In the words of author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek, “customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” In order to have employees be dedicated to and provide value to the organization, it is important to make them feel welcomed and prepared for the tasks ahead right from the beginning. Onboarding is what was previously referred to as new employee orientation. Onboarding provides new hires with training needed to become contributing members of the team, which encompasses information about equipment, knowledge and culture. Onboarding is a contributing factor to employee retention, if conducted effectively.
First some statistics: According to O.C. Tanner, 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for at least three years after a great onboarding experience. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, more than 20 percent of employee turnover happens within the first 90 days of employment and nearly 90 percent of new employees decide if they will stay or leave a position within the first six months. CareerBuilder has found that about 50 percent of companies onboards employees in a month or less. Unfortunately, only 12 percent of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees, according to Gallup. First impressions matter.
Successful onboarding has four phases: pre-start, first day, first week, and first month.
- Before the new employee starts, it is important to set up a few things, including the workstation/officer, obtain an email address for the hire, prepare keys or keycards, and have the necessary forms and employee handbook and/or policies ready for the person.
- It is also nice to have a welcome note on the person’s desk or to send in advance with information on dress code, parking and other information the person needs before they walk in the door.
- Alert existing employees that the person will be starting so that they can welcome the new hire on the first day.
- Set up a schedule for the first day so that team members will have training meetings and welcome events such as a team lunch on their calendars.
- Give the new hire a tour of the office, including where restrooms, kitchen, printers are located and how to use said printers and coffeemakers. There may be several people starting on the same day and some of these activities can be done on a group-level.
- Set up one-to-one meetings with team members, supervisors.
- Assign new hire a mentor or buddy to guide them and set up a time for get-acquainted meetings.
- Provide reading material such as product information, and assignments for new hire to accomplish during unscheduled hours.
- Provide employee with ID card and security codes
- The team lunch is a good time to discuss company culture, how people act, interact and communicate with one another.
- Gift the employee with company items such mug, pens and notepads.
- Assign actual project to the new hire. No one wants to do busy work for too long.
- Work with new hire to set goals.
- Provide information on the history of company.
- Introduce new hire to employees in other departments.
- Request a bio.
- The new hire will now be working on projects. It is important for both the supervisor and employee to realize that person needs time to ramp up and will be slower so fewer tasks are initially better.
- Provide and solicit feedback. How is the person adapting and learning? How does new hire feel about the company, assignments, and ability to cope?
- Does person have the resources needed?
Every company is different and has a unique culture. The point is to make sure that the person understands expectations and feels welcome. The bottom line is employees who experience a structured onboarding program are 69% more likely to stay at the company for three or more years.