Seven Ways to Enhance your Organization’s Onboarding Program

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“A friend of mine, a very highly skilled professional in her own field got hired as a head of a department in a very fast growing company; as soon as she got there she met the CEO and was introduced to her duties. She went back to her office and was lost; she started asking herself who are the directors in the company? What do they do? What’s the decision-making matrix? What’s the value chain of the company? No one told her the answers to those questions and it got me thinking, in this day and age are there any companies that do not onboard their employees? Don’t they execute the proper induction program? Why is it crucial for companies to have an induction program?”

Camil El Khoury, Senior Partner at ighcc.

According to a study by SHRM, employers lose 17% of their new hires within the first ninety days due to ineffective onboarding. Despite companies’ efforts to redesign their recruitment and onboarding processes, many employees still believe that once the new hire signs a contract, they automatically become loyal to the organization. What many are neglecting is the fact that retaining top talent requires effective onboarding programs that make the new hire feel welcome, safe, and well integrated into the company’s culture.

Onboarding programs are often not given priority due to frustrating cross-departmental processes and time investment requirements. Nonetheless, as employee expectations rise, so should the need to prioritize onboarding programs.

Here are 7 ways companies can improve their onboarding programs:

Create a customized onboarding program

Welcoming a new hire means addressing their need to feel well integrated into the organization. A customized onboarding program means asking: What does the organization want from this employee and what does the employee want from it in return? This question can assist you in creating a checklist of everything the new hire needs to get acquainted with during the first months of their joining.

Educate other employees about the value of onboarding

Lack of awareness about onboarding can create obstacles throughout process. Training team leaders and members about the purpose of the program, what’s in it for them and the new recruit, and what results are expected can help everyone feel involved.

Assign a single point of contact

Help ease new employees into their position by pairing them with a single point of contact. This can comfort the new employee and provide them with a reliable companion who can introduce them to other team members, provide hands-on training and incorporate them into the company’s culture.

Consider energy levels

The first day of a new job can be exhausting and the new employee needs time to digest the information. For that reason, onboarding should be spread out over a period of time in order not to overwhelm the new joiner. Like any transformational experience, onboarding should be gradual.

Manage goals and expectations

Setting clear goals and expectations can keep the employee motivated. Specifying what needs to be accomplished to reach the next step in their career is a crucial factor in the onboarding process.

When the direct manager develops a journey map, clarifies expectations and sets milestones for measuring progress, the new employee will have a well-defined and structured journey that can keep them engaged.

Do not neglect feedback checkpoints

Feedback is a two-way process. It is as important to request feedback from the new employee on their experience so far, as it is to measure their performance. This step shows new employees that they are valued. Feedback sessions, especially during the first few months of joining the company, should be frequent and consistent.

Be ready to go virtual

As the shift to a hybrid or even remote work model has been witnessed more often in the past couple of years, the onboarding process should also be modeled accordingly. There are several ways to integrate new employees who will be working remotely. Some of these methods include:

  • A customized welcome presentation that is informative and introduces the new employee to important information like the company’s value chain, where they fit in it and who the key people within the organization are.
  • Cross-departmental sit-downs with the support departments like human resources and IT to provide guidelines and answer any questions that the new employee may have.
  • A virtual office tour that introduces the new employee to the workplace.
  • Frequent face-to-face get-togethers with their teammates, if applicable, to enhance synergy and collaboration across the team.
  • Frequent check-ins and feedback sessions. 

When creating an onboarding process that suits your organization, it is important to remember that a solid and well-structured one not only includes all the necessary technical knowledge that new employees need to know, but also takes a people-centric approach.

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