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6 steps to successfully onboarding new hires
As the saying goes, it’s always important to put your best foot forward. And when it comes to bringing on a new hire, companies must be laser-focused on doing just that — leading with their best effort to ensure that the employee remains engaged and excited about the potential of their new position and the direction of the company they are joining.
To put it plainly, onboarding matters for employee engagement and a company’s bottom line. Consider these statistics:
Yet, many companies get onboarding wrong. Gallup research found that only 12% of employees believe their organization does a great job at it.
And, let’s face it, the move to remote and hybrid workforces has made it even more difficult to successfully bring on new hires and ensure they’re integrated into the workforce. Now, there are fewer team lunches, water cooler moments, and informal opportunities for workers to get to know their co-workers and become part of the team.
That’s why companies might need to reboot their onboarding process to ensure that all workers — in-person, remote and hybrid — get the welcoming experience they need when they start a new job.
Here are six hallmarks of an effective onboarding process.
1. Don’t confuse it with orientation
Orientation involves filling out paperwork and having lunch with new colleagues during a new colleague’s first few days on the job. That’s not onboarding, as the Society for Human Resource Management notes. Onboarding is an extended process that introduces a new hire to a company and ensures they’re on task. In some organizations, it may last a year and focus on mentorship and performance evaluations.
2. Keep your core values top of mind
Your core values, such as safety, accountability, or teamwork, might be stated in the employee handbook, on your website and even on posters in your breakroom. But it’s also important that they are clearly communicated with your new hires during the onboarding process to ensure they’re on the same page and can begin to exemplify them during their workdays.
Forbes offers tips for communicating core values to new hires. They include tying each value to the new hire’s actionable job duties and leveraging video to ensure all employees, whether remote or in-person, have the same opportunity to fully understand the organization’s guiding principles.
3. Focus on the top five responsibilities
Job descriptions are important, but when it comes to onboarding, we find it helpful to focus on a new hires’ top five job responsibilities. So, for example, with a foreman, you might be measuring safety, quality, production, management, and teamwork. Setting those top five responsibilities from the outset helps people succeed because they know exact expectations and how their performance is measured.
4. Tell them who to call
A new hire will flail when they run into a hurdle and don’t know who to call. When questions are left unanswered, employees end up frustrated. During the onboarding process, lay out the organizational structure and introduce new hires virtually or in-person to the team leaders with whom they’ll be interacting.
5. Assign a champion
Every employee needs a champion, mentor, or key colleague to go to, especially during their first few months to year on the job. This is even more critical as organizations move to remote and hybrid teams. During the onboarding process, assign new hires to a more seasoned employee who can meet with them regularly, online or in-person, and ensure that they’re on track and remain connected and engaged with the work.
6. Schedule regular check-ins
Human resources managers or supervisors should schedule check-ins with new hires after the first 30 days, three months, and one year. Two-way dialogue is a must during these conversations. Managers should come prepared to talk about the worker’s progress so far. The employee should be ready to share what they need to be successful.
And, at the end of the day, that’s what onboarding is all about: ensuring that your new hires become successful and experienced employees who remain engaged in their work. Without that, it will be hard to drive business forward.