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Do More than Just Onboarding: Take Control and Set up Your New Employees for Long-Term Success

Updated: Feb 28

onboarding strategy
Your Employees' Success Begins with Onboarding

Your boss told you to deliver some goods to a particular place. For this task, you are given a vehicle, completely new to you. And for your destination, you are only given a map, an abstract, overly simplified map without any detailed directions on how to get where you want to be from where you are now. Your boss demands that you arrive at the destination on time.

How would you feel? Do you think you will arrive at the destination on time?

The above story sounds uneasy and unfair. You would probably think that the boss who gave you such a task is an unresponsible, incompetent person. We get you, and we agree with you.

What if this is what happens when a new hire joins your team? Many companies do not recognize (or do not want to recognize) the significance of providing a respectful, effective onboarding process. Just like that poor driver left alone with a pathetic map, new hires are often left alone to figure out what they need to do, how to do their job, and whom to connect with.

You may have spent a lot of time and effort in finding and hiring the best employees for your need. If you do not provide them with an appropriate, professional onboarding procedure, however, they will very likely not succeed in your company. Worse, they may be leaving you entirely soon.

What is Onboarding Process? Let's begin by defining the term first.

Onboarding refers to the process of introducing newly hired employees into an organization and every aspect that's required during that process. A successful onboarding process is a crucial part of supporting employees to effectively land on and understand their new positions and job requirements. The onboarding process is sometimes known as organizational socialization; It implies its requirement of seamless integration with the rest of the company.

There are many activities that go into the onboarding process, from the job offer to team training. Popular onboarding activities include:

  • Job offers

  • Salary negotiation

  • New hire paperwork and benefits paperwork

  • Policy and culture training

  • Job training

  • Facility tours

  • Executive introductions

  • Team introductions

When does the onboarding process begin? And how long should it take?

Technically speaking, onboarding starts on the first day of the new hire. In reality, however, many companies opt for an earlier date, as early as the candidate accepts the offer.

How long should the onboarding process take?

The general consensus among HR professionals is that successful, competent onboarding should take approximately three months, minimum.

A strong body of research, however, advises that companies can reduce the turnover rate by extending the onboarding process duration up to an entire year. We too do agree with this notion.

According to a study, approximately one-third of new hires leave the job within six months of starting. Out of them, almost 70% quit within the first three months. Therefore, it seems only reasonable to put in place the onboarding process for 3 months or longer.

Finding and recruiting the employees who best fit your company's needs takes a lot of time and money, so don't leave them alone only to leave you behind abruptly. Having the right people in your team is extremely crucial for your success. Indeed, that's the only way to fly higher and further.

onboarding process tips
Make a choice today: Provide a competent onboarding process to retain competent employees!

Be Strategic and Be Successful

For a better, smarter, and more effective boarding process, we have done quite a bit of research and come up with a list of proven call-to-action plans for you. Apply and practice them and see how a relatively little shift and investment can make a huge difference!

✅ Take ownership: You Are Accountable for the New Hires' Onboarding Experience

Every manager is accountable for ensuring each new employee’s experience in the workplace is positive and encouraging.

As a company in an extremely dynamic field, we strongly believe that a big portion of our success comes from our great team. Without the competent, committed members of our team, we would never have been able to be where we are today.

Having that in mind, we have been making intentional efforts to provide a respectful, effective and comfortable onboarding experience for new members. We would like to share some of the things we have learned in our own experience in three parts, hoping it will bring out a positive change!

✅ Clarity: The Clearer the Goals Are, the Easier for the New Hires to Succeed

Stephen Covey in his book The 8th Habit revealed a shocking truth. He describes a poll of 23,000 employees drawn from a number of companies and industries.

Covey explains the results in comparison to a soccer team. If your employees are 11 members of a soccer team:

  • Only 4 players on the field would know which goal is theirs.

  • Only 2 players would care.

  • Only 2 would understand what position they play and what they are supposed to do.

  • All but 2 players would, in some way, be competing against their own team members rather than the opponent.

This data is utterly appalling. Most of your competent, hard-earned employees are lost, to put it softly; They do not reap the harvest matching their efforts and even more or less sabotage their own team members, to put it more bluntly.

Of course, there are many factors that contribute to this shameful result, but a big one may be the lack of clarity. Many employees get lost and/or waste their valuable time and energy because they do not have a clear idea of what they do and how they do it.

The same principle goes for the onboarding experience. If you don't have clear goals for what you would like to accomplish and purposefully deliver them, your new hires will very likely just bolster those horrifying statistics.

✅ A Higher Standard of Integrity in Action

Have a brutally honest evaluation of the current onboarding process you have. Ask yourself several foundational questions to figure out what you would like and thus what you need to do such as:

  • How will you clearly identify and explain the company's policies, regulations, and procedures new employees need to know, understand, and comply with?

  • How will you clearly set standards and measures for the job expectations for the new employee?

  • How will you connect the new employee with other existing employees to establish all vital relationships for success?

  • How will the management team review the onboarding program on a regular basis and make all the necessary changes?

Don't forget that your onboarding procedure must be planned and prepared BEFORE you hire someone.

powerful onboarding
Powerful onboarding experiences goes a long way

✅ Evaluation and Analysis: How is Your Company's Onboarding Process, REALLY?

No matter what industry you work in, you should never be an island. You may be introverted, but still, we all are made for community: We need others to grow and thrive.

Making necessary connections for sustainable success is especially challenging for people who are new to the team. They are still figuring out what their new jobs will be and how those will need to be done. The initial connections they have during the first few weeks may make a huge difference. This is when the manager needs to come in and provide guidance.

You've experienced this: On your first day or even in the first few weeks at work, you barely get introduced to other people. You naturally got to know coworkers in your immediate team, but that is all. Your boss seems indifferent yet demands that you get down to work immediately and bring out tangible results. As common as this pattern happens, this short-sighted action of the manager hurts the new hire as well as the team in the long run. If your employees do not have active, supportive connections that are larger than their own circles, they will hardly reach their full potential.

An easy, effective solution would be to create an onboarding process that goes beyond their teams and HR. Managers should make introductions to different members of the company. When you make an introduction, briefly explain to the existing members why the new employee has been hired and what roles they will play in the team and/or across the organization.

For your quick reference, here is a checklist:

  • Have you introduced the new hire to his/her immediate team?

  • Have you introduced the new hire to managers of other teams?

  • Have you introduced the new hire to the upper management?

  • Have you explained to the new hire what technology they use to communicate with others?

  • Have you explained to the new hire about the current social events and how to find out about them?

Your new member brings new insights and fresh ideas. You need to pull them out effectively and let them bloom, not only for the new member but also for you and your team. Your new team member needs your help to be their best possible.

Take on your responsibility and choose to be a responsible, perceptive manager.

✅ Be Effectively Essential: Beauty of Prioritization

Let's talk about work. After all, we are all here for a commonly shared mission.

For the first few weeks, we have found it immensely effective when managers intentionally hold off on new hires' trivial administrative duties. By doing so, managers create ample time for the new hires to focus on identifying and understanding their key roles and quickly get comfortable with them first. Managers can spend this time on one-on-one performance coaching and directing. In addition, managers can create important connections for the new hires. Make sure the new hires feel that they matter to the company.

The other important thing to remember is the onboarding process may take a longer time than you anticipate. It is common that onboarding takes more than just a few days or a week. These days, more and more companies hire employees to work from their own homes. The onboarding process for remote workers might take longer than for those who come to the office since you, as a manager, will need to go the extra mile to introduce the company, make connections, etc. The fundamental principle stays the same. Be patient and start with the essential work.

The bottom line is, that whatever the case may be, managers need to be intentional and purposeful to provide a smooth, effective onboarding procedure for the new hires. Only with managers' support, do new hires adapt to their new job quickly and successfully.

Great vision without great people is pointless. You need to have the right, strong people on your team to thrive. And that starts with onboarding.

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