driven.
And so you’re suffering high turnover and low productivity because your new employees aren’t engaged.
Terrible onboarding experience = a turnover problem
Up to 20% of new hires leave an employer within the first 45 days, because of reasons like this:
… turning up on day one without anything to do because their manager is still on leave and forgot to tell the team
… skippin’ to their office all spiffy, but struggle finding the place because no one thought to tell them about the secret lair entrance in the back laneway
… being left to their own devices for 6.5 hours because the team spent the day going from meeting to meeting
What an introduction!
The thing is, if you want super-engaged hyper-productive happy employees, even before day one – you need to focus on employee engagement before Day One. You need to focus on
Experience - Driven Onboarding
Experience-driven onboarding allows you to introduce a corporate onboarding program that makes your life easier (hasta la vista pesky forms!), but the global benefit that makes sense to everyone who actually matters in your organisation, is that experience-driven onboarding engages your employees from before day one. And by keeping this employee-centric mindset for every interaction, you’ll maintain their engagement throughout their entire journey with you.
Which means you’ll get to print off data reports for the CEO that prove your forward-thinking handiwork that’s revolutionised the way your organisation sees and manages onboarding, has effectively obliterated your turnover figures, and improved staff retention, productivity, engagement, and customer satisfaction - hello Christmas bonus.
You’ve just single handedly saved your business from crushing defeat in the talent battle royale – You’ve established a solid employer brand as innovative and downright awesome to work for, because, get this, an experience-driven onboarding program gives a damn about one thing only
- your employee experience.
And they love you for it. And they tell e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e. And they stay.
So, to hell with your digitised forms and compliance paperwork.
The future of onboarding is all about WOWing the employee. And if you can get the new hire experience right, the rest is easy*
*We cannot guarantee great experience post onboarding, but first impressions are never forgotten.
Why employee experience truly matters
Your average employee will spend up to one third of their life at work. You’ve just figured out precisely why team fit, integration, and purpose hold such power over happiness and engagement in the workplace.
Let’s face it –
Who wants to spend a third of their life hanging around people who don’t care, in a role they don’t understand, for an organisation that doesn’t genuinely care about them?
No one. So, they leave.
This is why the cookie cutter approach is blunt and ineffective.
Experience-driven onboarding is about the experience, not the process.
It emphasises the individual’s experience; it celebrates their uniqueness and their strengths, and it encourages them to do what they do best in a team who’s empowered to do the same.
So, if you truly want to improve your employee engagement and reduce staff attrition, the obvious place to start is at the beginning – Onboarding.
3 Steps to Experience-Driven Onboarding
Coach your managers to be onboarding rockstars and connect them with your employee experience mission.
Not all hiring managers know how to hire and onboard new staff, and not all know how to be empathetic leaders. But that’s doesn’t mean efforts are futile. Behaviours and mindsets can be changed over time – even the smallest change can make a huge impact.
This is why we introduced the ‘3pm munchie’ into our onboarding best practice (it’s more than a simple afternoon snack!). Managers ask their new hires what their favourite 3pm treat is to help get them through afternoon slumps or stressful periods. Armed with this knowledge, the manager can then whip out the favoured munchie ‘just because’ or when they see their employee is feeling stressed, or anxious, or down. It’s a small act and anyone can do it – Anyone has the power to make someone’s day better. Sometimes, you just gotta make it easy and let them know how.
Empower new hires to connect their authentic strengths with their job
Use the period between contract signing and the first day to understand more about your new hire’s unique strengths, experiences, and mission. Ask “What’s unique about you that leads to your best performance and happiest times at work?” It could be values, traits, skills, or the fact they always-be-closin’. Then, during the week one check-in, nudge managers to ask new hires to reflect on their signature strengths and how they could actively put them to use in the role. Something simple like this will empower your new hire to connect with their role and make it their own.
Help new hires build connections
Prompt managers to introduce new hires to colleagues and key contacts early and meaningfully by referring to their unique strengths and drivers and any shared interests amongst teammates. In demonstrating an interest in the employee and promoting their unique value in the presence of others, managers are enabling them to affirm themselves and construct their social workplace identity around their authentic strengths.
For example; “Jane here has closed every sales call she ever landed. On a personal note, she loves dogs, hates sausages, and is ambivalent about sausage dogs.”
Truth is, so many people in the E- and C-suite say they value employee experience, but rarely put real money where their mouth is and actually do the employee experience thing all good and proper.
It's time for action, don't you think?
Here’s a binder-breaking statistic to grab your attention - 70% of the variance in employee experience comes down to their manager. You’re welcome to take that stat and throw it in the faces of all the managers you work with who are stuck in the 1970s corporate mindset that “HR do the people stuff.”
Your managers have the biggest impact on employee experience and therefore engagement. So maybe instead of throwing all your engagement monies at beanbags, fruit baskets, and foosball tables, you put your serious money where it’s going to make the most effect.
Train your managers to be less terrible at onboarding.
In fact, train them to be onboarding rockstars. It’s not even that hard to do. It doesn’t require cognitive shocks or hypnotherapy or even ongoing formalised training!
It’s simply a matter of changing mindsets. Of guiding them to make small changes to their behaviour - one nudge at a time.
But you must do things differently.
You must change the onboarding game.
You must make the experience count, or you’ll continue churning through talent like a meat grinder.
We can lend you our 9,847-page instruction manual, and you can waste hours navigating through ideas and manually setting up numerous systems and scheduling all the different calendar reminders…
You can simply introduce the right onboarding technology that’ll do the heavy lifting and coach your managers to be better leaders, freeing up you, and them to focus on more of the important stuff.