Research by Robert Half shows that 91% of new employees are willing to quit a new job in the first month. That is huge and usually happens due to poor onboarding programs.
If you want higher employee retention, more productivity, and higher retention, you must have an effective onboarding program.
In this article, we've outlined the best practices for creating an onboarding process that makes your team feel valued and helps them ramp up quickly.
What does your current onboarding program look like?
There is a common misconception that an onboarding program is the same as orientation. Orientation is necessary (paperwork, routine tasks, etc.), but onboarding can take up to 12 months and involves management and other employees.
Simply, onboarding is much more than paperwork.
When it comes to onboarding programs, you want your new hire to feel like they’re welcome and valued. Remember that "you only get one chance to make a first impression." Every company, regardless of industry, should keep this in mind when developing its onboarding strategy.
It is your company's opportunity to make a first impression and lay the foundation for success during employee onboarding. There is a brief moment when diverse groups, such as newcomers and experienced employees, get together to build relationships.
Many of these employees in large organizations only connect with new hires when they join the team. After they’re onboarded, they don’t connect again unless they have a project together.
What’s the purpose of an onboarding program?
Onboarding programs are designed to help new hires adjust to their new roles quickly. Employees become familiar with their roles, the company's mission, and team members. New hires aren't simply introduced to the restrooms and where their lunches can be heated up. Acclimation goes far beyond that.
An onboarding program should provide a sense of community among your employees, who will be more likely to stick around if they feel like they belong.
Research by Brandon Hall Group found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent.
The opportunities in the 4 phases of onboarding
There are four phases to a successful onboarding program. Let’s unpack them.
Pre-onboarding is the period between accepting an offer letter and joining the company. Pre-Onboarding aims to familiarize new employees with their role, their team members, and the organization. It prepares them for their first day at work.
Welcoming new hires
You need to welcome the new hires whole heartedly. You should have some sort of celebration planned for their arrival, such as an orientation session with peers from other departments who will serve as mentors throughout this stage.
Establish concrete tasks and steps that employees need to follow. Make sure these tasks are as specific and clear as possible. Provide adequate time and tools to learn new procedures. Depending on the company's unique expectations, this period of instruction or job-specific training may last up to 90 days.
Delegate mentors to ramp up the process. Researchers have found that mentored employees tend to stay with their current employers longer. A Gallup survey found that 66% of Millennials expect to leave their jobs within four years. In addition, 94% of survey participants appreciated having a mentor at work.
The result of this research shows that mentorship at work is an effective tool for keeping employees satisfied and retained. For that reason, onboarding programs that include mentorship are incredibly effective.
Engraining new hires in company culture
All the activities during a new hire’s first few weeks should be tied to the values.
For example, In the case of their first project, explain how it contributes to the mission of the company.
Likewise, consider working with the CEO to create a welcome video. These recorded messages emphasize the organization's mission, values and the importance of each team member in accomplishing the goals. The tone of the video will help to engrain the new hires in the culture.
6 Tips for Onboarding New Employees
Now that we know the phases of onboarding, there are six key tips to keep in mind when building your onboarding program.
1. Organize a warm welcome meeting
Think about a new hire's first day through their eyes.
What will they be thinking? What will they be doing? How will they feel? What do you need them to know and do on their first day?
You can organize a warm welcome meeting to answer these questions and set expectations for the rest of the onboarding process.
Encourage members of their team to attend the welcoming meeting. It will make the welcoming more social and give the new hire a chance to ask questions that a hiring manager may not have answers to.
2. Provide your new hire with a mentor within your company
Identifying a mentor for your new hire is critical. This is where a buddy onboarding program can help.
A new hire buddy is someone who acclimates a new employee to the company culture answers questions about processes and procedures, and provides general support during those first few weeks (or even months).
These mentors are not usually managers but are from their team or department. The mentor must be someone new hires can trust—someone they feel comfortable asking questions and seeking advice from, who doesn't mind being questioned themselves.
Mentors should also have an ongoing relationship with the employee; this means meeting them regularly at lunch or coffee breaks or allowing them to take part in meetings as observers rather than participants (e.g., when sharing information about an upcoming training session).
Matching new hires with the right mentor is key, so we’ve outlined key tips for the mentor matching process in this article.
3. Clearly communicate their role responsibilities
New employees always want to feel connected to their role responsibilities. For that reason, onboarding should clearly communicate their role responsibilities.
Define them by skillset and experience. We recommend bringing in senior executives to share their insights about how they’re managing their roles and responsibilities. Moreover, once you know where an employee thrives, assign them tasks that showcase their talents. If they display weakness in that area, the task should be assigned to another team member who can perform it more effectively.
This will enable your new hires to work more efficiently and gain confidence in their abilities and roles as well.
4. Communicate your expectations
Your new hire should know what is expected of them in their first month or quarter.
Allow them to ask questions and let them know who they can reach out to for help or further guidance throughout the onboarding process.
Communicate clearly during times of change or uncertainty. It is also a good idea to develop a plan for them to know what they will be working on and what tasks they are expected to complete.
5. Provide an overview of the benefits package
Make sure you include an overview of your benefits strategy in your onboarding process so that you can retain your new hires in the long run. During pre-onboarding, information about benefits should be clearly accessible and easy to understand. Give them opportunities to clarify anything as well. In this way, the onboarding process will be much smoother.
6. Draw up a checklist of tasks that need to be completed after hiring
As you prepare to hire a new employee, think about what needs to be completed after they've started. You'll want to ensure that the new hire has access to the right tools, resources, and any additional information about their job responsibilities.
- Make sure they have access to your company's network tools: This is important because it allows them to get in touch with you if there are any issues or questions. It also means that they can work from anywhere!
- Set up an account for them: A username and password will do just fine for this step (but don't forget their birthday).
- Share a document with them on their first day with all the tasks they need to complete: The first day can be hectic for a new hire. Having a list they can refer back to can alleviate the anxiety of not knowing what to do.
Level up your onboarding program with Together
Let’s face it. Research tells that 9 out of 10 employees are willing to quit in the very first month. So, everyone is looking to crack the code behind the employee’s minds and behavior to make them stay.
New hires want to feel valued, heard, and guided. Onboarding programs can do this by including mentorship.
Together helps companies improve their onboarding programs with mentorship. Our software is a mentorship platform that empowers your organization to drive performance through relationships.
It’s user-friendly, effective, and impactful. Get started building your mentoring program today.