The Onboarding Game
Some of the people reading this article already have formalized onboarding programs. That’s great! Unfortunately, 35% of you have admitted to spending zero dollars on your employee onboarding. That needs to change. Onboarding is an integral part of your recruiting and performance management, and the ways in which you ease employees into your company can make for better workers or easy quitters. If you want your employees to transition into the highly productive workers you need them to be, you’re going to have to spend some money on real, honest-to-goodness onboarding.
Once you’ve come around to the idea that you need a better onboarding program (or an onboarding plan in the first place), read on to learn some onboarding best practices, so you can make your onboarding smoother for both your new hire and your company.
Start Onboarding Digitally Before the First Day
If you don’t have an onboarding program because of time or money, you might be surprised to learn just how streamlined the process has become over the years. With the advent digital methods of onboarding employees, one of the easiest onboarding best practices you can use eliminates two of the most annoying parts of the onboarding process: the paperwork and amount of time it takes up on your new hire’s first day on the job.
Not only does digital onboarding save you from the risk of misfiling the paperwork itself (which can cost you an average of $125 per sheet), but you can make sure your new hire has all the information they need to fill out their forms by having them do it at home. The amount of time spent on paperwork adds up, and when you eliminate it from your employee’s first day, it means you have more time to spend on training the new hire on the other important parts of working for your company.
Connect them with Culture
Detailing company policies, forms and the nature of your new hire’s job are some great onboarding best practices, but one aspect many companies forget to introduce is their company culture. Once you’re deep in the trenches of your own workplace, you might forget the organization has a certain way of operating brought about by all the politics and processes specific to your industry and culture; your new hires probably don’t know this. If you don’t key them in beforehand, at least a bit, to how your business ticks, they’re just as likely to disengage from your culture as they are to adapt to it. The result is that 64% of employees do not feel they have a strong company culture.
This could be because your company simply doesn’t have a strong culture, but it could also mean you’re not communicating well. Your new hires might be able to do the work, but if you’re not letting them know the ins and outs of your culture, it could be a sign of miscommunication. Since good internal communications at a company can triple productivity, you can use onboarding as a way to practice better communication with your employees.
Set Up a Long-Term Plan
If you haven’t set up an onboarding plan, you might think onboarding best practices have a lot to do with getting employees productive by their first day; onboarding doesn’t work that way. It takes an average of 26 weeks for an employee to get fully up to speed. No matter how fast you want your employee onboarding to go, you need to build your onboarding plan with longevity in mind.
Rather than try to bombard them with information about their job, your company and all the policies they’ll have to adhere to, slow down and let them take it all in. Even if it’s a temp position, teach them at the rate at which you’d like to learn. Assign them a mentor both as someone to shadow and a guide who will answer any questions they might have about the job, and make sure this mentor knows they’ll have to act as one for a while. You can’t shove onboarding down your new hires’ throats and expect them to remember any of it. Take it slow and your new hires will thank you.
Onboarding is simpler than you might think, but it’s not easy, or so unimportant that you can simply brush it off to save money. Good onboarding best practices pay for themselves. Trust me. Your employees, new AND old, will thank you.