If you are looking to improve your employee retention rates, implementing an effective onboarding plan might be the answer you’re looking for. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3 million Americans quit their jobs every month (1). Poor onboarding experiences and unclear expectations are some of the top reasons for employees to leave their positions within the first six months (2).

This data suggests that the best way to retain new talent is by providing an excellent onboarding experience. In fact, organizations with a strong onboarding process improved their new hire retention rates by 82% and productivity by over 70% (3). The best onboarding programs focus on a few key strategies. Below we have shared five steps to help you create a successful onboarding plan using these strategies.

1. Find Out What New Employees Need to Know
It is crucial to find out precisely what a new employee needs to know to be successful in their new role. This way, appropriate onboarding activities can be planned. Think about what employees need to know about these four things:

  • Company : What information do they need to know about your organization? Is there any information about your company that will help them to be more successful in their position?
  • Craft: What do they need to know to do their job correctly? This could be anything from company protocol, dress codes, or laws they need to know about regarding their position.
  • Culture : What do new hires need to know about your company’s culture? Employees need this information to understand their new peers and work environment better.
  • Performance: How will new employees know if they are performing well and meeting expectations? It is important to share any goals or benchmarks they will be expected to reach.

2. Determine the Most Effective Ways to Teach Them
Once you know what your employees need to learn to be successful in their new positions, you can figure out the most effective way to teach them. Many successful organizations take a blended approach to train their new hires because it increases engagement. Blended learning is where you use several different methods, such as online learning, simulations, mobile learning, instructor-led, and just-in-time training. 

The idea is to provide it in short segments that best suits a particular skill you are trying to teach. For example, a mentor may work with a new employee on the job to learn about customer interaction so they can watch, learn, and practice. On the other hand, product knowledge training may be more easily absorbed with just-in-time training materials like a mobile tool they can use to look up product features and exclusive deals.

3. Plan Pre-Boarding Activities
The most successful onboarding programs start during the recruiting phase and last for more than 90 days. Pre-boarding activities will help set your new hire for success by getting many activities out of the way before their first day at work. Successful onboarding programs include the following activities:

  • Welcome email from new teammates
  • Onboarding checklist of the upcoming activities
  • HR documents emailed so they can be filled out digitally before the first day
  • Check-in email or phone call to answer any questions that may have come up
  • Company merchandises like stickers, pens or anything with the company logo on it
  • Employee handbook or manual that they can read ahead of time

Pre-boarding involves anything an employee can do before the first day, and anything an employer can do to create more positive experiences with the company before the first day.

4. Include Social Integration
Healthy work relationships matter. Employees who have friends at work are seven times more likely to be engaged (4). You can help new hires become more comfortable and engaged at work by creating opportunities for social integration. One way you can do this is by implementing a buddy or mentor program. This gives new hires someone they can talk to and use as a resource while they are learning the ropes. This can also help your employees become proficient more quickly. According to HCI, 87% of organizations that use mentor programs say that they boost new hire proficiency(5).

5. Plan for Regular Check-Ins
When you are planning your onboarding program, don’t forget to make time for regular check-ins not just in the first week, but throughout the first year. This will give new hires time to ask questions and give time for managers to make sure they are on track. 72% of employees reported that one-on-one time with their direct supervisor was one of the most important onboarding activities (5). Implementing check-ins help to prevent any confusion of expectations.

Key Points
Planning a formal onboarding process is one of the best ways to improve your employee retention rates and increase productivity. To design a successful onboarding program, remember these five keys points:

  • Think about what new employees need to know to be successful
  • Plan activities and training in a way that will help new hires retain the information
  • Include pre-boarding activities to streamline the process and build employee confidence
  • Promote healthy work relationships by including time for social integration
  • Regularly check-in with new hires even after the first week

Onboarding programs play a significant role in ensuring the career path of an employee within an organization. Talent teams need to incorporate various onboarding techniques to create a lasting experience for new joiners. Download our latest case study on preparing Onboarding Program to Reduce Time-to-Competency for an industry leader in consulting services that will help you to identify and resolve friction points in your existing program.

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