When it comes to new hires, the first impression often lasts longest. And though it’s to be expected that an enthusiastic new employee will put his or her best foot forward on the first day in a new job, the question is: do companies do the same thing?
It’s interesting to note that according to Kelly Services® research, more than 40 percent of high tech talent didn’t experience an onboarding program—a process that provides new employees with a comprehensive overview of a company’s goals, processes, and culture, plus assimilates them into the group—when starting their most recent jobs. Yet of the almost 60 percent who did experience an onboarding process, an astounding 83 percent agreed that their experiences during the first 90 days of employment positively impacted their impressions of their new employers.
Clearly, when onboarding programs involve more than introducing new hires to the team and presenting them with the necessary paperwork to fill out, they can have a positive influence on employee engagement. Moreover, empowering new employees to do their jobs well is good for operations: according to Harvard Business School’s publication Working Knowledge for Business Leaders, employees who undergo rapid onboarding programs become productive and add value in significantly less time than employees who experience more casual orientations.
Best practices for successful onboarding programs
In order to validate the time and resources necessary for creating and implementing an onboarding process, that process must deliver the projected value. Though each organization will put its own stamp on its program, there are a number of elements—other than offering a welcoming work environment—that can help maximize the efficacy of onboarding programs:
Utilize technology. On the first day, new high tech hires typically have to fill out paperwork, set up company laptops and phones, and review employment manuals. Inc. advises using technology to get a head start on these steps and thereby free up employees to concentrate on the workplace. In addition, Inc. emphasizes that technology can offer an effective medium to deliver information about the organization and its culture by means of videos, podcasts, and employee testimonials.
Allow for individuality. MIT Sloan Management Review advises that though it’s important for new hires to understand their employers’ values and culture, they should be encouraged to “express their unique perspectives and strengths on the job from the very beginning.” This allows them to bring their personal best and enhances the likelihood that they’ll feel engaged with their companies for the long term.
Set employees up for success. Working Knowledge for Business Leaders advises that employers can encourage their new hires’ productivity by mapping out expectations for the first 90 days and ensuring the employees have access to the networks they need to carry out their responsibilities. This creates transparency and facilitates communication, and as a result, reduces time to productivity.
Talent management strategy
As Kelly Services® research shows, an effective onboarding process can significantly boost engagement levels and as a result, enhance retention. It follows that every high tech company that wishes to remain competitive should recognize the value of onboarding and make it a crucial part of its talent management strategy. By quickly assimilating new hires into the company while still encouraging their individuality, employers can create good, lasting impressions that not only positively influence employee engagement, but also result in improved operations.
2014 KGWI http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/reinventing-employee-onboarding/