This post was written by Dylan Kohlstadt
It starts with onboarding. A report from Brandon Hall Group reveals that an effective onboarding process can increase retention by 82%. Thus, it’s crucial to have processes and a solid strategy in place when you onboard employees. You don’t want to create an environment where they feel anxious, confused, and ready to apply for other jobs.
One new employee might appreciate regular meetings with their HR manager and the person they’re reporting to. Another employee might benefit more from written processes, and another employee from an in-person meeting. Some employees may hesitate to ask questions in a forum but feel comfortable in a 1:1 with HR.
When you prepare to onboard employees, remember that one size does not fit all. Invite questions in an environment suited to each employee, and provide various platforms and methods to equip new employees with the resources they need to thrive. Make an effort to understand the individual and where they’re coming from.
It’s hard to join a company where everyone already knows each other and has their inside jokes and unspoken rules and expectations. It can make new employees feel lonely and isolated, especially if they’re working remotely.
To combat this, encourage the rest of the workforce to make the new hire feel at home. As the HR manager, go out of your way to build a relationship with the employee, so they feel comfortable and included.
It’s easy to email a PDF of the company’s processes to a new employee. Or, invite them to a meeting where the CEO presents a high-level orientation. It’s harder to know if the employee actually understands the processes. That’s why regular check-ins are helpful.
A quick meeting or simple Slack message asking employees how they’re coping and if they have any questions can significantly dispel confusion and stress. As you onboard employees, it’s worthwhile to maintain regular check-ins to ease the new employees into the company. It’ll also allow you to resolve problems before they become disastrous and help retain employees.
Walking into a new office space can feel like arriving at a new school. You don’t know anyone and need to figure out where to sit. Are you even in the right building?
As the HR manager, take action to implement clear and specific processes to guide new employees into their new roles. Designate a desk before they arrive, and email them beforehand to give them any contact information, guidelines, or information they might need. Give them clear steps and processes, so they stay calm in these unfamiliar waters. You could also involve team members from different departments to help the new employee through the various steps.
Lack of communication is highly aggravating to anyone, but for a new employee, it’s incredibly challenging. Thus, ensure new employees know exactly what’s expected of them; this way, you can avoid future problems and frustrations. Be clear and upfront throughout the onboarding process and even for the first week or two of the job. Your employee needs to know what’s expected of them to do their job well.
Take your time when you onboard employees. Refrain from pressuring yourself and new employees by cramming seven weekly meetings or overloading individuals with company documents.
You may be tempted to start your employee off with a mountain of work. Maybe even invite them to sit in on a client meeting on their first day. But, this can be overwhelming for a new hire.
Instead, pace the onboarding and build context along the way. Stagger out tasks, meetings, and check-ins with new employees. Give new employees time to understand the company and its people.
Have you considered letting new employees spend a “day in the life” of each department in the company?
Employees and customers value the same things from your company: transparency, clear expectations, support, and long-term benefits. During the onboarding process, you can prove to new hires that they made the right choice by joining your company and that you can add value to their lives. Welcome new employees as you would welcome a new client.
First impressions matter. The onboarding process is a key step in an employee’s life at your company, and HR managers are responsible for making it a great experience. If you onboard employees successfully, they’ll feel more inclined to stay with and support your company.