Do we really have to tell you just how important is the way you treat your new hires? Our best guess is that we don’t. Still, don’t fret because we will tell you quite a lot of important and valuable things about the onboarding process. Seeing as it is such an important mechanism in the well-functioning of your business, mastering it will soon become one of the best things you’ve ever decided to do. Here we go.
What Is the Onboarding Process?
As noted in the introduction, the onboarding process is a mechanism through which a company teaches a new hire all the skills, knowledge, and behaviors that he or she needs to become a successful employee and a good colleague. It is also called organizational socialization and without it, your company would be a gathering of torn apart people with not much in common and very little professional success.
If you don’t believe us, then maybe you’ll believe the studies researchers performed in this area. Most of them show that the onboarding process has extremely positive outcomes as far as new hires are concerned. These results include a higher satisfaction with their job, performing better on a daily basis, committing a lot more to the company and its employees, and reducing professional stress. Another significant outcome is that the onboarding process truly makes people want to quit less.
The equation is simple here. Once you spend the necessary amount of time onboarding them, people will feel like they finally found a place where they are seen and heard, where they can be themselves, and where they belong. Nobody wants to leave a job like that. Therefore, having established what the onboarding process is and just how important it can become, let’s take a look at how you can devise a plan for it.
A Plan for the Onboarding Process
The first piece of knowledge specialists has to impart and which you should know is this one.
1. Onboarding and the Onboarding Process Do Not Start on the First Day
In fact, they begin during recruitment. Link your company’s brand to the plan and to the idea that you must onboard the new hire. Let them see what it’s all about from the interview. Here is an example. Let’s say you are a high-tech company which has a brand built around this. However, during the hiring process, you make the person complete some 20 physical forms.
Your brand just died right there on the table, and the new hire doesn’t understand what kind of company this is anymore.
The next step of the onboarding process is this one.
2. Do Not Overwhelm the New Hire from the First Day
Unfortunately, this is a mistake that most, if not all companies make. You know what we’re talking about. The new hire comes in on their first day. He either gets a ton of reading material to go through in eight hours, or he has to take part in an intensive training immediately. We all want our employees to become productive and start making money as soon as possible, but this is not the way to do it.
Instead, have a pretty handbook with all the info at hand and send it over to his house with an official letter in advance. In this way, the new employee will have time to read about all he needs to know in the peace and quiet of his own house. He will appreciate it. Let’s face it. No one can concentrate on their new day.
3. Do Not Make Him Wait or Ask for Information
The first will make him anxious and, probably, start disliking the job and you for doing this from day one. The second is not going to happen. Chances are if he needs something, he’s just not going to say it. Therefore, make sure you have everything ready for him. Set up his computer, send an email in advance with pictures and names of the key figures in the company, and mark the toilets and the coffee well.
In this way, you will make him feel at ease and less nervous.
4. Individualize the Onboarding Process
The onboarding process is quite granulated and individual as it is and as opposed to the classical hiring approach. Still, if you want to succeed, you must go even further. Take into account your new hire’s needs and devise an onboarding process just for him. How can you do this?
The simplest way is to ask directly – ‘how do you like or want to be managed?’ Another way is by allowing them to identify and set up their individual goals according to the company’s policies and then communicate them to you or the Human Resources Department.
5. Tell the New Hire Just How Important He/She Is to Your Company
Evidently, this doesn’t mean patting them on the back and giving them a piece of candy. Instead, it means that you need to show them exactly what their position in your organization is. Tell them what you are expecting from them, how they can help, what are their targets, and what should be their results.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you own a coffee shop and you hire a new barista. Instead of telling him that you want him to make coffee, inform the barista that his purpose here is to attract more and more people, to serve the best coffee, and provide good conversation. This is his purpose. A coffee machine can brew coffee, but it cannot talk to customers. At least, not until robotics evolves a bit more, anyway.
3 Examples of Companies That Are Doing the Onboarding Process Right
We know that all this theory can get a little bit dry, sometimes. Therefore, we’ve prepared three examples for you. Here are the companies which have taken the onboarding process to a whole new level.
Here’s what Netflix does when they hire someone new.
- They give the new hire the chance to participate in massive projects as soon as they start working there. If they do a good job, they get to see how thousands of people use the results of his work. It’s needless to point out just how amazing this will be for both the hire and your company.
- Netflix sets up all the technology for the new employees before they arrive.
- They dedicate a mentor for each new person to help and guide them.
- Every single one of the executives, including main man CEO Reed Hastings, meet with all the new employees.
- In the limits of reason, they grant the new hires all their technological wishes such as desktops or servers.
How could we have possibly talked about an onboarding process and not mention the giant Google, a dream company for millions of people out there? As it turns out, they too have an amazing plan when it comes to integrating new people into their ranks. Here’s what they do.
Seeing as they are the company which can run some good analytics like no one else out there, they recently discovered a new way to increase productivity by a quarter. When dealing with a new hire, instead of waiting until Monday to start to process, the HR team with the mighty Google starts sending messages to managers on Sunday.
They consist of small emails or even reminders that they have someone new coming in at the beginning of the week. In this way, they seem to manage to prod managers to comply with their five-rule onboarding process, as follows.
- Discussing the new hire’s primary roles and responsibilities.
- Finding them a peer buddy who is supposed to look after and mentor them.
- Introduce the new employee to his colleagues and the rest of his team.
- Check in with the new hire once per month just to see how they’re doing and if they require anything special. That typically happens for the first six months in a row.
- Encourage as much open dialogue as possible.
One more thing which would be good for you to know at this point is the following. Google does not force its managers to comply with these steps of the onboarding process in any way. It merely reminds them that they have proven to be effective in the past. And you know what they say. If it’s not broken, why fix it? Or ignore it, for that matter.
This e-commerce footwear giant understood that the number one reason for which its employees love their job is the people they work with every day. They also seem to comprehend that hiring the wrong type of person, no matter how skilled and knowledgeable they might be, is bad. They will pollute an otherwise happy and lucrative atmosphere.
Therefore, Zappos offers every hire a course that runs for five weeks. During that time, they get to learn everything about their job, the company’s culture, and values, and about their colleagues. When the course ends, they offer the new hire $2, 000 and the possibility to leave if they consider they are not right for the company. As hard as it might be to believe, only a meager 1 percent actually take the money and walk away.
This last example is the best one in showing you just how important the onboarding process really is. When people refuse $2, 000 to come work for you, that’s how you know you’ve got a good thing going on!