How to Create an Effective Employee Onboarding Process

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Remember your first weeks on the job? How long it took for you to feel fully comfortable, not to mention productive? How you established communication with your colleagues and how the company helped you throughout this entire process?

Employee onboarding is an established process, treated with the same importance as customer care. Or at least it should be.

Why is employee onboarding important?

According to the Aberdeen Group, up to 86% of new hires can decide if they want to stay or leave a company within the first 6 months. Also, up to 69% of them are more likely to spend more than 3 years at the same place if they experience a well-structured onboarding process.

A study conducted back in 2003 reported that the impact to productivity for new hires and transfers ranged somewhere between 1% and 2.5% of total revenues.

Therefore, it’s worth mentioning that onboarding can be one of the essential cross-functional processes in a company, involving several persons and resources like the hiring manager, HR, IT, facilities and so on.

However, you should know that employee onboarding is completely different from training.

Forbes reveals through a study in which 264 new employees took part – which was published in the Academy of Management Journal – that the first 90 days of employment, also called ‘the probationary period’, is essential for building rapport with the company, as well as the management and coworkers.


Structured onboarding impacts retention

The numbers are strong with this one. A study conducted in 2007 by the Wynhurst Group, revealed that if employees go through structured onboarding as soon as they join the team, the chances for them to remain with the organization after 3 years can increase by 58%. Basically, the idea is to design your employee experience as thoughtfully as you design your customer experience. Interesting perspective, huh?

The overall success of the employee onboarding process actually impacts employee engagement and success in customers’ experiences, according to a report from Temkin Group.

In 2016, they organized an Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, which showed that companies that are doing a great job when it comes to customer experience have 1.5 times as many engaged employees as customer experience laggards do.

Also, in their The Engaged Workplace study, Gallup has found that up to a whopping 87% of employees worldwide are not actually engaged. Companies are really missing out on this, as those who maintain their workforce highly engaged can outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.

Current employee introductory packages

Twitter has over 3800 employees, spread in 35 offices around the world. They make a point out of making sure employees have proper access to information, and offer programs focusing on making the ‘Yes to Desk’ period as productive as possible. That’s the period spanning from when a new hire accepts the offer, all the way through their arrival at the office.

In this entire period, employees get a custom email, a T-shirt and a bottle of wine waiting for them. Their desks are placed strategically, next to the key teammates they will be working along. Also, they have breakfast with the CEO on the first day and are given a tour of the company office, followed by a training on the tools and system they will use. How’s that for an onboarding process?

Also, take LinkedIn, who now has 9700 people working in 30 cities. New recruits join other new hires and learn about the company culture. They grab sticky notes, jot their names and a headline that best describes them, as well as an interesting fact about themselves.

The procedure is followed by a campus tour and lunch, a session called ‘Investing [In] You’, covering core orientation topics, where members receive backpacks and laptops, all set up with the communication tools they need. Finally, they receive the ‘New Hire Onboarding Roadmap’, which will help their transition and guide them through gaining access to relevant information.

These are great examples of how some companies implement employee onboarding. The term ‘onboarding’ is not well defined and understood, since it doesn’t boil down to just a few days. On the contrary, it’s a process that can take even a few months, if you value your employees and want them to be a part of your team for a longer period of time.

To be more specific, it contains about six different periods:

  • Before the new hire starts
  • The first day
  • The first week
  • The first few weeks
  • The first 3 months
  • The first 6 months

Guidelines to successful employee onboarding

Putting in place a proper support and communication system for employees is crucial. The fear of speaking up or the shame of constantly bothering a colleague or manager with questions can lead to frustration, a slower integration process and can even hinder their productivity. You can read more about the importance of internal communication in one of our previous articles.

To improve the overall onboarding process, you can use social tools that provide custom designed experiences, and allow employees to assimilate more rapidly and maintain easy access to information and knowledge, through knowledge sharing. This has a positive impact on the entire company, which you can read about in this article we wrote about the benefits of knowledge sharing.

These are some important steps, which, if applied correctly, can keep your employees from leaving after a short period.

How was your experience with onboarding? What would you improve, if you could? Let us know by dropping us a tweet at @QuandoraQA.

Happy Knowledge Sharing!

Looking for a great way to ask questions and build knowledge with your co-workers? Quandora enables simple, efficient knowledge sharing with your team, way more fun than a mailing list or a forum. Try Quandora

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