Set the Tone for Success with Solid Onboarding

Emphasize company culture starting on--or even before--day 1.

4 min read
In the war for talent, there's a great deal of importance placed on drawing the right people, preparing an attractive offer and benefits package and making sure your potential new hires are a good fit for your company. You spend the time, the money and the executive attention focused on this process and getting employees as excited about joining as possible. These necessary steps create goodwill and seed company culture as people join your team.

But it turns out there's one often overlooked area where the ball gets dropped when new people join--and that's onboarding. While there's a certain amount of paperwork and rote information that needs to be relayed, how you approach the onboarding process can have far-reaching effects on your company culture over the long term. New hires who have a good time onboarding can be almost three times as likely to feel "prepared and supported" in their job. Here's how to set your company and new employees up for an enjoyable and maybe meaningful experience when they join.

Create a plan
Successful onboarding requires a cohesive plan from many parts of the company. Though Human Resources (HR) will lead the charge, employees may be bombarded with requests, information or assignments from different parts of the company from accounting to their direct report. Take time with your HR team to pull all the steps together to create a more welcoming and hopefully less overwhelming experience for your new team member. 

Once you've established all of the components needed, document these steps and the order they need to occur. Think about the employee's experience of what needs to be done and establish a reasonable cadence that will not overwhelm; this needs to feel like an intuitive journey by the employee. A documented agemda will go far to make an employee feel like there is a plan for them and build in expectations about what to prepare for--and when. 

Don't forget the why
While you may be focused on the details and ticking off every necessary HR task for newcomers, don't forget the overarching narrative of why you hired this person, what their presence will mean to your current team and how everyone will connect. Meaningful interactions with their hiring manager, direct reports, parallel team members and even the executive team when appropriate will fill in the blanks and create an important sense of belonging. 

Batching is one of the most effective tools in your belt when it comes to onboarding. Simply group several new hires with similar start dates together as a cohort; this is a powerful way to create context, connect employees with peers and avoid having to repeat information.

Batched new hires get a chance to interact with different facets of your company as well. A marketing manager, logistics worker and assistant may all start in the same week. They'll have a chance to learn about other parts of the company and what each person does, as well as have a cohort of people in similar situations they can go to with questions. Creating and fostering this sense of community early goes a long way to cementing your company culture. 

It's personal
Don't forget the personal touches along the way in this process. A handwritten welcome card, items with the business' logo or flowers can help make the entire process feel connected.

Onboarding Do's and Don'ts
Don't put off onboarding. That can lead to new employees feeling ignored and disoriented. 
  • Do start the process before they show up for their first day - whether it's virtual or remote.
Don't ignore the structure of an onboarding process. This could lead to a failed onboarding plan.
  • Do create processes and a series of steps that are consistent for each hire. 
Don't forget a feedback loop.
  • Do ask for thoughts and ideas for improvement during and after onboarding.
Don't overwhelm new hires with too much information.
  • Do streamline and reduced information to key items employees need right at the start like what time to report where to park if on-site. Save more complex information for later in the process. 
Don't ignore generational and cultural differences.
  • Do address different ways of being motivated and indiviualize those to the employee.
Don't think of onboarding as a vacuum.
  • Do think of and treat onboarding as an important part of building a cohesive culture and the final step in hiring. 
Next Steps
  • Talk to recent new hires and ask them what they liked and where you can improve going forward.
  • Get with your HR and review your current onboarding processes - ask for ideas form the team about how to better organize the experience for employees.
  • Consider creating a personalized onboarding bindr for each new employees about what to expect. 
Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services are offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. THE SHOBE FINANCIAL GROUP is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services.

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