3 Simple Ways to Level Up Your Onboarding

Last year Gallup reported that onboarding is key to employee retention. With historically low unemployment levels and a particular need nationwide for more IT talent, anything employers can do to improve hiring and retention is a good thing. Ironically, the same Gallup polling numbers showed despite the importance of onboarding, only 12% of our employees say we do it well. Here is how you can turn your onboarding process into a tool for employee retention.

Onboarding 101

Onboarding is the process we should have in place to welcome new employees onto the team. There should be a natural handoff from the recruiting and hiring team into the on-the-job departmental leads that will show the new hire the ropes. But most of the time this handoff is ineffective. Throwing new hires into working immediately with no training or failing to introduce them to the rest of the team fails to create the camaraderie that is crucial to employee retention. Or worse, it is a dry corporate presentation with videos, sign-ups, and forms that are underwhelming at best and downright boring at worst.

If your onboarding is any of these things, it’s time for an onboarding overhaul. Try these three things:

  1. Work smarter by automating the boring and tedious parts of the onboarding process. For example, set up an employee Intranet portal where all of the forms for insurance or other job requirements can be completed online. You can even send forms to employees the week before they come on board and ask them to complete the documents before they arrive. That way you can use orientation to focus on the fun, useful, and exciting parts of the onboarding experience.
  2. Create hoopla for new employees to make them feel special. When a new employee walks in, it’s natural to feel out-of-place and nervous. But if the organization makes the effort to welcome them it warms up the experience into something like coming home. Let the employee know how much you appreciate they’re there. You could put a welcome mat outside their office or take them to lunch their first day or even send them a welcome packet the week before they arrive. Put corporate swag on their desk or buy them balloons. These activities have the effect of creating a corporate ritual, which, in turn, builds culture.
  3. Create little touches throughout the day to alleviate their nervousness. Why not put a sign at the front door welcoming the new employee? Remind the receptionist that they’re coming. Tell the security guard to welcome them, too. Personally introduce them to their team and make sure everyone knows there’s a newbie in the house. Make sure their workstation is set up before they get there. Send them a first-day orientation schedule on Friday before they arrive on site.

While these all seem simple, they go a long way toward assimilating new workers into the existing culture. But onboarding is more than that. You should also spend time helping them understand what will make them successful in the role, including:

  • What their priorities are for the first 90-days.
  • Their department’s key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • An overview of their career path.
  • The resources available to help them succeed.
  • The organizational structure and how decisions are made.

Talk with the team at Blackstone about how you can improve employee onboarding and your chances of finding and retaining top talent.

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