Your team's onboarding process is critical to the success of your employees. Without effective onboarding, it will take longer for employees to get up to speed and drive profitability for your business. And if your process gives off a bad first impression, it can cause employee engagement to take a hit.

According to a study from Gallup, only 12 percent of employees believe their organizations do a great job onboarding new employees. This means nearly 90 percent of employees think there's room for improvement when it comes to onboarding.

How can your team ensure you're getting employees started off on the right foot with a successful onboarding process? I've outlined some key tips below.

1. Kick off onboarding before the first day.

Any new hire is likely the most excited about his or her new role right when the offer letter is signed. So rather than letting this excitement taper off leading up to the first day on the job, your team should make an effort to engage with new hires before they even begin.

One way to keep new hires engaged -- and set them up for success on the first day -- is by sharing onboarding documents digitally. No employee wants to spend their entire first day in an HR office filling out paperwork. And corporate managers find paper onboarding tedious as well. According to a study from ServiceNow, 70 percent of corporate managers think employee onboarding is frustrating. Additionally, more than half of corporate managers say it takes 10 or more interactions across an average of five departments to prepare for a new employee's first day.

Instead of tapping into outdated paper onboarding, you can share relevant documents -- such as your benefits overview and employee handbook -- digitally soon after new employees sign their offer letters, so they can fill out most paperwork before they begin. This saves them from spending much of their first day filling out paperwork and enables new employees to start contributing to the business sooner.

2. Set up a detailed onboarding schedule.

If a new employee shows up on his or her first day and doesn't have anything to do, he or she will quickly lose motivation. So it's important for all new employees to have a set schedule for the first week, before they're settled into their day-to-day work.

Your onboarding schedule should include a variety of activities, so new employees can get to know their colleagues and what it's like to work for your team. Training sessions and one-on-ones between new employees and managers are a given, but think of other ways to leave a lasting impression with your onboarding program.

On my team of about 200 employees, outside initial training and team meetings, we ensure new employees have a well-rounded calendar during the first week. New hires introduce themselves in front of the company at our weekly all-company huddle. We also set up a lunch on new employees' second day and for each lunch, we invite several employees from other teams, so new hires can get to know colleagues from across the company.

About once a month or so, recent hires also have the opportunity to attend an "Ask Adam Anything" meeting with me, so they can get to know more about our leadership team and the company as a whole.

To keep new hires excited about being a part of your team, think of unique meetings and activities you can set up during the onboarding process.

3. Extend onboarding and training beyond the first week.

Employee onboarding and training is never officially complete. It's important for employees to have the tools they need to continuously learn, so they can grow in their careers and drive positive results for your business. At my company, one of our core values is "Eager to improve" and we encourage employees to always learn and improve, far beyond initial onboarding.

Post-initial onboarding, your team should offer all employees opportunities for ongoing training. These options can include attending recurring lunch-and-learn sessions, completing regular skills assessments, watching structured training videos, and completing certification courses, to name a few.

As found in the Gallup study, few employees are confident that their companies offer great onboarding. In today's competitive hiring market, it's critical to have effective, engaging onboarding in place, or employees won't hesitate to consider other job opportunities. By following these steps, you can set your employees up for success before they even walk in the door.

Published on: Jun 18, 2019
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