It can take months or even years to find the right candidate for an open role. So despite the temptation to let them immediately dive in, taking a little extra time to invest in proper onboarding will actually benefit you more in the long run. In fact, new employees who go through a structured employee onboarding program are 58% more likely to remain with the organization after three years.
Handing your new employee a binder full of orientation material and sending them on their way isn’t nearly enough to kick off the prosperous and equally rewarding employee experience every company desires. It’s your job as an HR manager to set new employees up for success with an onboarding strategy that will build a foundation for employees to understand and assimilate to the culture, while contributing to the success of the company.
How to Properly Onboard Employees for Long-Term Success
Research shows that it takes about 90 days for an employee to start adding value. So settle in and start by building an employee onboarding strategy that includes these important steps:
1. Reach out early
If you’ve waited until a new employee’s first day to introduce them to the company, you’re already too late. Connecting early accomplishes two goals: preparation and engagement. After an employee is officially hired, send them an email detailing their first day (the schedule, what to bring, what to expect, etc.). If the first day or week includes a group orientation session held outside your offices, ensure they have the address and parking instructions. In addition, let them know you that their new manager, and the entire company is excited to have them onboard. New employees will want to stay and start contributing if they know they’re valued from day one. In fact, organizations with a standard employee onboarding process experience 54% greater new hire productivity.
2. Plan the first day
Preparing for an employee’s first day 1) demonstrates that you want them to be there and 2) ensures you’re not paying them to aimlessly roam the halls. Ensure the employee’s workstation is set up with the proper tools (pens, paper clips, etc.), technology (monitor, mouse, etc.), and anything else they’ll need to properly perform their role. Don’t forget to make sure they have a company-issued email address and are added to the right distribution lists throughout the company. Work with the employee’s manager to set up meetings with key stakeholders and teams they’ll be working with on a daily basis. Finally, go the extra mile by leaving some company swag on their desk or just a thoughtful note welcoming them to the team.
3. Pair employees with a mentor
Everyone can use a little guidance when they’re new. Even if things make sense in orientation, actually navigating the waters (or just the halls of a new office) can be daunting without some help. Pairing up new employees with a mentor or “buddy” gives them an outlet to ask questions and have a friendly, recognizable face to turn to in their first days. Because managing a long list of mentors throughout the company can be a big task, don’t be afraid to delegate it out to each department head to assemble their own list of mentors. Just remember—unreliable or unwelcoming mentors can have the opposite effect. Choose people who positively represent the company culture, are knowledgeable, and can devote enough time to mentoring a new employee.
4. Gauge engagement early and often
You can try any onboarding tactic or strategy, but if you’re not gathering feedback, you’ll never know if it’s working. The first step? Setting a benchmark for employee engagement on day one. How excited is the employee to get started? What are they hoping to learn or accomplish? Asking these questions early will give you clearer, more discernible results at your next checkpoint so you know how to improve over time. Set a schedule for surveying new employees (like the end of the first week, first month, and first quarter) so your feedback loop is already built in. Consider different channels for gathering employee feedback based on the employee’s onboarding stage, role, or preferences:
- Email: Send quick and easy check-in surveys they can take at their leisure to see how onboarding is going.
- Mobile: Make sure the feedback surveys are available via mobile so user access isn’t a sticking point.
- In person: Meet up face-to-face every so often to gauge emotion and gather more raw feedback.
Onboard to Maximize Your Hiring Investment
It’s weird how similar the first day of work is to the first day of school, isn’t it? Everyone just wants to feel welcomed by a friend (mentor), a place to call their own (desk), and a plan for the day (orientation). By setting employees up for success before they start and tracking employee engagement, manager feedback, and orientation effectiveness after they’ve had a chance to adjust, HR managers can more effectively maximize the company’s hiring and onboarding investment.
QuickTapSurvey makes conducting employee onboarding surveys quick and painless, saving employees time and giving you the data you need to improve your programs. You can keep your onboarding program on track to set your company up for the most successful and effective culture.