One of the top concerns that talent managers face today relates to how to successfully integrate new employees into the workplace. In fact, according to a survey conducted by PwC, 93% of CEOs say that, other than finding qualified talent to fill vacancies, employee retention and engagement were two top concerns for human resource managers.
Human Resource managers must address issues surrounding turnover and retention for sustainable growth to be realized. One of the best strategies for achieving employee engagement and retention is by employing effective onboarding of new employees. Facilitating the quick and smooth performance and social adjustment of new employees in the workplace is a key element of managing talent.
While there's plenty of research on the importance of onboarding, there is a lack of information on effective onboarding strategies. In this article, we’ll look at some of the strategies you can use to welcome and integrate your new employees into the workplace.
Plan Ahead for New Hire Arrivals and Activities
Planning is an integral component of any organizational strategy. While it may appear counterintuitive, an effective onboarding of a new employee should begin well before a candidate is even hired.
As Mr. James Carter, an HR executive at AI career service noticed:
“During the hiring process, engage each candidate as if they are already part of the organization. Consider whether, for instance, your recruitment process aligns with the organizational culture. If not, then the candidates coming into the organization are likely to encounter a culture shock.”
Moreover, planning also includes preparing for the arrival of the new hire (including the work station), and a welcoming reception. Here are some things you should consider before the new hire starts working:
1. Communicate clearly
- let them know what they should expect on their first day. Make a checklist if needed.
- Allow them to ask any questions is needed.
2. Set up the equipment they may need.
- Make sure their desk is ready to go.
- Add a calendar to their desktop or sync with their Gmail to let them know of any meetings or activities going on.
- Make sure their desk looks nice.
- Make sure they have a contact list of the important numbers like HR or IT and any other coworkers directory of phone numbers and emails.
- Set up their email.
3. Give them a mentor and help them feel welcomed.
- Assign a mentor before the new hire starts and have the two meet on the first day.
4. Schedule an appointment to meet with HR
- Let them know what they need to bring to fill out their I-9 and W-4 forms.
Alternatively, you could organize new hire orientation games to help the team bond together with the new hire. Organize for a fun-filled activity, where the new hire can get to interact with other staff in a non-formal environment.
Here are some of the activities you should consider as to help the new hire feel welcome:
Sending out new team member announcement e-mails to other employees to ask them to prepare for the new hire
Get a security badge for the new hire if needed
Prepare a nameplate on her door or desk to show that you have considered and prepared her space
Prepare a stack of business cards for the new hire
For the companies that treat their employees as a part of their family, could also have a banner that reads “Welcome to the team [new employee]!” (of course, you should use the real name of the new hire in the banner).
Optimize Orientation and Provide an Onboarding Packet
Another important strategy to consider when looking to successfully welcome new employees is maximizing the orientation. As with the hiring process, planning ahead for the first day of the employee is an indication that you are sincerely interested in the new hire and his or her transition. An example of some best onboarding practices in this regard is to provide a comprehensive packet of information to the new hire, covering the main details about the organization, including issues related to policy. There are also organizations that prefer to handle most of the activities surrounding the orientation process, including the education regarding company policies and compliance issues, well before the first day of work. This can be achieved through an online portal where the new employee can be able to access all the necessary orientation material. The employee can also be able to download and fill out any documentation from home, thus eliminating the strenuous first-day paperwork.
A real-life example here is creating a video with the assistance of employees who have worked for long in the company, with each employee offering particular examples of how the values of the organization may play out in real life. Sharing personal stories during orientation will help new hires fall in love with the organization.
Use Innovative Strategies and Technology for Training
According to a recent study, 94% of employees demonstrate more loyalty to employers who invest in improving their skills through training. The training of a new hire begins immediately they come into the workplace and should be planned to be ongoing in a structured manner.
As part of great onboarding, the initial training of a new hire ought to focus on confirming and clarifying what the new hire already knows relating to the organization. Once that has been achieved, further training ought to consider such issues that specific organizational programs that result in career path advancement as well as company ideals. Train new employees on how to use available tech, besides having goal-setting sessions to assist new employees to focus on taking advantage of the available opportunities.
Gamification is a useful strategy for onboarding, where typical aspects of game playing are integrated into the initial training. A real-life example of initial training with a clear purpose is having a goal planning session, where the new hire is given the chance to start the integration process from the time they agree to join the organization. For instance, you could consider creating a cloud-based online training module to help employees create smart goals and present them upon arrival.
Coach the Employee on Organizational Culture and Company Swag
It is important to reiterate that onboarding is a process of blending the new hire into the culture of the company, a process that commences during the recruitment process. After the interview, you could give the candidate a company-branded item to help them identify with the firm.
A crucial element of welcoming a new hire is linking them up with an appropriate mentor within the office. The main objective in selecting a mentor for the new hire should be to help the employee appreciate and understand the culture in the organization. You could use this mentorship relationship to introduce the new hire to the various executive in the company. By showing the new hire that top management is interested in his or her welfare promotes intrinsic motivation and loyalty. A system that has been quite effective in making new hires feel welcomed is the workplace buddy system. As part of introducing the new hire to the office, assign the employee to a "buddy" - someone who can offer support and guidance, as well as respond to informal questions not covered in the employee handbook.
Having a structured onboarding process will result in more loyal and motivated employees. The process of integrating new employees into the company culture is vital to improved retention. Use the strategies covered here in this article to improve your onboarding practices.
Alice Berg is a blogger and a career advisor, who received a degree in Social Work and Applied Social Studies. Now she helps people to find their own way in life, gives career advice and guidance, helps young people to prepare for their careers. You can find Alice on Twitter.