It’s never easy being the “newbie” at work. Imagine their first impression when they show up at the office to a “Welcome, Jada!” banner hanging on the entry wall or in their cubicle! Take them to lunch or ask them to join you for a cup of coffee and introduce them to other employees. One of my clients sends a “Getting to Know You” form to new employees before their start date. Because they work remotely, they travel to the home office for their orientation. Imagine the surprise when Spencer walks into his hotel room to find his favorite beverage on ice, his favorite snacks and candy and a gift certificate to his favorite restaurant! Already, the score begins to soar in the company’s favor! In addition, he is getting a glimpse into the caring culture and feeling part of the team. Another company has existing personnel show up early on the day a new hire starts and instructs the newbie to arrive a half hour later. Most new employees will arrive early anyway. As the rookie walks in the door, they are greeted with a red carpet, a welcome banner and cheers and applause from their new fellow teammates. A framed photo of the employee with their family or their pet awaits them in their new office. (It’s easy to request this by email at the same time you send new employee paperwork in advance of their start date. Let them know it’s for a special surprise on their first day.) Who wouldn’t be a raving fan after the first day with this kind of kickoff? Remember to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your original ideas and photos so you may be included in our next book!
Did you know that nearly 90 percent of new employees decide whether to stay with or leave an organization within their first six months on the job? Another study found that newly hired employees are 58 percent more likely to still be at the company three years later if they had completed a structured onboarding process.
It’s easy to see why research has found that improper onboarding can lead to lower productivity, higher employee turnover, and lower employee engagement. When a new employee starts their first day and doesn’t feel welcomed or at ease, they start questioning whether they made the right choice in accepting the new role.
It’s important to note that a comprehensive onboarding program is more than just making sure the new hire’s paperwork is filled out and that they have a desk, phone, and computer ready on their first day (although those items are important). A true onboarding initiative integrates new employees into the culture and fabric of the organization and allows them to build trust and engagement with their new colleagues (while also reinforcing that they DID make the right choice joining your organization).
This week, I challenge you to really examine your team or department’s onboarding process. Sit down and make a list of the things you do when a new hire comes on board, along with the things you don’t do. Research onboarding best practices and become familiar with what the industry standards are. Come up with a list of items that would take your onboarding processes to the next level. You can even poll your team to get real-world examples of what would make a new hire at your organization feel welcomed, engaged, and confident in their new role. Share your findings with HR to see how this information can be used for all new hires, not just your team or department.
FUN FACT: J. Van Maanen and E.H. Schein in 1979 were some of the very first to research and understand what they called “organizational socialization” which was, essentially, the process by which people “learn the ropes” of a particular organizational role (i.e. what we call onboarding today).