Onboarding: It Takes A Community

groupYou just hired a new employee. She starts on Monday. You have her new employee folder all ready. You scheduled a “Meet the New Employee” coffee break. You are all set. Well, not quite. A welcome lunch and a welcome packet are pieces of a successful onboarding program; however, it takes more than that. Remember when Hillary Clinton said, “It takes a village to raise a child?” Well, it takes a community to successfully onboard an employee. Get your organization involved! This should be a group effort.

Successfully integrating new hires into your organization can have a significant impact on their happiness with the company, whether or not they decide to stay with your company, and their interactions with co-workers.

Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders. Tactics used in this process include formal meetings, lectures, videos, printed materials, or computer-based orientations to introduce newcomers to their new jobs and organizations. Research has demonstrated that these socialization techniques lead to positive outcomes for new employees such as higher job satisfaction, better job performance, greater organizational commitment, and reduction in occupational stress and intent to quit.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, each year, nearly 25% of the working population undergoes some type of career transition. Turnover is expensive, so it’s important to support new employees with comprehensive onboarding to ensure their success. The report, “Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success,” suggests organizations engage in a formal process of onboarding employees to teach them what their roles are, what the norms of the company are and how they are to behave are more effective than those that do not.

What are some things to consider when thinking about designing a successful onboarding process? Christina Pope has some worthwhile advice:

  • Create a centralized experience — and make it fun
    • Help the new employee understand who you are as a company and how their role plays an important part. What are the company’s goals, values, and mission?
  • Communicate before they get there
    • Creating an emotional connection between the new hire, the organization, and their new team, will help them feel welcome, less stressed, and more team-focused. This translates into lower turnover rates.
  • It’s never too early to recognize
    • You can’t recognize an employee too early or too often during their first year. They need to know they’re appreciated, and their work is making a difference in the company.

Social Tools Can Improve the Onboarding Experience for Employees, according to Karie Willyerd, coauthor of The 2020 Workplace. Today’s corporate social tools can allow simultaneous completion and status update of tasks such as:

  • The recruiter indicating status of the paperwork
  • HR issuing the description of benefit plans to the new hire
  • IT providing system access, phone numbers, email addresses, and laptop distribution
  • Facilities notifying the manager of space allocation
  • Training automatically enrolling the new hire in an orientation program
  • The manager and the new hire seeing each of those in a status and “to do” list.

Harold Jarche recently researched interesting new hire practices that have emerged in the workplace and found many good ideas, such as:

  • Dedicated coaches
  • Formal introductions to people in the work network, especially those at a distance.
  • Encouraging informal conversations.
  • Giving enough time to settle into the work.
  • Using collaboration platforms to enable better communication.

Are you using social media in your onboarding processes? If so, share some your ideas as comments.