May 26, 2022

Keys to a successful onboarding program: start with people

Successful strategic onboarding is within reach of every organization with some effort and planning. In the first post of a series, we dive into the first element of success: people.

An effective onboarding program is essential. SHRM found organizations lose between one-third and two-thirds of new hires within the first 12 months on the job.

Previously in our onboarding series, we discussed the benefits of strategic onboarding, and how to get your company on board with investing in a better process. Here, we’ll take a closer look at one of the key elements of a great onboarding experience: People. Since 69% of employees are more likely to stay with the company for at least three years after a great onboarding experience, you need to consider the role people will play in your onboarding strategy.

Related: The impact of good and bad onboarding experiences

Your whole organization can impact your retention and turnover rates by supporting consistent, repeatable, and successful new hire onboarding. Your goal should be to set an expectation that all employees act friendly and be helpful to new people around the organization. This will not only benefit new hires, but any visitors to the office.

Here’s how you do it.

Immediate team: peers

The new hire’s immediate team will likely have the greatest impact on a new hire’s success during onboarding – positive or negative. It is essential to ensure managers and peers are introduced to new employees in the right way and at the right time.

The right onboarding technology can help new hires see who the key players will be in their work lives before they even start. This can help make planned meetings and lunches during the new hire’s first week more efficient and less stressful, as new hires will have a better understanding of who’s who. Some small businesses formalize the process, for example, creating a day- or week-one schedule of meetings with key people, or introducing every new employee with an email that includes personal facts.

The benefits of getting to know the immediate team is clear. It improves communication within your small business, and can result in a faster time-to-productivity for new hires. This works in part by fostering the feeling of social acceptance in new hires, and provides greater access to information and resources via their new work social network.

You can create a more effective onboarding program that gives space and time for new employees time to socialize, while efficiently covering mandatory tasks. With self-guided onboarding, they can easily enter all of their information to get set up for payroll and HR on their own time to leave space for the fun parts of onboarding.

Immediate team: managers

A new employee’s manager is one of the most important people in the onboarding process. Gallup reports that 70% of the variance in team engagement can be determined by the manager. It’s no surprise that the relationship between new hires and their managers can be a determining factor in whether an employee chooses to stay at an organization.

It’s key for managers to see new hires as unique individuals. One strategy we like involves conducting entry interviews with new hires to understand their motivations, communication styles, and goals. Creating a customizable welcome package helps new employees understand how their role fits into the larger business. It also shows that their manager sees them as a person instead of merely an employee, helping them connect to your culture faster. With this process, new hires feel valued and heard, while managers get information that helps get the new hire up to speed quickly.

Consider outlining specific tasks or duties for managers – their support and training may directly improve a new hire’s chances of succeeding.  The Association for Talent Development found that the greater the level of leader engagement in onboarding, the more successful the process. With a customized welcome package, you can help new employees get connected to your business and culture from day one.

Finally, it is very important for new hires to be made aware of important people at the company. Those people can include the executive suite, admin staff, or anyone who might be good for them to know about and be able to reach out to. These introductions to important people at the company give the new hire a sense of belonging and an understanding of the organizational structure, which will help with getting accustomed to the company culture.

Learn more about building an effective onboarding program in a digital platform that works for your on-site and remote employees. Saves your leader more time and brings new hires up to speed quickly with a platform that sets everyone up for success.

Tyson Hurl

Tyson is a Go to Market Product Marketing Manager at Ceridian.

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