April 3rd, 2016

Written by Lilith Christiansen, Vice President, Kaiser Associates

Hiring employees is the biggest investment you can make in your business. Surprisingly, you may be forfeiting profit and competitive position by failing to invest in the design and implementation of an effective new hire onboarding program. Research has shmanhelpingown that less than a third of executives worldwide are positive about their onboarding experience. This statistic underscores the fact that the way that we onboard our new hires needs to evolve.

To achieve success, onboarding programs should deliver a more seamless experience that is integrated with your business processes. To get you started, we recommend investment in four organizing pillars:

  1. Early career support.
  2. Orientation to your culture and performance values.
  3. Insight into your strategic position, intent and direction.
  4. Activities that enable your new hire to build beneficial relationships.

Delivering a Successful New Hire Onboarding Program

Here are the pillars with actionable online training ideas for the MindTickle audience. These practices are good starting points, but should not be considered a comprehensive list of best practices.

1. Provide Early Career Support

Acclimating a new hire to your company should begin the moment you offer them the position, and the process should continue for a full year after they start work. Considering that almost a third of employees who have been in their current job less than six months are already job searching, offering ongoing support during the early months is one of the most important things you can do. You can begin the absorption process right from the day that you give the offer by pre-boarding your new hire.

Take Action: With pre-boarding activities such as goal planning, your new hire has the opportunity to begin the integration process from the moment they accept the offer. For example, consider developing a cloud-based online training module on how to develop SMART goals and have them watch it before day 1. After the new hire starts work, consider reviewing your business SMART goals with them and guiding them to create their own 3 months and 6 month plans based on business priorities.

2. Deliver an Orientation to Your Culture and Performance Values

While you may assume that new hires will learn company culture by socializing with your team, cultural norms can be elusive and ill-communicated – so culture is not something you should leave to chance. Using employee work stories such as ones demonstrating integrity related to business practices and/or engagement with community organizations can be a really powerful and memorable way to teach organizational culture.

Take Action: Consider developing a video with the help of long-time employees providing specific examples of how your organization’s performance values might play out in everyday life. There’s no better way to make your employees fall in love with your company than by sharing stories in your onboarding program.

3. Offer Insight into Your Strategic Position, Intent, and Direction

Your new hires view their new job as a step toward their personal goals and success. Onboarding is a journey and your new hires need to feel that they’re an important part of that journey. You can motivate your employees by mapping out clear milestones that allow them to see what the next steps are in the journey.

Take Action: Consider recording leadership panels where business strategy is discussed. Then, have managers debrief the sessions with new hires and discuss the relevance to their specific jobs and teams. Offering insight into the direction of the business with periodic updates is a great way to introduce strategy early in the new hire experience as well as help new hires understand how their role impacts the business.

4. Plan activities that enable your new hire to build beneficial relationships.

A new hire may not know who to turn to if they want to share an idea or have questions about their role and specific processes. Being confident and fitting in at a new company means not just having a mentor, but also having friends and peers to interact with. This means actually having someone there to be supportive every step of the way. Your new hires will perform at much higher levels when they have strong interpersonal networks.

Take Action: For teams with members working remotely, consider having everyone shoot a quick video with a fun fact about themselves, what they specialize in and an invitation to connect. You may also use social and game mechanics to facilitate the connection between your team members. By integrating online social interactions and discovery as part of the new hire onboarding program, you will create a positive effect on productivity and employee retention.

Effective new hire onboarding programs help you foster a more successful work atmosphere, more satisfied employees, lower turnover rate and better bottom line results. Effective new hire onboarding programs also have the added benefit of reducing the time it takes for the average employee to achieve expected productivity levels. This decreases workplace errors, increases morale and minimizes the time spent doing much-dreaded paperwork. A well-planned onboarding program can help shape the future of your company for years to come.

For more helpful details on implementing more effective new hire onboarding programs read my book Successful Onboarding: A Strategy to Unlock Hidden Value Within Your Organization. Ensure that your business does not leave value on the table by designing an effective new hire onboarding program. What is the best part of your new hire onboarding program? Leave a comment and let us know!