Tips for Improving the Onboarding Process

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The first real opportunity you have to get your employees on the right track with their position in your company is through an onboarding program. Keeping an outdated and limited-in-scope orientation program is counterproductive to what you will be expecting from your new hires. Employees can’t be expected to be both competent and effective when they only have a few hours of introduction to your company and their role within it. Whether you have long-time employees who are making a transition into a new role or you are bringing in new hires, your onboarding process will set the stage for long-term success. Given the statistics that nearly half of all hourly employees leave their jobs within the first four months of their hire date, and yet companies with onboarding programs retain 69% of their employees for almost three years, there is something to be said about the way you acclimate your new hires. Here are some ways to minimize turnover.

Separate Your Orientation and Onboarding

While the two processes may sound and seem familiar, they are two separate functions. Orientation introduces your new hire to the more physical aspects of your company and facilities, and it includes enough training to encourage the most basic level of functioning within their role. However, it shouldn’t be a substitute for a well-executed employee onboarding process. To keep your process as effective and lasting as you can, you should develop a personal approach the encompasses the authentic and unique skill sets of your new hire. This could include their personality traits, such as attitude, demeanor, and ability to work with others. To rely on these strengths puts more a direct responsibility on the employee that is easily recognized and accepted given their own comfort levels with their abilities.

Create Instructional Assistance

Business introductions are crucial to helping a new hire feel included but also mentored. With new employees, it can be challenging to just jump right in when they feel nervous or unsure of how things are supposed to work. Giving them the resource of a trusted and seasoned individual from the company or from an outside partner can help move the integration process along. It also improves the training process by creating opportunities for interaction where on-the-job but well-supervised training can be of use. Formal training may have stopped, but with a mentor employee, you can rest assured that your new hire is still getting the help they need to do their job well.

Don’t Make It Complicated

It is easy to sabotage the onboarding experience through too much information. New hires may already have the jitters, and expecting them to retain and assimilate tons of new information is downright overwhelming and unfair. This is another reason for a personalized approach to onboarding. Each hire will have a comfortable learning style, and presenting material or adapting to special circumstances or learning speeds can help make the information you do deliver be remembered.

Be Patient

The prime difference between onboarding and orientation is the time it takes to complete each task. The goal with new hires is to invest in their skills and understanding so they will want to stay in their position for some length of time. The longer you desire them to stay, the more time you need to invest in their training. Many experts believe that three months to a year is an appropriate onboarding timeline, but the exact length of time depends on the nature of the industry, the experience level of the new employee, and the job duties.  

Be Creative

The best way to acclimate your employees to their new role is through interactive experiences. Don’t rely on just videos, lectures, and slideshows. Incorporate hands-on activities to keep them stimulated and engaged. Allowing them to speak through questions, worksheets, and other means keep them accountable for their part in the onboarding process. When you can capture the interest and address the skill of the individual, the more successful your onboarding and training will be. 

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