What are the benefits of onboarding

There is only one chance to make a first impression, goes the popular saying. This doesn't just refer to getting to know your partner's parents for the first time - onboarding a newly hired employee is a very similar situation. Entering the new job often triggers mixed feelings (anxiety, excitement, pride) and companies that want to encourage engagement from their employees should take these particular circumstances into account.

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Unfortunately, most companies fail to realize the importance of welcoming their new hires. A whopping 50% of small businesses lack any kind of structured induction events for new hires, and a quarter admitted that their people orientations did not include training. For too many companies, introductory events (also known as “onboarding”) only play a subordinate role. Once the ideal candidate has been hired for the position to be filled, he is often suddenly left with the job and the corporate culture on his own. This old-fashioned approach can have far-reaching consequences.

Without a proper introduction, it is difficult to understand the less tangible values ​​and rules of a new job that are typically not covered during an interview process. Is your new job formal, reserved, or hierarchical in nature? Or is it more agile, collaborative and informal? Do work colleagues usually have lunch together or do they go at staggered times? Do they eat at their seats? In addition to learning the ins and outs of a new job, it can be tedious and confusing to correctly interpret the social signals of new colleagues.

Every office environment is different from the other. Even the simplest of tasks, like printing out your first meeting notes, can spark new friends or it can end in an embarrassing debacle. Providing new employees with the information, tools, and support to make them feel part of them increases their engagement and, in turn, their productivity.

Companies that introduce a formal orientation process notice a 50 percent increase in productivity with their new hires. Why does onboarding encourage employee engagement? Let's take a closer look at it.

New employees in a company know where they stand

“People want to know that they are important and they want to be treated like people. This is what the new employee contract looks like. ”- Pamela Stroko in Tanveer Naseer’s blog entry“ How Leaders are Creating Engagement in Today’s Workplaces ”

People want to be valued. However, it is sometimes difficult to see how your own performance is contributing to the overall success of the company. If your position in the company does not involve direct customer contact or is highly specialized, you may not be able to see to what extent your projects are important for the company or generate sales. If this context is not visible, employees can feel alienated from their employer's overall vision and mission. Over time, this can lead to employees becoming disconnected from their work. Almost 33% of all new hires look for a new job within the first six months. So the honeymoon effect of the new job doesn't last as long as you might think.

Onboarding and employee orientation can avoid this decoupling before it is set in motion. When employees can clearly see where their department is located within the company structure and how their performance affects the strategic vision of the company, they will realize that their daily work matters.

Instead of implementing a one-size-fits-all method for new employees, it is important to ensure that new talent develop an understanding of how specific their department and area of ​​expertise affects the whole company. Use an org chart to show where people are within the organization and which other departments they will interact with. You can also try role-swapping training exercises - e.g. engineers are assigned a marketing activity - so that employees can see what relevance other functions have for their work.

Also, don't wait for your new employee's first day to initiate the orientation. Send him relevant information before he steps through the door: his onboarding documents, directions to the office (Google Maps is good, but personal directions are better), and an overview of his new team. Engaging in a dialogue with a new employee before they arrive will give them more confidence and confidence about the company as a whole and about their role.

Natural leaders will emerge

“Leadership means getting a person to do what you want, not because they have to, but because they want to.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower

While some group orientation activities may seem a bit silly, they can highlight new hires with leadership skills. If a new employee repeatedly takes the floor on behalf of the group, suggesting solutions to problems, or instinctively assigning tasks to grateful group members, then he is probably very comfortable in his own skin. Finding these natural leaders early on has several advantages:

First, they can help other new hires adjust to their onboarding process. Some employees may be too shy to ask long-term employees general questions about office matters or share their concerns, but may be less reluctant to approach their peers. Also, naturally inclined leaders could organize events for their orientation group outside of the office to help new hires get to know each other better and relax.

The early identification of natural managers enables their targeted use in the company in order to be able to effectively bind other employees. 63% of all employees believe that their managers do not give them sufficient recognition. Proposing a new employee for leadership training during orientation will make them feel seen, heard, and valued. By paying close attention to these new employees from the start, a manager will motivate them to work hard and maintain their reputation in order to receive additional responsibilities and qualify for future promotions.

New employees do not see themselves as a burden to work colleagues

What if there is no new hire onboarding plan? In most companies, every new talent is assigned to an employee in order to allow a job shadowing for at least a few days before the person is left on their own. Although it can be reassuring to get to know someone who is very closely connected to your own role, it creates a dynamic in which the employee who is probably already busy becomes the preferred contact person for the newly hired employee.

Job shadowing is always a bit uncomfortable. Take a moment to look back on your own experiences: Instead of meeting a new work colleague in a relaxed and natural setting - like having a drink together - new employees tend to spend entire days just doing other things at work watch and get very little involved. When the trainer is busy, you can feel powerless because you haven't mastered your job yet and you may find it uncomfortable to be dependent on someone you can't do a job for.

It not only leads to new talent withdrawing. Employees who have been assigned individual training as a task must, in addition to completing their regular tasks, also take on the responsibility of training someone new. You feel overwhelmed and have a guilty conscience because you don't have the time to do the extensive training that you would like - and don't forget that you have already found yourself in that exact position. New employees then feel like they're standing in the way and trainers feel overwhelmed.

Worst of all, new hires taking part in informal training may never ask important, basic questions to avoid taking up more time from a busy person. The beginning of your professional activity may be based on false assumptions, so that you do your work incorrectly or inefficiently for months.

Combat this scenario with a holistic approach to preparing for the arrival of a new employee: Find out if the shadowing can be split between two or more employees. And prepare for the shadowing by reducing the trainer's workload and distributing some of their duties to other work colleagues for the duration of the shadowing.

The economic argument for structured onboarding is very simple: optimal orientation leads to better prepared employees. Better prepared employees are more dedicated to their work, are more productive, and stay true to their jobs longer, which ultimately saves the company money in terms of employee turnover.

Here are a few creative ideas for new employee onboarding:

  • Have the whole team sign a welcome card for new employees.
  • Organize a “buddy lunch”: introduce your new employee over lunch to someone with similar interests or from the same hometown.
  • Introduce new employees to the CEO or founder of the company.
  • Bring your employees closer to your product. Gather your feedback. Let them follow a phone conversation with a customer in the background.
  • Take them on a tour of local restaurants and popular hangouts.
  • Organize a meeting for partners and families.

How does your company introduce new employees to their jobs? Do you have a dedicated onboarding program for new hires? Let us know your actions in the comments below.