The learning and development landscape has shifted dramatically in the last couple of years, and that includes employee onboarding. Many organizations are opting for fully virtual onboarding programs leading to new strategies, rollout methods, and employee experiences. Given this, developing unique, effective onboarding programs should be a top priority for most organizations. The continued demand by employees for accommodating and comfortable workplaces, coupled with the need to bring new hires up to speed quickly in remote environments is creating a need for effective onboarding practices.
First, let’s talk about the importance of employee onboarding programs. Research in recent years has shown that above average employee onboarding can improve employee retention by up to 82%. This means significantly less time and money spent on bringing on new hires as well as increased employee satisfaction. Furthermore, a recent Gallup poll found that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization onboards well, meaning that nearly 90% of employees have doubts about whether or not they are receiving the resources they need to succeed in their new role. Add to this the fact that almost 60% of organizations state their onboarding is focused mainly on paperwork and employee processes, and it’s no surprise that only 1 in 5 new hires would recommend their employer to others.
Given all this information, it is clear that effectively utilizing employee onboarding best practices is critical for both employee satisfaction and overall organizational success. Let’s take a look at what some of those best practices are and how your company can leverage them through L&D.
Use New Hire Preboarding
A novel onboarding strategy that is quickly being adopted across industries is preboarding. Preparing employees for their new role before their first day of work is one of the best ways you can create a low-stress opportunity for new hires to get acquainted with company policies and processes. In today’s modern workplace, technology allows employees to explore nearly every aspect of their new organization with very little overhead costs. For example, instead of asking new hires to come to a physical location prior to their first day (which requires more coordination, cost, and employee compliance), you can send them helpful pre-work resources they can interact with on their own time. Not to mention, these resources, which could be considered performance support, are highly scalable and can create positive preboarding experiences for many employees simultaneously.
Introduce Your New Hire to the Team
A critical outcome of successful employee onboarding is ensuring your new hire is comfortable and confident in their new role. Given the large percentage of companies that are onboarding and working remotely in 2022, it is critical now more than ever that your organization takes intentional steps to announce and support new employees. Remote work can isolate workers, so you need a proper onboarding plan in place to encourage and support employee interaction. While many new employees will make connections on their own, briefly and formally introducing them to the team can jumpstart meaningful connections that will help them as they grow into their role.
Prepare for Day 1
While it is important to get your new hire comfortable, it is just as important to ensure all administrative tasks are completed before their first day. Spending employee time to fill out paperwork and forms that could have been completed earlier will waste time, overload your new hire, and slow down their development in their new role.
In order to make the transition to their new role smoothly, employees will need to have all administrative tasks completed prior to day one of their job—in a remote work environment, this includes getting them set up on collaborative platforms, making sure they have the software (and hardware) they need to be productive, and ensuring they have access to, and permissions for, all file sharing services they may need. If that sounds like a lot to you, imagine how stressful it would be for your new hire to sort out while they are still getting acquainted with their new role! Save time and stress by getting these tasks done prior to your new hire start date.
Establish Goals and Expectations
Clear, consistent communication of goals and expectations is an effective way to help employees feel comfortable and valued in their new role. Creating a guiding structure with actionable goals will help new hires understand their role and position within the company while also providing them with a look into how their new role will progress. Not only will this help your organization, but it will also help your onboarded employees transition smoothly into day-to-day work. One great way to implement goal setting and expectations early on is to provide employees with resources that outline the mission and vision of your company and ask them to think about their role in broader business outcomes.
Establish 24/7 Resources
Even if you create the best onboarding program in the world, new hires will inevitably still have questions or concerns about their role, work, daily structure, etc. Developing a library of resources that can be accessed anywhere at any time can reduce needless back and forth and provide a safety blanket of sorts for new hires. Often called performance support resources, these helpful tools can be stored in a central online location and can be used by nearly every employee, allowing you to scale your employee onboarding and support without breaking the bank.
Businesses are continuing to change rapidly in a post-pandemic world, but that’s nothing new. Your organization should always be prepared for new challenges that arise in onboarding and orientation of new hires, and using the best practices listed above is an excellent start. As your organization continues to adapt to business landscape changes in 2022, keep in mind that employees are asking more out of their employers than ever before, and it is your responsibility to create positive and effective onboarding experiences. If increasing employee retention rates, engagement, and satisfaction are at the top of your list for this year, take a look at your onboarding program and how it could be reshaped to provide better employee experience.