Via HR Morning : Onboarding in 2019: What a Knock-Out First Day Should Look Like
The first days and weeks when new employees come to work are a make-or-break time for their success with you.
A positive welcoming experience puts them at ease and reinforces that joining your company was a good choice. That breeds loyalty – a key component of a stronger workforce, and an essential characteristic of what keeps organizations going strong.
Thankfully, loyalty is contagious. On the other hand, just a few crucial early missteps can leave newcomers second-guessing everything.
What successful onboarding looks like in 2019
Today’s best onboarding efforts:
- Establish a strong employer welcome.
- Re-affirm the employee made the right job choice.
- Let the employee see how she or he fits in with the organization.
- Set the stage for long-term relationship building, which in turn improves retention. That’s why onboarding is often called the last stage of the recruitment process – and the first step to retention.
Depending on the position and how long it takes to find a qualified candidate, companies can easily expect the cost of turnover to be 150% of the departing employee’s annual salary. That doesn’t include non-tangibles, like the impact on morale.
With that kind of value on the line, the incentives for keeping them makes onboarding even that much more of a worthwhile effort.
Before Day 1
After a candidate accepts your offer, send a written communication welcoming them aboard. Let them know what to expect on their first day and what their first few days will be like.
Be sure they know the simple stuff, like
- Where to park
- How to get in the door
- How to get OUT in an emergency
- Who will be mentoring them
- A schedule of what the day will be
- How their first-day lunch will be handled, and
- Who to see if they have questions.
Make a checklist
It’s a good idea to make a checklist. Include all the things you’ll be discussing with them, need them to sign and want them to do. Include a list of names and titles of the people they might be meeting with.
It helps to have a recently hired employee look over the list to see if there’s anything missing, since it’ll be most fresh in the mind of someone who’s just been through it.
The first day
The first day for new hires should be a highly energized and positive experience. You’ve already picked them! What was it about this person that made you say yes? Think back to the things that stood out and try to highlight some of those things on the first day. Then send out a welcoming email to staff, announcing the new hire;s arrival, with a brief professional bio and maybe a personal note, such as a hobby or interest.
Take a tour
The typical next step for welcoming an employee on board is the building tour. “Here’s the printer, here’s the bathroom,” etc.
OK, that’s good information to have. But is it really going to stick out in an employee’s mind? A better bet is to give them the “insider’s tour.”
- Which areas of the building have spotty Wi-Fi coverage?
- Where can they grab a coffee mug if they forgot theirs at home?
- What’s a quiet place to get some work done if office conversations get a little too loud?
- Which fridge should they put their lunches in?
- What do they do if they lose their security card or key?
You’re not just showing them the way, you’re showing them how things get done.
Introduction to the workplace
Introductions should be inclusive, but not overbearing.
Try this: Don’t introduce people based on their title. Introduce them based on their working relationship with the employee.
For instance, instead of, “Meet Bill. He’s our payroll clerk,” say, “Meet Bill. He’ll collect your time sheet every week and he’s the person to see if you have any questions about your paycheck.”
There are plenty of documents and papers employees will need to do their jobs.
Again, making sure everything is already organized for an employee is key. Place all the crucial documents in a digital or paper folder, so they have them all in the same place.
Be sure your mission statement is right up front. “We’re a company that respects all our employees – from new hires to established veterans – and are really looking forward to having you contribute in a meaningful way! Welcome!”
- A facility map. Try to include the names and phone extensions of other employees on the map where they work.
- Phone extension/email list. If you can prioritize this list by listing the employee’s department first, so much the better. That way, they don’t have to hunt for the name they need (or worry about forgetting which “Jim” mans the help desk and which one is the CFO!).
- Daily schedules. You should have the employee’s first day (or first few days) planned for him or her. Include the schedule so they know what’s coming next.
- Long-term schedules. When can they start taking vacation or enrolling in the company’s 401(k)? When will their first formal/informal review be? When can new workers start accumulating sick days? Having these key milestones on a timeline helps employees see what’s next for them and gets them thinking about their long-term future with the company.
- HR documents. Employees will need to receive policies and procedures, benefits enrollment forms, etc. Include these in the folder but be sure to have someone from HR go over them with the new hire in-person as well – in case there are questions.
In addition to these standard items, try including some of the following sections as well:
- “What I learned … ” Collect anecdotes from employees on the most important thing they picked up in their jobs. What was the moment that made them say “A-ha!”? It doesn’t have to be anything ground-breaking, just a musing on what people have learned about the workplace along the way. Include a list of one-sentence-or-so anecdotes to make new employees feel welcome (and maybe chuckle a little.)
- Success stories. Chances are someone in your company has recently come up with a new way of doing things that’s really saved time or reduced frustration. Or maybe they’ve achieved a milestone (1,000th sale, 35 years with the company, etc.). Maybe they’ve even had a personal accomplishment such as running a race or organizing a charity fundraiser.
When you hear stories like these, share them. Write a short paragraph about it, then include it in a “News & Notes” or “Success Stories” section of the onboarding material. This way, new employees will feel as if they’re getting to know their co-workers right off the bat.
- The “Lingo Board.” Managers and supervisors will often find themselves casually dropping an acronym or industry-specific term with a new hire and being greeted with a slack jaw or confused stare.
Each workplace has its own set of terms and lingo that is specific to the company. It’s not a bad thing, these shortcuts are real time-savers when people know their meanings. But until workers are up to speed on the office language, provide a list of terms and definitions. Put it in plain English so they can see what they should be looking for when you ask for “a DBC report.”
Of course, all the documents in this packet should be available on the company intranet as well. But having a one-stop resource for employees on- hand will be a good way to keep them in the loop from the very start.
Being a good closer
At the end of the employee’s first day, be sure to close it out strong. Schedule a one-on-one to review what they did and whom they spoke with.
This shouldn’t be an in-depth meeting: Just take 10 to 15 minutes to see if they have questions and to touch on and reaffirm what they’ve learned. Keep it light and reassure them with any positive comments you may have gathered from people the new employee interacted with.
Then, send them home.
It’s like not much “work” was accomplished, and that’s OK. First days are for first impressions. The time for time real work lies ahead.
For now, leave them feeling good about their experiences and inspired for tomorrow.
Via ATD : We Personalize Everything—Why Not Onboarding?
We once believed that training and onboarding would be more efficient because we could design and deliver the same experience for everyone. There was time when we talked about efficiency of scale or used the dreaded word, standardization. Build it once and deliver the same thing a thousand times, week after week. Good onboarding for everyone, everywhere.
But we don’t live in that type of world any longer.
The world has changed, and companies are taking advantage of the opportunity to build and sell unique experiences. Established brands like Vans are migrating to mass customization by building digital tools that allow you to customize your own shoes. Coca-Cola now offers personalized bottles through their “Share a Coke” campaign and custom drinks dispensed through a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. Consumers are choosing personalization and customization.
Data from Forrester indicates that 77 percent of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized experience.
So why do we accept one-size-fits-all with our onboarding?
Organizations need to consider building personalized onboarding and learning programs to improve efficiency and increase proficiency.
Traditional onboarding can be very inefficient because it can waste time and decrease engagement. Let’s take a look at a scenario from healthcare. A nurse, a nurse practitioner, and a healthcare administrator walk into a classroom on their first day on the job. The next part is quite comical: We complete a one-week blended learning experience sharing with each of them the same content and experience.
And yet, the nurse practitioner is a new graduate who just finished an accelerated program; he will be working in the radiology unit. Another new hire is actually an experienced nurse with 35 years of experience in the psychiatric unit. She has excellent knowledge of and experience with de-escalation and Joint Commission standards . . . but when you put her in front of a computer, you might as well have asked her to fly a spaceship. The healthcare administrator was a critical hire, and while she has nursing experience, her main function since leaving a consulting firm specializing in revenue cycle has been working on operational excellence and cash flow for her areas. She has been on the job for four weeks waiting until the next orientation program started. We place all three of these employees in the same room with the exact same training, and then we expect them to be able to perform their unique jobs well.
The diagram below illustrates the ideal state:
As with the diagram, the inputs (new hires) being received will always be varied. Then, there is the box of what happens during onboarding. At the end of it all, we expect the outputs to be standardized with employees ready to perform their job.
To achieve personalized onboarding, initial assessments can be used to better understand an employee’s areas of excellence, areas of potential growth, and areas that need to be developed to ensure job readiness. Identifying individual strengths and learning gaps particularly in nurses in the Med/Surg, ICU, Labor and Delivery, and ER units has shown a cost savings over $5,000 over three sample nurses with varying experience. This cost reduction is primarily from the reduced seat time in onboarding for more experienced nurses. For example, instead of the typical eight-week onboarding, some nurses were able to reduce their onboarding curriculum to five weeks.
Additionally, through the evolution of learning content management systems, content can be segmented into reusable learning segments of 2-8 minutes so that each learner’s digital onboarding experience can be tailored and prioritized. In fact, after the initial assessments, content can be grouped into required, recommended, and optional segments based on the results. Some organizations direct learners to complete both required and recommended segments, while others opt to mandate only the required content.
And let’s not forget about the data: As more new hires complete the initial assessment and potentially a later assessment at the end of onboarding, critical data can be gathered about department strengths and opportunities. This information can further inform additional skills desired in open roles. Another benefit of the growing data set is the ability to benchmark performance on key skills against peers and national samples. Data can also show the efficiency and effectiveness of personalized onboarding.
Onboarding is critical to staff’s future productivity and retention. SHRM found that strong onboarding programs result in 69 percent of employees being more likely to stay with an organization for at least three years.
Via Real Business : Employers are failing to implement effective onboarding processes
A study has revealed that HR teams and new employees hold disparate values about what constitutes effective onboarding.
New research has revealed that whilst many businesses, or at least their HR departments, believe they make efforts to integrate new employees into their teams, the reality is that many fail to do so properly.
This has been backed up by research conducted by Belgian based Vlerick Business School and HR software company, Talmundo. It revealed that 40% of employees felt they did not receive the minimum support requirements when starting a new job.
The Europe-wide study sought to bridge the knowledge gap between increasingly disappointed employees and seemingly unaware HR professionals. Here are the findings.
Onboarding: Great HR lingo but light on implementation
For all the non-HR people out there, onboarding denotes the process whereby an employee is welcomed, or integrated into a new company. Onboarding is top of the HR vocabulary for people working in the sector. However, the study has shown that onboarding is more rooted in language than it is in workplace-based practice.
What do new employees say?
Well, they’re saying plenty of things, but none of them are glowing reports about onboarding experiences. Some 43% said it took a week for them to gain access to a basic workstation and administrative tools.
“The HR professionals who participated in the study were of the opinion that onboarding is incredibly important, and yet 34% of employees have not witnessed such a program at their organization at all.” – Dirk Buyens, Vlerick Business School
Whilst it is widely acknowledged that offices are mighty busy places, it’s essential that HR teams prepare an onboarding plan for the integration of a new employee before they even start.
This should include preparing a welcome-sheet with all their log-in and workstation requirements.
It will cut down on time-wasting fuss when they arrive. Over half of employees asked said their integration period was rushed, and only lasted the first month on the job. This is despite an estimated 48% of HR professionals understanding that the onboarding process should last for at least the first three months of an employee’s working life in a new company.
The gulf is vast, what should we do about it?
Allowing for the gap between well-intended but meaningless HR rhetoric and increasingly dissatisfied new employees to continue will only damage company reputations further, leading to high rates of staff owner, and some rather disparaging remarks on glassdoor.
Whilst it’s understandable that HR professionals, like all other members of workplace teams, are under increasing pressure to multi-task under strict deadlines, they are not doing their jobs properly if HR care is left at the entrance door of employment.
Effective onboarding management requires care, attention and continuous support for the new employee before, and during their first few months of employment.
Failure to do this because of perceived time constraints will only cut down on working productivity further down the line when the new employee has to rely on already busy colleagues for basic administrative information and access to tools.
So, HR teams and hiring managers, listen to the feedback from the people you employed if you want higher integration, productivity and employment reputation in your place of work.
Hear their stories, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Via Business 2 Community : Why Google’s Onboarding Process Works 25% Better Than Everyone Else’s
Even tech giants have humble beginnings.
In the halcyon days when Google was making the transition from a bedroom to a rented garage in Menlo Park, it won’t surprise you to learn they didn’t have a tight onboarding process in place.
For years Google ran on a single, sprawling spreadsheet including a ranked list of the company’s top 100 projects. The projects were confusingly graded on a scale between “far out” and “skunkworks”, and the founders handled the process with a ‘who cares’ attitude.
Since that point, everyone knows Google has made leaps not only in the Internet space but also in the workplace. The company is the #3 world’s most valuable brand and the #3 best employer in America. Its made extremely effective tweaks to its hiring process over the years, but what isn’t reported as often is its approach to new employee onboarding — the process of getting a new hire equipped with everything they need to integrate into the company culture, work effectively and succeed.
The wackier aspects of Google’s orientation process are widely known. We’ve heard about the Noogler beanies with motorized propellers, and the Mountain View all-Noogler TGIF meetings where the founders “just come in and make some dad jokes”. The inner workings of the process, however — the parts that make it so notoriously effective — aren’t as obvious.
In this article, I’m going to run through the nuts and bolts of Google’s ‘just in time’ employee onboarding process, and some of the supporting events that happen during.
Google’s ‘just in time’ onboarding checklist
Just one day before a new hire joins, the hire’s manager is sent an email with five small tasks that will need their attention.
The list is pretty simple:
- Have a discussion about roles and responsibilities
- Match the new hire with a peer buddy
- Help the new hire build a social network
- Set up employee onboarding check-ins once a month for the new hire’s first six months
- Encourage open dialogue
The fact that managers get sent these instructions with only 24 hours to prepare plays on the recency effect — the tendency for people to recall the last thing that happened to them better than things in between.
Put simply, getting that email in front of the manager “just in time” makes it easier to remember. This, in turn, means that they are more likely to execute it correctly.
The email isn’t mass mailed, either. It’s sent only to the manager who needs to see it, making them feel like they’re directly responsible for getting it done. The checklist is no-nonsense and doesn’t include a ton of instructional material, which is instead given to the Noogler with more time on their hands to get familiar with it.
After all, when creating reference materials and checklists (especially if you’re strapped for time), bare-bones is always the way to go.
This small change — creating a sense of urgency and responsibility — has improved onboarding results by 25% at Google.
Why Google’s checklist is laser-focused on company culture
If you look through the five steps of Google’s onboarding checklist, you’ll notice that three of them are focused purely on company culture.
That’s because Google is known to be more than your average organization with bland corporate practices. They believe it’s the “people that make Google the kind of company it is”.
Much like startups, Google is known for turning their noses up at a stuffy work environment. Despite being one of the world’s biggest companies it still acts like it’s a fun-loving founding team from the early days.
Maybe that’s why it ranks so highly as an employer – it has the same attitude towards traditional employment spaces as most of us do to working in them.
Google has learned to prioritize relationships and fun at work because studies have shown happy employees outperform the competition by 20% and are 12% more productive. In fact, Google raised its employee satisfaction by 37% by implementing company culture initiatives.
During the onboarding process, Google supports employee development by educating employees and inducting them into company culture (with both lectures and beers).
Obviously, this won’t work for everyone and it highly depends on the kind of culture your company has. Latham & Watkins LLP (the world’s top-earning law firm) wouldn’t blend quite so well with a more informal or employee-centric company as their clients (and their security) should always come before anything else.
That’s why Google is (almost) unique in this way. Even though the atmosphere and work naturally come with a lot of pressure, it’s the collaborative nature and culture that lets employees at places like Google and Pixar truly thrive.
Hosting a series of intense lectures
While many companies train employees on the job by getting them to dive into the task and learn as they go, Google can spend upwards of two weeks immersing new hires in the culture, and Google-specific theory such as ‘the life of a query’ and ‘the life of an ad’.
This educational approach and fast-response onboarding are necessary because even brand new employees get to work on important projects and key features of the Google architecture.
It’s not that they don’t trust their new employees to work on important projects. It’s more that they give their new employees a crash course in everything they need to know and then give them a chance to prove themselves on something that really matters.
Unlike other onboarding processes, Google’s will put trust in you as part of the open approach to company culture and inclusion. As you might imagine, that shows a level of confidence that will almost certainly rub off on new hires.
You’re not starting from the bottom on menial tasks, which gives you an incentive to stick with it through the hard work and really try your best.
In return, it’s easy to suggest that Google benefits just as much from these new appointments due to that drive to prove themselves capable. After all, it stands to reason that this would demonstrate to the team what the new hire is capable of at this early stage and thus all more effective placement on future projects.
Educating about company culture
When you join Google, you’ve got a lot of mental molding to happen before you can be part of the hallowed ranks. You’re going to need a mix of technical knowledge and company culture education to slot seamlessly into your new role.
Some things don’t change from company to company – the amount of studying you’ll need to do varies depending on your role. It can be anything from none (all optional classes) to two weeks of lectures from senior engineers where they talk about their experience and share their “engineering perspective”.
Kellen Donahue, a former Google software engineer says:
“It seems very overwhelming. There’s so much to learn and read, and at times it seems like when you really understand a concept you realize you just saw the tip of the iceberg”
Of course, there’s more to company culture than lectures and education.
Nooglers are welcomed with a friendly drink after work, but as well as that, the booze flows freely during TGIF meetings. As one engineer pointed out, “if you try hard enough, you can always find alcohol”. Whether or not this negatively affects their work isn’t easy to measure, but you can be sure it helps break the ice and gets new employees feeling comfortable — and that’s mostly what orientation is all about.
Google’s company culture is far from typical, so this kind of instruction from senior employees is great for showing them what a long-term stay might look like. Coupled with the alcoholic icebreaker, you have a potent mix designed to help new hires immediately get stuck into their culture and up to speed with any expectations.
Adopt Google’s onboarding process in your own culture
I won’t sit here and pretend that Google is the perfect template of how to onboard and interact with all employees. It isn’t, and neither are other such standout examples of how companies treat their employees (like Pixar).
However, when discarding the culture the onboarding process itself is absolutely still relevant to almost any company.
The principles behind it cover everything a healthy employer-employee relationship needs:
- Specifically laying out roles and responsibilities to both parties
- Giving support to the new hire (a peer buddy) to ease initial friction
- Introducing the hire to teammates and other contacts to break the ice and start building their network
- Checking in on them once per month to field questions and smooth out the process without micromanaging
- Encouraging open dialogue to get useful feedback to improve your own processes
All you have to do now is to take those principles and apply them to your own employee onboarding processes and adapt the whole thing to tie into your company culture.
If you don’t already have a documented onboarding process, check out our free new employee onboarding processes for some ready-to-use templates.
Via Forbes : Second Impressions: The Impact Of Effective Onboarding
You heard it at the start of every school year and probably before interviewing for your first job: You only get one chance to make a first impression. Nobody I know disagrees, and what was true for kids holds true when we become adults — or in my case, when we find ourselves suddenly older and in charge of a business and a family, despite still feeling like a kid inside.
But what about the second impression?
As I started to write about onboarding, I thought about how people miss the boat on how much impact it has. That made me ask: Why? When organizations spend millions of hours, brain cells and dollars on their recruiting efforts, why do they drop the ball on a no-brainer opportunity to keep that positive momentum going?
That’s when I realized the reason: Onboarding is the second impression. Nobody has been repeating for years that the second impression matters as much as the first. Maybe that’s why some organizations give onboarding minimal attention even when the numbers prove how essential it is.
The Impact Is Real
I’ve been a believer in the power of effective onboarding for some time now, but I didn’t realize how truly dramatic its impact was until we retrieved the results of our recently conducted survey on the subject. In surveying 1,024 U.S.-based full-time-employed adults, we learned that over 80% of employees who rated their onboarding experience highly feel strongly committed to their jobs and have higher role clarity than those who had a poor onboarding experience. Employees who felt their onboarding experience was effective were 30 times more likely to feel satisfied with their jobs, compared to those who rated their onboarding as ineffective.
We can’t say for certain that onboarding is the direct cause of these outcomes. The best we can do is to prove there’s a significant link between them. A sampling of outcomes includes higher feelings of engagement, commitment, perceived support, perceived organizational performance — all of which have been shown in other research to boost bottom-line performance. Even if these outcomes are not the direct result of effective onboarding alone, they show that effective onboarding is a strategic initiative shared by successful companies. In other words, they’re doing something right and onboarding is clearly part of it.
The Relationship Theory
My theory about how onboarding creates that lift goes something like this: If you want to get the most out of any relationship, you not only have to start out on the right foot, you also have to keep the effort up. You’ll make mistakes — everyone does, in business and in our personal lives — but it’s not perfection that matters, it’s the effort and honesty that stands out to people and creates the bond. And the stronger the positive bond — whether it’s between an employer and employee or between friends or family members — the more likely it is you can achieve great things together.
In business, keeping that effort up means showing new employees you care about more than finding them and signing them on. You have to show you care about how well they’ll perform at their new jobs, that they have a clear vision of their role in your organization and that they know what you expect from them.
These are just a few ways you can show you’re more than simply an employer from the very first day of employment. Your efforts to seek and provide understanding show you value the time and effort people are spending on your behalf and that you’re ready and willing to support them in return.
The Onboarding Opportunity
Onboarding is the best time to establish all the above. From compliance forms and policy training to culture and team introductions, onboarding is an all-you-can-eat buffet of opportunities to show and prove the care your organization has for its people.
Some of it is simply looking at your process and paying attention to the details. For example, can you make any of the tedious things like paperwork take less time? If so, you’ll have more time to engage with new people in person or bring training for essential policies up to date with memorable programs or a funny video.
Other parts have to come from deeper within the organization: benefits education is critical, but offering good benefits in the first place is a much bigger decision about how you treat employees; culture training can be engaging, but it relies on an established culture. What these examples really prove is that onboarding is critical, but it isn’t the most critical part. The philosophy of caring is a cultural keystone, and everything else — onboarding, benefits, training, even improving your processes — grows from there. It’s been said a thousand times that culture is crucial, and this is further proof that making culture the priority (not a priority) is the first step.
All of it works. The numbers prove it on paper, but forget about the numbers — talk to people about their experience, and you’ll understand that it all matters. The effort you put in during onboarding reinforces an employee’s decision to sign on, and the positive outcomes pay off for the organization on the first day and every day after.
Metaphorically speaking, effective onboarding is a promise. It makes you, the employer, accountable for the things you preach and teach, while new employees gain a greater understanding of the promise they’re making to you by becoming part of your organization. If employer and employee can keep that promise to each other, the payoff is a strong positive bond that can influence outcomes far into the future. You may never get a second chance to make that first impression, but onboarding gives your organization an opportunity to make the best out of every new employee’s experience — an impression that matters just as much.