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New Hire Mentoring Program to Onboard New Employees

A new hire mentoring program is highly effective for onboarding your new employees successfully with an amazing first day and integration to culture.


Entry-level employees or junior employees generate a turnover of 30-50% of their annual salary for their company. So, it is so crucial that you set them up for success from day one itself. One of the ways to accomplish happy, loyal, and informed employees from day one is by having a new hire mentoring program or an onboarding program. This is why many of the global fortune 500 companies have mentorship programs as a part of their onboarding process. Companies like Google, Netflix, Quora, Trello, Kayako, and Warby Parker have exceptional mentoring programs for their new employees to ensure continued success.

 

To spotlight one of the onboarding programs, the new employee of Google (or as they call Noogler) is mentored by senior employees or by their manager with a series of checklists like "Connect the Noogler to a peer buddy," "have an onboarding check-in with the Noogler, at least once a month for the first six months of employment" etc. But then the question is how your company can have some or any form of new hire program and that too amid the current work from home situation. Many global companies prophesied that at least some of their workforce will still be remote employees even after the threat of the worldwide pandemic is passed. 

 

Anyhow, Covid or not, companies should be willing to explore every untapped potential to be competitive in this day and age. There is no more significant potential than a newly onboarded employee. And a good onboarding will guide this potential in the right direction. Continue reading to get a whole walkthrough of an ideal hire onboarding process for your new employees. 

 

What Is The Appeal of The Onboarding Process from An Employee Perspective?

The business relationship of your company and your employees should be built on a platform that enables mutual development. Mentoring your employees at their nascent stage increases the probability and rate of career development at a much higher pace which is a good thing for your company. Your employees' microcosmic level of achievement will culminate in a cascading success of your company as a whole. However, there needs to be an alignment between the career development goals of the employees and your company's organizational goals. A well-developed mentoring program can help establish an alignment right at the bat. Such career development mentoring programs have an increased possibility to garner employee satisfaction. 

Benefits Of Having An Onboarding Mentorship Program

Timely Knowledge Transfer

Much of the company's resources and time are wasted when the new employees are not aware of your company's operations. And when the employees have a sufficient understanding of all things in your company, they might not have the same promise of potential as when they first started. That train has left the station. But with an onboarding mentoring process, your new employees are aware of your company's function within the first few weeks. Without a mentoring program at the mouth of their onboarding period, this comprehension level could have taken months or sometimes years (unfortunately). Because of the experienced mentors, the new hires/mentees will learn all the nuances of your company, including the technical and managerial instructions, and learn about specific tools and technologies involved in the operations.  

Understanding the company culture

The onboarding training program will educate the new employees about the organizational goals and vision aside from providing contact information, login credentials, and other functional information. Both formal and informal organizational norms will be explained to them during the course of the program. An open dialogue helps make the employees comfortable with the organizational culture. With this, you can help your employees find their place in the company. Language, working style, ethics, and even inside jokes are all critical parts of the quantifiable integration factors of the employees. A good chunk of the new hires will experience difficulties adapting to your office culture because of the baggage that they carry from their previous experiences. However, with sufficient education of work culture, they will let go of their luggage.

 

Clarity in responsibility

How often have you witnessed your new employee's productivity taking a hit because they did not have enough clarity of their role in your company? It seems to happen for all companies everywhere. But this doesn't have to be the case. In an employee mentorship program, the onboarding mentors can provide the new hires with role clarity and other vital indicators, benefiting the new joiners to understand the company's expectations of them and become self-sufficient. Which, in turn, on the road will lead to a boost in productivity. There will be a slump in productivity and confidence when there is an obscurity of the expectation. And whenever there is clarity of anticipation, there will be a hike in employee engagement and participation.

Social Connections

For a new employee, a new workplace is entirely uncharted territory. This can impede their ability to open up fully. The latest power structure and hierarchy of the team is reason enough to make reserved and uneasy. Millennials and Gen Z, who reportedly are more anxious than any other generation, drive about 70-75% of your possible new hires. And because of the volatility to stress, around 66% of Millennials quit their jobs within the four years of their employment. Gen Z also follows a similar trend to the Millennials. But through a mentoring relationship, the new employees can establish social connections, not only with their peers but also with their superiors. In turn, it increases loyalty and camaraderie and thereby increases productivity. 

Higher employee retention rate

Considerable research on the workplace has provided clear indications regarding the role an effective onboarding program plays in employee retention. The result of one such survey indicates that the employees who stick around after their fourth year were initially exposed to mentors and mentorship programs by the company during the onboarding or outside. The study's finding reaches the conclusion that employees with mentorship experience fulfillment in their professional and personal lives. Thus an effective employee mentoring program dedicated to employee development efforts has the added bonus of increasing employee loyalty as well. 

Qualification, A Mentor, Must Have to Mentor The New Hire

Experience

Choosing the apt mentors capable of mentoring the new hire is 2/3 of the job well done. But knowing who is qualified to do it can be a struggle, and companies have often gone wrong in selecting the right person. That being said, the first thing to look for in a potential mentor is the company experience. The mentors should have at least two years of employment in your company. But keep in mind that mentioning it to be two years is just a guideline. Nearly all of the mentors chosen will have four-plus years of full-time experience. This enables the mentors to have a complete understanding of the policies and secure needed familiarity of the programs to explain them clearly to the new joiners/mentees.

Outlook

After the experience, the mentor's outlook is also a critical factor in deciding because the mentor will be transferring more than the operational knowledge of the new employees. They will be transferring their attitude by showcasing their genuine outlook on your company and thereby inspiring the mentees' outlook. Mentors you select need to convey the positive image of your company. It also helps if they are also a champion of your company's vision and mission. Also, their actions should ideally exemplify your company's expectations and core values. 

Commitment

When the mentors have the experience and the outlook fit enough to ensure the program's success, the next thing you need to look for is their commitment. The mentors are then to be filtered based on how committed they are to being a factor in the new employees' integration and development. If your company has a mentor training program, you need to consider their participation there. The candidate will have more than 95% of the participation rate in a perfect world, which is critical because a mentor committed to their training program will also show commitment to the mentees' training. As the mentoring program can be of two to four hours for six or more months, dedication will define the program's triumph. Also, the mentors should be available to their mentees outside of the mentoring sessions. That can be in person or through other means of communication like phone and email whenever the mentees need guidance. 

How Will The Process Work?

Staging

Even before the workplace mentoring program hits the ground, there needs to be sure best practices are implemented for the program to roll out smoothly as you expected. For starters, you need to inform your workforce (current employees) that will be implemented in such a program. Then you have to be transparent about your program goals and selection process. The selection of mentors and the pairing process with the mentees are best advised to be done through dedicated mentoring software. It removes the human-based bias in the nomination process and thereby eliminates the opportunity of anointing individuals to "play God" in these situations. A mentor training program will do much good in making your senior staff members understand their expectations as mentors. You can instill the onboarding program guidelines to the potential mentors with the mentor training program. 

Guidelines

The employee onboarding mentoring program aims to provide the mentees with organizational guidance and social connections and encourage participation. Also, the program aims for the new employees to circumnavigate office politics, other obstacles and work towards professional development. With these goals in mind, a set of guidelines should be given to mentors. These guidelines will guarantee that said goals will be realized. Following are some of the guidelines you can implement in your company

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that each company is a non-identical entity with some similarities with regards to the industry it presides over, so the guidelines should be optimized to best suit the company that wants to implement the onboarding mentoring program. 

  • The mentor has to welcome the employee and set up a time for the first mentoring session. 
  • The mentor is responsible for solving any questions that the new employees might have during the onboarding program.
  • The mentor and new employee/mentee should meet at least once every month until the process concludes.
  • The mentor should encourage the new employee to participate in various projects and events.
  • In case the mentor or the mentee does not have a positive onboarding experience, they both can opt for a different partner by reaching out to Human Resources.
  • If the mentor becomes aware of the negative experience or challenges the new employee faces, they must contact Human Resources and share that information. But this should not be done in a way that overrides the confidentiality agreement between the mentors and mentees.
  • Confidentiality is one of the primary guidelines to the mentor-mentee relationships as it influences openness for the mentees. Throughout the course of the program, both parties might learn personal information about each other. This is another reason to monitor a strict confidentiality policy in a mentoring program.

Activity

From the first session, the program goal will be to build a foundation for the new employees' personal and professional development. A better part of this session will be dedicated to knowing more about the new employees and their goals. The role of the mentor during these sessions will be of a guide and not of an autocrat. As senior leaders of the organization, it will fall on their shoulders to mold the high-potential employees into successful personnel without taking away their uniqueness. Virtual mentoring is also becoming popular amid the work-from-home situation. A successful mentoring program that can operate remotely was not very agreed up before the worldwide lockdown. But this came to fruition, thanks to technologies such as Skype, Zoom, Google meet, etc. 

How to Measure Success?

It is important to know whether your onboarding program was a big hit or a massive flop when everything is said and done. By knowing this, you can further improve your onboarding program and mix and match its structure to bring you the best result. However, it would help if you understood that your initial program might not be what you imagined and might not provide the desired outcome that should be expected. Through trial and error, you will finally reach the best possible mentoring program for your new employees. And reaching that program is heavily dependent on diligently measuring the success of your program. Here are some of the ways and metrics that you can measure the success of your onboarding program: 

Feedbacks

Constant hunting of feedback will let you know how the program is going from the perspective of its participants. Take caution to not overdo it and make it a tiring affair. Feedback should not just be taken from the mentees. Employee mentors also do have a say in accurately identifying the success of the program. There can be two strategies of feedback used for measuring. The first one is anecdotal feedback, which will be provided by the mentees to the mentors when it is requested. This feedback will let you know whether or not the program is meeting its expectations. Secondly, the mentors and mentees can input their feedback after each session into a mentoring software to report much more tangible feedback. This type of feedback can be used as a key metric to measure the success rate of the program than any other feedback. 

Business Consequence

To consider an onboarding program a successful initiative, it needs to demonstrate that there has been some positive effect on the business due to its implementation. In other words, the program should have met the goals set at the beginning of the initiative. Some of the goals that indicate business growth due to the mentoring programs for new hires are the retention rate of the employees, their engagement, and productivity. And the long-term success of the program is measured by the career prosperity of the mentees like performance evaluation, transfer, promotion, etc. 

Everyone Wants A Good First Day

There is no question of whether or not it is beneficial to include the mentoring program during onboarding. The onboarding program of companies like Google is proof that it is beneficial. Effective employee development programs increase engaged employees, company loyalty, productivity and enhance the retention rate of the newly on boarded employees. But implementing the right program is more complicated than it seems. It is hard and needs a lot of trial and error from the execution part, but it is doable. It needs to be constantly updated and improvised based on the success measuring metric to finally achieve the best possible program that fits the culture of your company.



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