Engage New Hires with Strategic Onboarding

 In Human Resources

For small businesses the hiring process is often ongoing throughout the year. Given the time, commitment and resources it takes to find the right employees, it makes sense to put that same kind of energy into your company’s onboarding efforts. In many respects, the first 90 days of their employment can make all the difference in their careers at your company.

From the minute a candidate says, “Yes” the onboarding process should begin. That’s because everything you do from that point after is engaging them into your organization’s culture and family.

Accepting an offer for employment is a big deal for the candidate and you. So when new hires begin work, it’s important – right from the start. They want to fit in, understand their responsibilities, learn the ropes and indentify with the company’s values and goals.

Strategic Onboarding Importance

So getting the onboarding process right is critical. This is especially true because 20% of employee turnover happens within the first 90 days of employment. And replacement costs are least 30% of first-year earnings for each position-holder, according to recent U.S. Department of Labor statistics.

Plus, Gallup’s State of the American Workforce 2017 report demonstrates how employee engagement goes hand-in-hand with better customer service and increased productivity. Higher employee engagement ultimately results in business units profitability margins increasing by 21 percent. Yet, the same report also indicates that just 12 percent of employees agree that their organization does a really good job of onboarding new employees.

A smaller organization needs to believe in the value of transitioning to a strategic onboarding process and move away from the checklist approach about paperwork, computers, and workspaces. If you’re willing to change your approach, you’ll be helping new hires connect to the company and their coworkers, understand their purpose and value and build morale from day one.

How do you implement a strategic approach? Training Magazine’s November/December 2017 issue offers experts suggestions for five essentials to get your onboarding process beyond just an administrative checklist.

Assess your current program. Look at your current onboarding timeframe – does it go beyond 30 days? Be mindful of your brand – was it leveraged throughout the process? Analyze what communication is in place to align employees with company goals.

Create a strategic approach. Outline an onboarding program that supports a continuous journey for new hires that aligns them to the business strategy of their areas and company, provides meaningful moments that deliver job scope and performance expectations and sets them on the road to becoming company brand ambassadors.

Consider an onboarding portal. If your organization has the resources, creating an information-filled new hire portal helps employees have a constant resource for company learning. The portal should incorporate ideas from managers about what’s important in each of their areas, emphasize what’s special about your company, share other employees’ success stories, present personalized information and forms, and incorporate a mechanism for feedback.

Provide a partner. Partner new hires with your best employees. These employees are champions of your brand and can mentor new talent, help answer questions, and model the attitude and behaviors your company is striving for.

Build a business case. A strategic onboarding program requires resources. To gain executive buy-in, build ROI into the process. Determine the number of new hires per year and the cost of quick turnovers. Emphasize the cost-savings on having engaged, productive employees who can help build the company brand, which makes for better retention.

Source: Training Magazine. Strategic Onbaording – Help New Hires Belong and Deliver Results. November/December 2017. P34.

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