Growing Your Company: Why The Onboarding Experience Matters
By Chrystina Orlando, Assistant Community Manager, Bond 60 Broad
Attracting employees is not enough; to be successful, companies need to retain them, and that process starts with onboarding. To that end, happiness can increase the average productivity rate by 12%, according to the University of Warwick's Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy. Researchers have also found that unhappiness is linked to decreased productivity which had a lasting effect of two years or more. What’s the best way to jump-start your new employees on a track of positivity? Make sure that they feel valued the moment they accept their job offer.
Here at Bond Collective, our members come from many different types of industries which allow us to get a good feel of the ways in which many companies handle their onboarding process. Below are some sample quotes of our members’ best and worst onboarding experiences.
Q. What has been the best onboarding experience you've had?
"The best onboarding experience I had involved an orientation with free breakfast and a networking party. We were given company merchandise too."
"The first week of my current job, I was taken out to dinner with the whole company. I felt so included and got to know everyone on my team. It was such a welcoming experience."
“The best onboarding experience I had was at my current company. While I made mistakes along the way, I was at a company that valued people and a few errors didn't change anyone's perception that I was a less than capable individual. My company welcomes growth in all aspects, and that includes not getting everything perfect all the time.”
Q. What was the worst onboarding experience you've experienced personally?
“The worst onboarding experience I had was when I started working for a production company. I knew nothing about the company culture, my boss, or even how to transfer calls. The first month was INSANELY tough because he was not a nice nor understanding guy, so I learned everything by trial and error.”
"The worst onboarding experience I had was at a company that didn't give me much of a direction as to what my plan was for the first day. I was unsure of when to arrive on my first day and where exactly to go. I didn't get the sense that I mattered very much."
Prepare for their first day. Make sure new employees have received all paperwork including signed copies of contracts, benefit plans, and anything else that needs signing. Send them a welcome packet that includes information about the company, the culture, an employee directory, and an enthusiastic message showing the company’s excitement in having them join the company. These small steps go a long way in making new employees feel valued and prepared right from the get-go. Lastly, don’t forget to remind them of the company address, typical business hours, and ask if they have any other questions that need to be answered prior to their start date.
Focus on the first day experience. Ease first day jitters by having a system in place to greet new employees as they arrive in the morning. Have someone ready to give them a tour of the office, introduce them to their coworkers, and show them where their workspace is. Their computer, phone, key cards, and company swag (an underutilized onboarding tool) should all be left on their desk. A gesture of treating new employees to lunch on the first day speaks volumes about the company and helps initiate the employee bonding process.
The first few weeks and months are crucial. The beginning of a new employee’s tenure is vital to their success and productivity at the company. It is imperative that companies have a training program in place to get their employees acclimated with not only their own department, but also with all departments that he/she will be working with. Having individual orientation meetings scheduled with these departments where new employees can learn and ask questions is crucial to their job development. The new employee’s manager should also schedule weekly 1:1 meetings where they provide mentorship and track progress.
It is very important to treat mistakes early on as learning experiences. Otherwise, new employees will be afraid to ask questions if they aren’t clear about something. This could also lead to an employee losing confidence which stunts growth, hurting both the employee and their company. Lastly, company bonding opportunities always lift morale around the office. Schedule monthly happy hours or events where new employees can get to know their coworkers outside the office. Implementing these tactics have been proven to lead to more employee loyalty. 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding, said O.C. Tanner Co., a company that designs and helps implement global employee rewards and recognition solutions.
Ultimately the onboarding process is a pivotal first step in making new employees happy, productive, and motivated to work hard to achieve company goals.