Why Onboarding New Employees Demands High-Level Engagement
It’s impossible to successfully onboard new employees if they aren’t engaged.
Think about it: if you can’t generate excitement and motivation when onboarding new employees, maintaining commitment and retention in the long-term will be a big challenge.
This may seem obvious, but poor engagement is pervasive. In fact, up to 20% of turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment.
Engaging employees early on may sound easy in theory, but in practice, it can be difficult. During the onboarding process, you must somehow cover the duller administrative formalities while at the same time get the employee excited about their role.
Luckily, there are many methods of keeping engagement high during these initial stages.
1. Define the role and its value to the company
When starting a new position, an employee’s No. 1 concern is the role itself. By clearly defining the new hire’s responsibilities and part in the organizational strategy, you can help them understand the big picture, how they fit in, and what makes their role meaningful.
No one wants to feel like a cog in the machine, especially not at the forefront of a new job. Few things make a new employee more engaged right off the bat than understanding just how important their role is.
2. Help them break the ice
When starting a new position, candidates not only enter a new role but a new social setting as well. For many, being able to connect socially with colleagues is just as important as their daily tasks. Social onboarding is so important that 60% of managers who fail to successfully onboard employees cite failure to establish effective working relationships as the main reason.
Taking the initiative to introduce new hires to their colleagues will help eliminate any anxieties they have about fitting in on the team, meeting friends, and understanding the culture. It will also help you improve coordination and keep a tight-knit team.
3. Clarify their potential growth trajectory
Most people look beyond their current role toward the opportunities for growth and development that the company offers. Without an idea of how they can drive their career forward, employees might feel stuck and become disengaged.
Onboarding new employees is a perfect time to explain how new hires can progress within the company and get to that next stage.
Without a clear path for growth, there will be little incentive for staff to stick around. Once the initial novelty of the new position wears off, mobility will be the core factor in retaining an employee over the long term. After all, no one wants to enter a dead-end position!
4. Simplify software onboarding
In most modern enterprises, the moment a candidate moves into a new position they are flooded with new technology that they must learn to use as quickly as possible.
All too often, new hires are forced to go at it alone and train themselves. Or, they are assigned lengthy training sessions that consume precious time and fail to stick in their memories. No one wants to enter a new office and need to ask questions every five minutes.
Digital learning solutions that offer contextual guidance and real-time support are the most effective method for software onboarding. By following the real-time, onscreen prompts, new employees can learn everything they need to about the technology they will be using while they actually get work done.
Here, you can kill two birds with one stone: achieve successful software onboarding and keep stress at a minimum.
5. Ensure managers establish open communication immediately
The relationship between an employee and their manager will determine a substantial portion of their overall working experience.
Gallup estimates that 50% of employees leave their jobs because of their boss or manager. The quality of communication plays a huge role in this. Specifically, the manager is responsible for communicating their expectations for the new hire during onboarding.
Clear expectations, an open door, and honest feedback are hallmarks of solid communication and effective management. Establishing this foundation early will help you ensure that the candidate is aware of what they need to do to be successful in their role.
Onboarding new employees: Engagement is a two-way street
Engagement is a two-way street. If you go out of your way to engage your new employees and make them feel welcome, then they are likely to return the favor when it comes to giving their all in their new position. By giving early you provide the incentive for your best prospects to stick around.