improve onboarding

6 Ways to Elevate Your Onboarding

Organizations are understandably focused on employee retention. Turnover is expensive, in terms of both hard costs and impact on morale. Left unchecked, turnover can quickly become an epidemic. It only makes sense that companies want to find ways to keep turnover under control.

Onboarding is a key factor in employee-retention efforts, according to 98 percent of C-Suite executives. But this means that organizations need to have well-designed onboarding programs to yield the retention results they need.

Here are six activities organizations should include in their onboarding strategies.

Offer Refreshers for Promotions and Transfers

Onboarding isn’t only about an individual’s knowledge of the company. It’s also about how well they know their work. When employees change jobs because they get a promotion or transfer, they should receive some kind of onboarding. Granted, it doesn’t need to be the same program that an outside hire receives, but it should help with the transition.

Provide Onboarding to Managers

Managers are responsible for 70 percent of variance in employee engagement. And most organizations don’t have training programs on “How to Conduct Onboarding,” so many managers learn how to onboard employees from the way they are onboarded. New managers need their own onboarding program, beyond management development, to learn how to onboard their employees successfully.

Add a “Preboarding” Component

One of the great tasks that technology can do for us is to send personalized, automated messages to new hires. Organizations can create a prehire checklist of messaging to send candidates. The checklist could include a welcome video from the CEO, introduction to onboarding buddies and FAQs about the first day and week. It helps the new hire and adds a higher level of service to onboarding.

Distribute a Map

During orientation — a step itself in the onboarding process — new hires should be provided with a roadmap of what’s going to take place during onboarding. It lets employees understand that the process has been thought out, and they can focus on their immediate work. Onboarding processes take time. In some organizations, onboarding can take as long as a year. Providing a roadmap helps employees see the long-term plan.

Schedule Onboarding Check-Ins

Because onboarding takes time and resources, it only makes good business sense to ensure that these things are being used well. The last thing any organization wants is to spend months and thousands of dollars, only to have a new hire leave within the first year. Companies can get feedback from employees through pulse surveys, one-on-one check-in sessions and focus groups.

Keep Onboarding Content Current

Company policies and procedures change all the time. When changes are made, organizations need to ask themselves if the information should be added to onboarding and whether the information should update the existing onboarding program. New hires should never hear one piece of information in orientation or onboarding, then something different when they’re at work in their departments.

Onboarding programs set new hires up for success by educating them about the company, the work and the employee-value proposition. The goal is to give an employee the information they need right before they need it. This will allow the employee to immediately apply the information in the workplace and also retain it.

Today’s onboarding programs involve more than simply a half- or full-day orientation program. It’s time to think about onboarding as a long-term strategy responsible for educating employees before the first day and for months beyond. The investment will result in higher engagement and retention — a win for everyone.