You defined what abilities, skills, education and experience are required for your role. You used an intentional sourcing strategy to find candidates who fit your role. You interviewed wisely, using activities and behavioral-based questions to really assess your candidate’s role and cultural fit. You hired the best candidate. They start in a week.
Now, what is your plan to bring them quickly, effectively and personally into the valued talent of the organization?
Onboarding is the critical fourth step in an effective and efficient hiring process (following defining, sourcing and interviewing). Many organizations discount this important step, which leads to disappointing performance and retention results. According to the Gallup Organization, only about 12% of employees agree their organizations do an effective job with onboarding. And, since onboarding is one more place to create an important first impression, poorly delivered onboarding can discourage employee engagement and loyalty.
Here are three things to consider as you assess and build your onboarding approach.
- Personalize and customize. Use the period from the date of job acceptance to job start date as your pre-boarding – to intentionally connect with the new employee to get to know them and to start to share information about the company to encourage their enthusiasm for the job and to feel comfortable in their new work environment. Ask about their talents, interests and passions in and out of the workplace, values in and out of the workplace, favorite foods/music/activities/sports teams/coffee. Share information about the culture, energy, values and humanity of the workplace. Don’t wait for a new employee to arrive to start the onboarding process. Use the information gathered during pre-boarding to develop a first day, first week onboarding plan. It could be lunch out at a favorite restaurant, favorite coffee purchased on the first day or week, a banner of a favorite sports team waiting for them at their desk, or the alignment to a buddy or mentor who shares similar interests. Think about the onboarding “experience.” Personalize it.
- Become family. Onboarding is really about taking your unique new hire and helping them find their place right away in your organization. What are your organization’s values, beliefs and mission, and how do you help employees know them and live them? How does the organization value, support and care for its talent? And, how does this new employee’s job add value and make a difference on a daily basis? Onboarding is not about having new employees read company manuals, review documents and fill out forms. It is an intentional effort to help them understand the organization and the value of being part of it.
- Focus on first impressions. New employees have heightened awareness. They are watching each of their new experiences. Be intentional in the plan for the new employee’s first day, first lunch, and first meeting with a manager, leader or CEO. Be intentional in who the employee is introduced to, assigned to and supervised by. Think about the employee’s first assignment, first meeting and other firsts. Remember the power of a first impression: is your pre-boarding and onboarding experience creating the impression you want your new employee to have?
Getting your hiring right is critical to bringing in the right employees. Keeping your great employees starts with pre-boarding and onboarding that is personal, integrating and intentional. Help your great talent know they chose wisely when they chose you. Accelerate their ability to feel connected, valued and productive. Engagement, performance and loyalty will follow.
By Jay Forte
Consider reading 3 Ways to Win in the War for Talent