Create an Engaging Onboarding Strategy

There is so much more to onboarding than just training a new hire; after all, it is described as a process. Read on to learn why the first 90 days, known as the ‘Probationary Period,’ are crucial to new employee onboarding.

So, why should a hiring manager partake in onboarding rather than training sessions? For starters, an engaging onboarding process actually improves the job performance of new hires. Additionally, successful onboarding increases employee retention. Finally, a successful onboarding program can improve recruiting and the company’s overall brand. Simply, onboarding encourages employees to work harder, stay with the company longer, and in turn help the reputation of the business grow!

Hiring managers: welcome to your chance to shine! During these first 90 days, the hiring manager is not the only one who is evaluating… this critical period of time is when the new employee is assessing the workplace culture against his or her expectations; and assessing how work will now fit into his or her lifestyle. According to a study published in the Academy of Management Journal, In fact, the first 90 days of employment is when most relationships are built between new hires and management as well as between co-workers. Beyond first impressions, it’s also worth noting that when support levels go up; other employees / new hires are often both more productive and maintain more positive attitudes.

As soon as you choose to expand your team; you will want to start planning an onboarding strategy. It may seem crazy, but advanced preparation will allow the process to run smoothly when new team members join. A good practice is to create an agenda for at least the first 90 days from the date of hire. It is important to go over the corporate mission, goals, assessment criteria, and policy during this time… but do not forget to make it as interesting as possible! Remember, you’re still selling your company to someone new… and while training is important, it should only be one element of what encompasses this critical introductory period.

Here are five tips to help in planning an engaging onboarding program:

  1. Create an Onboarding Mentor/Shadowing Program – On their first day, a new hire will only be familiar with individuals they met through the interview process, so taking a “buddy-system” approach can help foster relationships at the onset of employment. Allowing them to shadow other coworkers – both in and outside of their department – can be a crucial step to building an understanding of the ins and out’s of the company’s workings. This mutually beneficial arrangement allows new hires to learn about the practices and culture firsthand, while employees have a chance to earn responsibility, leadership skills, and knowledge from the person they are mentoring – a win-win!
  2. Help New Hires Appreciate and Understand the Importance of Their Job – If hiring managers explain to new hires the importance of their role in the company, it creates a sense of belonging and pride. By showing the new hire that they are part of something bigger… in demonstrating how their work plays into the overall business operations to be an asset beyond than their sole contribution… productivity is likely to increase.
  3. Allow New Hires to Share Their Knowledge – New hires will be learning and trying to absorb A LOT of information during the first 90-days, even more so in the first week of employment. Employers should encourage new colleagues to both listen and share what they know with others. Remember the new hire is skilled in their field- otherwise, they would not have earned the job! Collaboration keeps onboarding interesting and helps identify their unique value in your environment.
  4. Give Them a Project After the First Week – It is important to build opportunities for feedback into the employee’s first 90 days, and assigning him or her to a project is one way to achieve this. Clearly, the new hire was qualified and knowledgeable enough to join the company team, so why not get them started? This gives you a chance to see how the new hire works, and after his or her first 90 days; it would be the perfect opportunity to give a performance review. Choosing when to assign a project to a new hire is often difficult for hiring managers to determine. No, a new employee should not be thrown into a project on the first day, but he or she should feel a sense of trust to contribute. Not to mention that a project serves as an engaging way to learn about an organization’s processes, culture, and people, too!
  5. Ask Them About Their Career Goals – Hiring managers should discuss how the position at their company can help them network and learn technical, people, organizational, and leadership skills to progress in their career. Sit down with them and map out a career plan. By showing genuine interest, this encourages the new hire to want to work hard for the company to meet their goals! It is important to take a balanced approach to the onboarding process. By fostering relationships between coworkers, getting to know the new hire’s career goals, and making the new hire feel like a valuable piece of the company puzzle, you’ll have a much more engaging and successful onboarding process!


Image Via MabelAmber • Pixabay

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