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Hiring employees can be a time-consuming and expensive process.
We have talked a lot about the importance and process of hiring the right employee.
However, it is also important to help staff acclimate to the new job, and understand your expectations for them – with the ultimate goal of a long-term relationship.
This is when a structured onboarding process can help.
Many organizations create an onboarding process to ensure new hires quickly adapt and are ready to take on the challenges of the job.
“On-boarding is the process by which new hires get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within the organization.” SHRM
However, a recent Gallup poll shows that:
“Only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees.”
Take the time to create an onboarding program that truly helps new employees excel in their positions.
8 Tips for Creating a Successful Onboarding Process
1. Provide a Warm Welcome
We’ve all been through that awkward first day on the job.
Most of us can tell stories of great experiences and some not-so-great experiences with the process.
New employees should be welcomed and made to feel part of the team from the first day on the job.
Make the day special by providing personal interactions, a welcoming lunch, and time to get to know co-workers.
The manager’s role in this is significant to a great new employee experience.
“When managers take an active role in onboarding, employees are 3.4 times as likely to strongly agree their onboarding experience was exceptional.”
Take the time to introduce the employee to department leadership and all coworkers who the new employee will be interacting with.
Continue checking on the new hires daily until you know they are comfortable with the team and all coworkers.
2. Introduce a Mentor
Every new employee needs a go-to person who can answer questions and help the new hire acclimate to the job, culture, and environment.
Provide a mentor who can answer questions and help guide the employee through the onboarding transition.
This mentor should be a cultural expert who can share cultural norms and those “unwritten” rules of the environment.
The more this person can share, the easier the transition will be for the new hire.
3. New Employee Orientation
Provide a thorough employee orientation process that covers all information that the employee will need to get off to a good start.
Think about every aspect of the job that can help the employee.
For instance, employees need to know when payday is; tell them so they don’t have to ask!
While a formal orientation is important, just remember that even a great orientation program will never cover everything. On-boarding is a long process.
It typically takes new employees at least a year to reach their full potential in a role.
Put as much in print as possible. Cover all important issues in the orientation, but consider this a year-long process.
4. Communicate Expectations Clearly
A written employee job description is the first step in setting expectations.
Take the time to explain expectations clearly so the employee understands what is expected of them, how they will be rewarded for meeting those expectations, and how the organization addresses employees who fall short of meeting job requirements.
Set expectations for job requirements, employee goals, and appropriate interactions with customers (members, volunteers, and other employees).
Help employees become familiar with all policies. For instance, if your church has a dress code policy, employees will need to know what they can, and can’t, wear to work.
Great communication ensures there are no surprises for the employee. They should know exactly what you expect them to do and how you expect them to behave and interact with others.
5. Assess Training Needs
New employees want to learn and grow in their positions.
You hire for experience and skill set, but often, there are training needs specific to your organization.
Take the time to assess the new hire’s competency in any area that impacts their job.
For instance, if you have a software program that is specific to your organization, make sure the new employee gets hands-on training to help them get up to speed quickly.
Also, talk to new hires about their professional aspirations and consider providing opportunities for them to stretch and learn new skills.
6. Schedule Time to Assess the New Hire Transition
Determine key milestones for the employee’s transition.
Use 30, 60, and 90-day markers to check on the employee and determine progress, skill development, and acclimation to the job.
Don’t wait until an employee has been on the job for a year to make corrections to how they are performing.
The sooner you nip undesired behaviors in the bud, the easier they will be to correct.
7. Use New Hire Feedback to Improve the On-boarding Process
People who experience the onboarding process can give insightful feedback on what helped them, what other things may have benefited them, and how useful the process was.
Schedule a review at six or nine months and simply ask the employee what you could have done to make their transition easier. Take this feedback and incorporate it into future onboarding processes.
8. Learn From Hiring Mistakes
It is important to be diligent in the recruitment, screening, and hiring process, but the fact is there will be employees who don’t make it long-term.
When an employee leaves employment, whether they left on their own or had to be terminated, take the time to ask some questions to determine if the organization did all it could to prepare the employee for their job.
Ask yourself and your team questions like:
- Did we adequately train this employee?
- Are the issues with this employee related to skill set or training?
- Is there something we could have done better to train them?
- Does the employee’s job description adequately define job duties?
- Were performance expectations communicated clearly?
- Were there measures for success when explaining job expectations?
- Were internal policies communicated clearly?
- Was a mentor assigned to the employee?
- Did the employee know who to go to with questions?
Take what is learned and continually try to improve the onboarding process.
Every organization desires to have employees who perform job expectations and are engaged with the organization.
A structured onboarding process can not only help to engage employees, but it also help to reduce the cost associated with recruiting, hiring, and training new employees.
You can check out our orientation checklist and other resources in one of our membership packages.