5 Tips to Boost New Hire Onboarding and Productivity
Picture this scenario: You recruit a new team member and you’re confident they will be an instant success. After just a few weeks on the job, they’re struggling to keep up. A couple months later, they quit. What went wrong with the new hire onboarding?
Even the most promising new hires are susceptible to failure without adequate support. To capitalize on the talent, knowledge, and energy new employees bring to the table, new hire onboarding must go beyond traditional orientation.
A 2014 survey of 1,000 people by BambooHR found 31% of respondents quit a job within the first 6 months. The departure rate was as high as 17% within the first 90 days. Failing to invest in the onboarding process flow can lead to confusion and dissatisfaction, impairing long-term productivity for new hires. Ultimately this contributes to turnover.
Poor New Hire Onboarding Leads to Increased Turnover and Costs
The cost of high turnover — in both time and money — is unsustainable for growing businesses. On top of the hours spent pouring over resumes and interviewing job candidates, the cost of replacing an employee can range from 50%-60% of his or her annual salary, according to research cited by the Society of Human Resource Management.
Companies can avoid turnover, improve engagement and spur productivity by improving new hire onboarding strategy. Employees who underwent a structured onboarding process flow were 58% more likely to remain with the company after three years, a report by the Wynhurst Group found.
Here are 5 tips for managers to improve new hire onboarding.
1. Communicate Early and Often
Many hiring managers wrongly believe new employees need only a few days or weeks to acclimate to their new role. In reality, it can take months or even a year for an employee to fully understand their responsibilities and how they contribute to the “big picture.”
The key here is communication. Don’t wait until the employee’s first day to start. Before he or she even steps foot in the office, send a warm welcome and provide them with an itinerary for their first few days.
Effective new hire onboarding should include check-ins throughout the initial months. These meetings should consist of more than training and directions from the manager. They should also create opportunities for the new employee to ask questions and express concerns. Remember that communication styles vary from person to person, so be flexible in your approach. Encourage candid feedback to establish trust and promote engagement.
2. Establish Expectations and Set Clear Goals
Employees often feel overwhelmed with information during their first chapter at a new company. Effective new hire onboarding should create clarity around the employee’s role.
Think of the organization as a big machine. Every team is like an arm, so it’s important to understand how each part operates. One of the first onboarding process steps should be ensuring the new hire understands what the company does, as well as its long- and short-term goals.
It’s also important for him or her to align with the organization’s mission and values. Next, describe how the new hire’s team functions as part of the machine. Finally, explain the employee’s individual responsibilities.
Once he or she gets the big picture, work together to set specific goals. By doing so, your new hire can more easily position themselves to be a meaningful contributor to the company. Demonstrate that accountability is a core value by providing direct feedback and showing appreciation for success.
3. Focus on Cultural Integration
The ability to adjust to the company culture is one of the most significant predictors of success at a new job. Yet it is often left off of the onboarding process checklist. Unfortunately, not helping a new hire successfully integrate into the company’s culture is setting them up for failure.
Assessing candidates for cultural fit should have occurred during the interview process, but it’s critical to continue to discuss culture and office priorities with new employees throughout the new hire onboarding process. Positive interpersonal interactions and the ability to cohere with others are essential factors of individual and team success.
4. Foster Professional and Social Networking
New hires will immediately feel more comfortable and excited about their roles if they receive opportunities to network with others within and outside of their team. Companies that cater to employees’ social and professional needs by helping them forge relationships will fare best.
For example, new hires will be grateful for a “buddy,” or informal mentor on the team, who can explain the ins and outs of daily life on the job. Additionally, a mentor in a more senior role on a similar career trajectory can help a newly minted employee understand what it takes to move up in the company and provide basic tips to succeed.
5. Simplify Processes Wherever Possible
Sophisticated technology has become ubiquitous in virtually every workplace. But tools that intend to make processes more efficient often make things more complicated and stressful for employees. The main reason? They are not implemented with the human user in mind.
Traditional methods of training employees to use enterprise systems are onerous and time-consuming. For new hires, gaining proficiency in multiple technology systems during the onboarding process flow can seem daunting, if not impossible. This approach to training is not only frustrating, it’s directly at odds with the goal of getting new employees up to speed quickly.
With solutions like WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform (DAP), employees receive contextual and real-time guidance to facilitate faster learning. As a result, new employees are able to pick up new tools and start contributing meaningful work from day one.