The onboarding process is a critical stage in a new employee’s introduction to an organization’s culture and working processes. It was a fairly effective process in the pre-pandemic era, because many of the onboarding activities took place in-house. Today, organizations have embraced remote and hybrid working routines as their new norm. And how does this hurt their onboarding process? It has increased cases of insufficient onboarding as support drops and the new employee(s) is left to make discoveries about their new company by themselves.
The onboarding process lasts from a few weeks to a year, based on a company’s strategy. However, as reported on BusinessWire, organizations place more emphasis on new hire paperwork instead of focusing on the process’s long-term success. Only 10% of companies view onboarding as an ongoing process in ensuring a new employee feels satisfied and confident in their new position and job requirements. In contrast, 37% of companies end the onboarding process once the employee has signed the papers and training is complete, usually in a few hours to only a week. That leaves the employee confused, frustrated, and uncertain on what to do. That adversely impacts their productivity and satisfaction levels, future engagement, and interactions. Their enthusiasm and confidence to undertake their new job dwindles and they fall off the “new hire cliff”. If left unsolved, an employee may consider an early resignation.
Following the coronavirus tidal wave, many companies are dealing with large volumes of resignation letters as employees search for new career opportunities in other organizations. Once they are recruited in other companies, they undergo incomplete, paperwork-oriented onboarding, sending them on a downward spiral off the new hire cliff. According to a surveillance report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the average cost-per-hire for a company that includes personnel costs in its budget is $ 6,110. That’s a reflection of just how much companies lose when a new recruit decides to resign due to an incomplete and unsatisfactory onboarding process.
To bring the best out of new talents, companies must understand that the onboarding process is more than signing papers and bundling up training sessions in a day’s work. It involves several activities:
Granted, HR departments must consider onboarding an ongoing process that goes beyond the benefits package. It should be more focused on an open-door policy throughout the 6-month window, to ensure long-term employee engagement and a seamless integration with the rest of the organization.
A company’s culture must be well woven into the pre-employment onboarding process to ensure new hires have a smooth transition to their new posts. The secret to the best-in-class onboarding experience begins by placing the new employee at the core of the onboarding plan. It means basing the process on a human-centric approach. Instead of a standardized, robotic process, it would be best to create an onboarding process steeped in human-focused principles – connecting, encouraging, and engaging new recruits in a human-centric manner.
Below are the best practices to ensure your new employee(s) stick with you during the onboarding stage and beyond.
There are two sides to the remote and hybrid workplaces. The need for human connection has never been more critical. At the same time, it can potentially undermine it. Companies must encourage connection from the first day. Ensure the new recruit gets the best experience from day one. Don’t overwhelm them, but offer them an easy introduction to familiarize themselves with the company. It makes them more relaxed, especially in remote working environments.
To emphasize connection, introduce them to top managers and colleagues to encourage interaction and engagement. Due to the geographical differences in remote and hybrid work settings, you can nurture relationships by leveraging virtual chats, orientation videos, and matching new employees with mentors online. Bearing in mind that 86% of new hires decide to remain in a company based on their onboarding experience, what you do on the first day matters. Don’t focus solely on educating your new employee(s); ensure you spark an excitement about their new environment and job position. Encouraging friendships not only enhances their happiness levels, but it also boosts productivity and employee retention. Above all, it reassures them that they’ve made the right decision to be in your company.
While onboarding en masse calls for a standardized onboarding approach, it might not work when you need to hire one or two employees. Personalizing the experience starts at the pre-onboarding stage. Following a successful hire, send out questionnaires asking the new recruit about their “favorites” – best song, food, hobbies, colors, and more. Try to integrate them as part of a warm welcome when they walk in the company on the first day. For instance, include balloons of their favorite color as their favorite song playing in the background. At lunch time, go a step further and have their best food delivered to their proposed desk. In remote working environments, you can do that via Zoom, and have the meal delivered to their remote location. These are simple gestures that makes a new employee feel a sense of belonging and appreciation, and that has a significant impact in their career journey in your company.
It’s worth remembering that the onboarding process is not only about the new hire, but also the key personnel who remain in contact with the new recruits during the pre-onboarding stage. What you need is a manager who’ll be dedicated to the new recruits. Thus, start by empowering the HR manager to hedge your bet that they’ll put in work to ensure the new employee’s well-being and satisfaction. Activating the manager means providing them with the training and tools they need to overcome the new hire cliff. That coaching enables them to develop winning onboarding strategies. They can also coerce their teams to focus on connecting with the new employee. Because managers play a key role in employee engagement, providing effective coaching to the manager is a surefire means to a powerful onboarding process.
Attracting and recruiting new talents is a constant tug of war among competing organizations. Onboarding provides an opportunity to stage your brand as the best place for your hard-won recruit to further their career. That’s why companies need functional and strategic onboarding plans, especially now when remote and hybrid working settings are a norm. Adding a human factor to onboarding, personalizing the experience, and the supporting managers guarantees the new recruit a seamless transition to their new docket. Meanwhile, organizations alleviate the risk of losing new talents – and the recruitment money.