Hiring an employee without a clear job description or set of expectations, and then expecting them to quickly come up to speed and become a productive member of the team, is the equivalent of a pop quiz over a subject that was never covered in class. Some employees may sail through, but for the majority, it sets them up for failure as a first experience at your company. Furthermore, it sends a solid message to the employee that your company is a “sink or swim” environment, and they shouldn’t expect a lot of support.
Employee Engagement and Onboarding have both become topics of interest to companies in recent years, but the link between them is not always apparent. In the last decade, though, many studies have shown that proper onboarding processes have a direct and positive impact on the employee’s level of engagement, and the employer’s turnover rates. Yet, I have read estimates that as few as one in five organizations use a consistent, formal onboarding process for new employees. With less than a third of U.S. employees reporting that they are engaged at work, the correlation is worth consideration.
To back up for just a moment, let’s first define the term. Onboarding is a formal process by which companies manage the orientation process for new employees. In addition to clarity on job duties and paperwork, though, a good onboarding process includes focused measures to make the new employee feel welcome, integrate socially with their coworkers, and ensure that they have the resources and training necessary to succeed. The goals of an onboarding process are to bring employees to the stage where they are engaged and productive members of the team as quickly as possible.
Characteristics of a good onboarding process include:
- Creates a welcoming environment for the new employee
- Defines clear expectations and path for success
- Includes opportunities for learning, training, and skill development
- Is used consistently throughout all levels of the organization
- Encourages employee questions and feedback
- Proactively engages new employee in company’s unique culture
- Conveys company’s commitment to employees’ success
So why don’t the other 80% of companies pay more attention to onboarding practices? There are likely a variety of reasons, including:
- Lack of time on the part of managers and other teammates – you’re hiring new employees because resources are stretched thin and you need help yesterday!
Lack of processes – it may seem daunting, or too time consuming to sit down and define a specific process for hiring and onboarding new employees. Your company is growing fast, and everyone else here has managed to figure this stuff out!
Assumption that the new employee already knows what to do – I mean, that’s why you hired them, right? While this may be accurate, it overlooks the piece of onboarding that is dedicated to social integration, and the role clarity that is critical to productivity. The first week or two at a new company builds the foundation for (hopefully) years to come. Why not take a little extra time to make sure they feel welcomed and know where the bathroom is without having to ask?
At Hireix, the Accurate Hiring System™ includes not only pre-hire resources, but also a tailored onboarding program for use with each of your new employees to ensure that the end result is an engaged and productive employee who will propel your business forward. Contact Us for more information.