Onboarding is the entry point to the employee experience. It gives your organization the opportunity to welcome your new hire, immerse them into your culture, and ramp them up as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Although we’ve previously discussed the importance of onboarding, its enduring impact, and how feedback is your most effective tool in shaping and guiding it, Hyphen wants to provide actionable insights to help you unlock the power of an organized, personalized onboarding strategy.
On that note, join Hyphen as we take you through the first 90 days of onboarding, providing critical milestones and best practices along the way. As you’ll see, onboarding must be both flexible and deliberate, personalized and structured to maximize its impact on your workforce and organization as a whole. Plan ahead, let feedback guide the way to inform both your current and future onboarding procedures and make the most of the opportunity.
The first day is about rolling out the proverbial red carpet, welcoming your new hire to the team, and making them feel wanted. A few personalized welcoming gifts -- maybe a favorite bottle of wine and an organization-branded sweatshirt -- along with a hand-written note from senior management will make the first day a memorable, motivating experience that pays dividends well into the future.
Of course, introductions are also in order, both from your onboarding staff as well the new hire’s team and the office itself. Take full advantage of digital technology by providing them with an electronic packet of the required paperwork ahead of time so tedious but essential benefit and tax forms don’t become a time-consuming hindrance. Also, although orientation paperwork, touring the space, and showing them their already-prepared workstation are important parts of that first day, they should in no way define it.
Instead, center the first day around engagement and interaction, allowing your new hire to immerse themselves in your office environment, soaking in the atmosphere and enjoying time spent with their new teammates. An approach based on healthy socialization not only makes your latest employee feel like a part of the team but also gives them a thorough, firsthand glimpse of the culture you’ve worked so hard to develop and foster over the years.
Your culture is what defines you, attracts talent to your organization, and inspires your workforce to succeed and excel for a greater common good. A new hire’s first day is a critical introduction to that culture. There’s a reason why 1 in 25 new hires leave after their first day -- a lackluster impression doesn’t bode well for the duration of an enduring relationship.
Focus on fundamentals that demonstrate your enterprise’s long-term goals, what you expect from your new hire, and how they fit into the bigger picture. Such an emphasis on forward-looking initiatives and expectations, along with socialization and engagement with co-workers, will help negate myopic perspectives that leads to those staggering attrition rates. Along the way, define your goals for the new hire in broad terms, leaving granular detail for points later in the onboarding process. Emphasize the following to create an accurate view of the position and its place within the bigger picture:
By the end of a new hire’s first month, they should be familiar with their surroundings and have a basic understanding of their place within the organization, the culture, and what management expects of them. Now it’s time to steepen the learning curve and take a deeper dive, ramping the employee up to become a fully productive member of the team. Keep the following in mind to streamline the process and add needed efficiency to your onboarding:
By the end of the second month, your employee will be almost entirely comfortable within the office environment, have a good understanding of your culture, and be well on their way to becoming fully productive through targeted training. Now it’s time to build on that solid foundation and start segueing into a more normalized routine and series of responsibilities, concentrating on these actions to smooth out any rough spots and place a greater focus on the future:
Although the new hire is most likely not yet fully ramped up, the 90-day mark is a good time to loosen the reins and start increasing responsibilities. The employee should now be more comfortable working independently on more significant, longer-term projects. To make sure the learning process continues, however, employ these actions to push development and foster individual growth:
Onboarding is too vital to the overall employee experience and your entire organization to use a disorganized and inefficient approach. Take these best practices to heart, deploy the discussed concepts and actions at the appropriate times, and rely on Hyphen's insightful tools along the way to harness the power of timely, authentic, and revealing feedback during a new hire’s first few months on the job.