How do you ensure your new employees feel “onboard”?
Before you can answer that you must understand what’s meant by “onboard”? It’s intended to reflect if your new employees feel engaged and like their onboarding journey catered to their growth and development.
The sole job of a manager in a new hire’s first year is to retain them! That means focusing on the training they need to succeed in their current job.
Onboarding is much more than just “Day 1”. It extends far beyond that into their first year.
What does your onboarding process look like? Is it 90 days, six months or a year? Do you have a learning path to reflect the timeframe that is unique to your company? Is it position-specific or generic for all employees?
What is your onboarding approach?
Did you know if you wait until the official “Day 1” to engage your new hire, you’re already behind? By connecting with your new hire ahead of their official start date, you can curb some of their nerves that begin to surface after the excitement of accepting the offer has worn off.
Starting a new job can be scary and overwhelming for some folks. Here are a few ideas to think about to stay ahead of this curve:
- Invite your new hire to a virtual or in-person coffee break with the rest of the team. Industry studies indicate that being able to meet their future supervisor and team ahead of their official start date dramatically increases engagement and retention.
- Send a swag box to your new hire before they start. People love swag, and it’s a great way to advertise your company!
- Film a short welcome video of your team and send it to your new hires. This way they know people before their start date and don’t feel alone.
What does your content for new hire orientation look like?
It should focus on the things employees want to know on Day 1 of a new job:
- When is payday?
- Where are the critical resources?
- What does Day 2 look like?
- What are the benefits?
Most importantly, ensure the content centers around the culture and values of the company. If you have a compliance-driven organization, what kinds of training can be done in a pre-boarding approach? There are plenty of companies offering pre-boarding software, but if that’s not in the budget or plan, leverage your learning management system.
The goal: When Nancy New Hire leaves your orientation, she should be so excited she can’t wait to tell her family or friends all about why she made the right decision to join your company.
Position specific learning paths
When an employee comes on board a new organization, there’s an inherent expectation of having a plan for them.
Not having a plan in place causes new hires to feel lost and disengaged. Learning paths help with documenting knowledge transfer.
We all know that new hires are often synced with seasoned employees to learn a task or process. What happens if that seasoned employee wins the lotto or decides to retire? The competence they had around that topic goes with them unless you’re fortuitous enough to have it documented in a standard operating procedure (SOP) manual.
But creating one can be daunting, it may even take years to complete for your whole organization. However, having these in your toolkit is critical to the employee experience.
To start creating learning paths, set up Knowledge Discovery Sessions with departments’ subject matter experts (SMEs). Tap into them to understand all the tasks, processes, systems, policies and other important information a specific role would require to be successful.
A great approach is to use big sticky flip chart paper and create a “war room” where the information will be captured. Define your subject headers that are relevant to the position, give each SME a marker and let them at it!
For learning and development professionals, your job is to facilitate this knowledge discovery session by asking questions that task your SMEs to think differently about the training delivery method and timeline.
Often, a year’s worth of training gets crammed into the first week or 30 days. Doing this not only will leave your new hire’s head spinning, but it has a significant impact on learning retention and turnover.
What does this employee absolutely have to know to meet the customer/perform their daily work? What do they need to know by days 30, 60 and 90? What can be pushed out further than the first month?
Once you’ve documented all the information, begin formatting your learning paths. Think of it in the mind of the learner. They want to know what the company expects of them in the first 30 days, 60 days and 90 days. What does success look like? Define the milestones and structure for receiving feedback from their manager. Toward the end, be sure to identify development opportunities, and how they can continue to stimulate their learning and growth.