You have an employee who has just joined your team. You’re excited. They’re excited. Your team is excited. Now that they’re part of your team, it’s time to get them onboarded and acclimated the right way. The first six months with a new employee are critical, as almost 20% of employees leave new jobs before the third month, and one-third (yes, 1/3!!) of employees leave within six months of starting.
You know how expensive turnover is, so we won’t dive into that here… Long story short, it is quite expensive, and not only related to money. Employees are 58% more likely to remain with an organization after three years when they go through structured onboarding. When onboarding new hires, go in with the purpose of reinforcing long-term retention and getting the new hires up to speed as quickly as possible.
Onboarding has always been a difficult area for companies to master; the addition of a pandemic has only increased the difficulty level. Here are some tips for effectively onboarding and acclimating new hires:
- Start as soon as you can
- Lean into your culture
- Embrace technology
- Be patient
1. Start as soon as you can
Many of us think of onboarding as starting on an employee’s first day. Although this may be when you officially begin the onboarding process, that doesn’t mean you can’t be familiarizing them with workplace norms, tasks, and culture beforehand. Every chance you get, share your workplace mission and values, either by exhibiting them or verbalizing exactly what they are. Starting the unofficial onboarding as early as possible will help the selected candidate transition quicker to their new role. The new employee will walk in on day one with a pretty good idea of your workplace culture, values, and priorities.
As leaders, we should all be aware that effective communication is critical in business, no matter your position. This becomes even more crucial with new employees. When there is a new member on your team, try to spend more time with them in a 1-on-1 setting. Block off some extra time in your calendar to check in with new employees, allowing for back-and-forth dialogue. Constant and clear communication will solve many of the problems faced with the onboarding of new employees. This will also lay the groundwork for effective team communication moving forward.
3. Lean into your culture
As previously mentioned, you want to tell new employees “who you are” right off the bat. Workplace culture is infused in every aspect of the workplace, intentionally or not. Making sure new employees clearly understand your values will quicken the onboarding process. Besides sharing what your values are, think about how you could show them your values in action. If one of your core values is Trust, be transparent about how you give your team autonomy because of the existing trust.
4. Embrace technology
The pandemic has taught us all how to be flexible, whether or not we want to be. This means we have had to lean on technology more than most of us had to in the past, especially with video calls. When onboarding, use the same tools and resources typically used within your teams. For example, if you use Microsoft Teams within your team to communicate and video chat, you should use that platform to set up a video call with a remote prospect. Familiarizing prospects with your technology and resources right away will create a more seamless transition for them once they start the job.
5. Be patient
Patience is a trait we have all had to embrace, some of us more grudgingly than others. The onboarding period these days might be longer than it used to be; and that’s okay! This is especially the case with hybrid and remote employees, as they don’t have the luxury of constantly learning from observations and conversations in the office. Without the typical workplace environment, it is smart to assign a “mentor” of sorts to new employees. They will be able to help them understand their role, workplace technology/systems, and workplace norms.
In an ideal world, we would be able to recruit and hire an employee and have them fully onboarded and acclimated the first day they step foot in the office. We know this isn’t the way it works (unfortunately). It doesn’t have to be that hard if intentionally craft your process, unofficially onboarding new employees every chance you can. Once you successfully onboard new employees, make sure you continue to engage them and make their value known.
Schedule a free strategy session to figure out how we can help you build a workplace people love, starting with culture. On May 5th we will also be diving deeper into this topic and two other important topics at our half-day training – Better Together: Cultivating a Connected & Thriving Team