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Employee Onboarding

Creating Onboarding Programs That Retain And Engage Your New Employees

  • Omer Usanmaz
  • October 4 2023

Organizations must be prudent about the entire recruitment process in today's world, as they spend thousands of dollars on talent acquisition programs every year. Moreover, the pandemic brought sweeping changes to recruitment and employee retention strategies. Some challenges the pandemic brought about were positively unprecedented in many sectors, forcing the whole world to expedite its digital transformation. However, employee engagement and work-life balance are areas where modifications and adaptations are needed. Onboarding is one of the most critical areas that many organizations, even the most successful ones, struggle to grapple with.

Many things are gradually getting back to normal in a corporate setting. People are getting vaccinated, restrictions are less stringent, employees are returning to the office, and most importantly, the number of severe cases has reduced, which is a good sign. Employee retention rates in many organizations, even in some top conglomerates, are not getting back to normal. Many organizations are not satisfied with their employee retention rates because of the poor onboarding experience.

As the job market is stronger than ever, employees, especially the new talents, may want to reconsider their decision to stay with your organization. So organizations must ensure that they create a positive experience for their employees from day one. This article elaborates on the importance and benefits of creating a strong employee onboarding program in today's workplace.

What Is Employee Onboarding?

Onboarding practices differ from company to company, but the purpose of onboarding has always been to foster their new employees to pick up the right pace to get integrated into their work environment. For some, filling out forms and introducing fellow employees is a typical employee onboarding process. For others, it is a compliance exercise where new employees have to go through a 90-day learning and development plan with various activities—ranging from fun-based to strictly professional formats.

In most professional settings, the employee onboarding process is a formalized process that provides new employees who are about to start their first day at work with company values and new-hire paperwork while at the same time engaging them with an effective learning process to acclimate them to the company culture. To put it simply, a structured and strong onboarding process gives valuable insights into the job roles and company policies through various onboarding tasks and regular training sessions for a certain period. Many leaders who have had a meaningful and memorable employee onboarding experience know how it goes a long way in helping new employees take a shine to their exciting job roles and workplace culture.

Why Does Building An Effective Onboarding Process Matter?

A more brilliant way to get your job done in your workplace is by developing a broader network of fellow employees in your workplace. Professional networking requires an employee to spend plenty of time getting to know other employees, which becomes much easier when you have a prior acquaintance with them. In many organizations, it is common to notice that people who have started their first day at work together are more likely to become friends, as they all have something "onboarding" in common. Therefore, many organizations are trying to incorporate more fun-based onboarding programs, such as scavenger hunts, breaking bread, and the new welcome kit ideas. Such connections make new employees feel comfortable and welcomed into the workplace.

Moreover, onboarding is a great tool to create an impactful first impression on the new hires. To thrive in today's dynamic and ever-changing economy, you need your employees to be prepared and ready to meet unprecedented challenges that whatever the pandemic is about to throw at us. Luckily, there are many steps and measures for an organization to improve and reimagine its onboarding programs for increased productivity and employee engagement.

Six Reasons Why A Successful Onboarding Program Is Essential

While it has only been two years since the pandemic brought hundreds of companies to the brink, investors and CEOs are still looking for ways to enhance employee retention rates and productivity. Improving their existing onboarding is what all those organizations in quest of a solution to their increasing turnover rates are missing out on. Here are six reasons why an effective onboarding program is a key to good employee performance and a positive employee experience.

1- Successful Onboarding Reduces Staff Turnover Rates

Whether it is high involuntary or voluntary employee turnover, it is an excellent sign that your organization's talent management or employee experience is helping neither you nor your employees. Some mistakes are irrevocably expensive for organizations, and one of them is a high staff turnover rate. Moreover, a sudden increase in voluntary turnover means something is going wrong with their workforce management and employee wellbeing.

Most companies take immediate measures to reduce their turnover rate as much as possible by introducing employee-centric initiatives. They can reduce the higher voluntary turnover rate by looking beyond the bottom line and rethinking their existing onboarding practices. Putting a successful and exceptional onboarding program into effect can make a big difference in job performance. The more additional steps you take to address and analyze your employees' concerns, the easier it will be to fill the gaps between human resources and people operations.

2- Employee Engagement Matters More Than You Think It Does

Today's world is way more competitive than it was a decade ago. With the advancements in technology, the need for an organization to create a border vision for a digital future full of possibilities, adaptation, and never-ending options for everything is higher than ever. One such area is the job market. As many business owners have realized that the easiest way to engage their employees is through establishing a positive first impression on their employees from the get-go, onboarding is the most obvious choice to help the new hires navigate through their work responsibilities and work culture. Estimates reveal that companies that run engaging and meaningful onboarding programs are more likely to encourage employees to build a robust professional network instead of working solely for work experience.

3- Role Clarity Impacts Performance

When job seekers apply online to their desired role and organization, the first thing they would most likely notice is the job description and years of experience the job requires. However, whatever a hiring manager posts as job descriptions do not always cover every task an employee has to perform. Without proper clarity on their roles and responsibilities, delivering the expected productivity becomes difficult for the new hires. Effective onboarding helps new hires understand and work their way through their job responsibilities way before they know what their exact duties are. Giving your employees a clear understanding of their roles at your company in their onboarding programs serves as an essential precursor of productivity.

4- Onboarding Creates A Sense Of Positivity And Affiliation

In today's diverse culture, a sense of belonging matters a lot, both personally and professionally. In essence, affiliation in the workplace is the essential element that leads employees to take more responsibility and accountability for their actions. When onboarding programs are designed to make new hires feel affiliated with the organization, team productivity would substantially increase as work becomes more collaborative. Though many companies add affiliation and inclusivity to their core values, only some adopt diversity and give employees a sense of belonging. Organizations that want to stay ahead of the curve in terms of inclusive and employee-centric work culture, rather than staying inclusive only on paper, need to reinvent their strategic onboarding process with significant activities throughout the process.

5- Onboarding Leads To Mentorship And Leadership

Integrating the new hires into the organization's culture, their daily tasks and administrative tasks is the primary objective behind employee onboarding. That is why onboarding programs are given more focus and considered the most effective ways to connect new hires with their work responsibilities. Besides that, onboarding helps new hires, especially the young ones, develop exceptional communication skills required to get things done the most professional way. It pays off when young, new employees seek the most experienced employees' support and mentorship. Most mentorship programs fail due to a lack of understanding and miscommunication between mentors and mentees. When onboarding prompts new hires to hone the right skills, companies can save a lot of time and effort in mentorship and developing a leadership pipeline.

6- Onboarding Improves Your Talent Acquisition

Imagine this: You hired someone after months of spending valuable time and effort, which seemed to be of great value to your company, and some four months later, they handed their notice in. Voluntary resignations are unfavorable; at the same time, there are solutions an organization can take to avoid high voluntary turnover. One such solution is onboarding. It is not onboarding like a one-size-fits-all solution, but reinventing it according to the current turnover rates makes a huge difference. Moreover, successful onboarding gives actionable insights to the talent acquisition leaders in your organization to make favorable hiring decisions in future hires.

Effective Ways to Make Your Onboarding Work

Most organizations with higher turnover rates still believe that every employee who accepts their job offer stays loyal to the company. This traditional mentality results in a lack of attention to the newly hired employees, affecting the employee retention rate. As onboarding is one of the effective ways to show your new hires that you value their time and effort during their tenure in the organization, it is imperative to have structured onboarding in place to achieve the desired employee retention. Here are some practical ways your organization can come up with an exceptional onboarding process for your new employees:

Give Your New Employees A Memorable First Day

Make a first impression that is hard to shake. It doesn't matter how big your organization is or what sector your organization is in; a disappointing first day for your employees can change a company's reputation on a dime. Your stakeholders and investors observe more than your overall bottom line. And some factors that investors worry about before investing in your organization are retention and turnover rates. As you know, the employee experience consistently results in an unexpected rise in employee turnover. The easiest step an organization can take to create an impactful first day at work for its new hires is rethinking its onboarding for the better.

Have New Hires Meet with Your Influential Leadership Team

Your employees deserve recognition for their work, and making them feel they are a great asset to your organization is where the solution lies. Besides accolades and appraisals for their work, your new employees should know that whatever effort they make pays off the organization, and the leaders they look up to know that. Practically, this usually happens months or even years after they get into a team where the productivity speaks for itself. If onboarding programs are strategically designed to convene the most potential leaders of your organization to have direct speeches and sessions with your new hires, the results and inspiration your new employees receive are worth the effort and time.

Create Get-To-Know-You Meetings with Fellow Staff

New hires and fellow employees must get along as they embark on a new journey when the onboarding is over. Naturally, some new or even experienced employees are reserved and barely make conversation with their budding employees during the learning process. This could be changed if the onboarding process involves one-to-one meetings with key staff with whom the new hires will work together.

Give New Hires Something to Remember You By

Your brand and core values may be one of the reasons why your new hires wanted to work for you. There has to be something that makes your new hires think they are in the right place which can have effect on new hire retention. They have already made it through the interview process. The only thing left for them to do is show you that they are a great addition to your organization and team. Likewise, it should be reflected from the organization's side that they value the new hires' contribution to the company. One way of showing that is to welcome them with onboarding kits, which could be anything—from a personal note from the CEO to things they could carry with them forever. It is always good to give your new hires a valuable gift or product to remember their onboarding by.

Ensure Your Onboarding Managers Give Constructive Feedback to New Hires

Feedback at the right time in the right tone is essential for a successful onboarding program. When your new hires come to know that they are performing better than they have expected, it is more likely that they will take steps to improve their performance over time. Sometimes, your new hires are not exactly sure where they go wrong with the work or haven't completely understood their roles. Constructive feedback from the right person with the right suggestion could dramatically increase your employees' perspective and make them go the extra mile to meet the expectations. Thus, giving feedback during the onboarding process is always recommended to create a positive onboarding experience.

Schedule 90-days and Quarterly Check-ins

Checking in on the new hires helps onboarding managers understand if the whole onboarding process is helping the new hires explore the company's culture and expectations. What many organizations overlook on their onboarding strategy is check-ins on their new hires. The managers and senior employees need to make some efforts to initiate a meaningful conversation with new hires and check in on them from time to time. Studies have shown that it takes almost a year for a new hire to get comfortable with his team and the company's culture.

Get Your New Employees Off to A Good Start

Hiring the most potential people in today's world is challenging for many organizations. However, there are ways an organization can improve and overcome factors affecting its turnover and retention rates. One such indispensable factor is effective employee onboarding. Indeed, proper onboarding is a great advantage that every organization should leverage and create opportunities. An essential part of any successful onboarding program is ensuring the new hires integrate into the organization's culture and feel more welcomed than they imagined before walking into their first day at work.

Moreover, there are many factors to consider when rethinking your onboarding process. Bringing in technology to reduce manual effort is one of the many factors to be considered in this digital era. Besides that, onboarding your new hires doesn't have to be challenging, considering all the steps mentioned above. As the job markets grow more robust and more competitive than ever before, improving your onboarding process makes a huge difference and positively impacts your employee retention and turnover rate. If you are interested in running onboarding programs or mentoring programs in your organization, please contact us.

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