The onboarding process is meant to acclimate new employees to their new job roles, familiarize them with the company culture, and make them feel like a part of a team that contributes to the company's success.
A well-structured and efficient onboarding process benefits not only the new employees that are joining but also the productivity of your existing employees.
The sooner new talent gets acquainted and used to their daily tasks, the sooner your team will get the much-needed support.
Unfortunately, according to Gallup data, only 12% of US employees feel that their company did a good job with the onboarding process. This low number shows that we still haven’t realized the full potential of quality onboarding to boost retention numbers and decrease employee turnover.
It’s time to break that view and look at how onboarding can affect your existing employees and the organization.
1. Time-to-productivity during the adjustment period
A well-structured onboarding process quickly acclimates new hires to the company culture and makes the roles, responsibilities, goals, and KPIs understandable. On the other hand, poor onboarding will result in more time needed until the new hire can do their job independently.
Workforce inefficiency is one of the leading causes of idle time and unproductivity. Luckily, you can decrease the time-to-productivity rate by upgrading the onboarding process.
Take the time to destructure the process, ask for employee feedback, and isolate your gaps in the onboarding.
To improve the time-to-productivity rate of new hires, have an onboarding checklist and structure your process into organized stages and actions. Following a blueprint will help you ensure you haven’t missed mentioning any important details.
So, deconstruct your process and optimize every stage — from the screening questions that determine the fit to the recruitment ad you use to attract talents. Your end goal should be finding talents that are a good fit for the job role and company culture.
Although it depends on the job role, the adjustment period until new workers can do their job independently often affects current employees as well, especially when they’re a part of a team and their daily tasks are interconnected with the functioning of a department as a whole.
By optimizing the onboarding process, new hires will understand their roles and be able to contribute to the workforce faster.
2. Shift scheduling challenges
New staff inevitably brings a change in schedules for the entire team. If you’re managing a remote or hybrid workforce working in different time zones, efficient scheduling is necessary for productive working and satisfied employees.
To address your staffing challenges, try using software for shift scheduling. Technology like this often uses AI to design the most optimized schedules, taking into consideration breaks, compliance, and downtime to avoid employee burnout.
With the help of such technology, you can improve your new and existing employees’ work-life balance by allowing them personalized flexible work schedules.
According to 2022 Gallup data, 59% of remote-capable employees prefer hybrid working, followed by 32% who prefer remote working and 9% who wish to work fully on-site.
These numbers clearly show the importance of flexible scheduling and offering ways for your staff to personalize their work schedules.
If you incorporate hybrid or remote working schedules in your organization, update your onboarding process and use the necessary tools to facilitate the introduction of new workers in a virtual setting.
3. Cultivating mentorship, leadership, and collaboration
In a healthy company culture, existing employees often take leadership and start mentoring new hires. This culture of mentorship is beneficial for both parties.
The mentor assumes a role of a leader and feels appreciated at their job, while the “student” or the new hire absorbs hands-on experience and starts to assimilate easier.
Mentorship programs are not just beneficial in terms of job roles and tasks but also in terms of cultural fit and the feeling of belonging in a company, which largely contribute to employee engagement and better retention rates.
Here are some important points to consider when designing a mentorship program suited to your business needs:
- The format — one-on-one vs. group mentoring;
- The perfect pair — matching mentors with new hires or mentees according to their job roles;
- Resources — provide the tools, technology, knowledge base, and other resources needed for the mentor to do their job;
- Incentives — what motivates the mentor and what motivates the new hire;
- Length — how long will the mentorship program last;
- Objectives and expectations — what is the end goal (what should the new hire be able to do after the mentorship is completed);
4. Clarity of job roles, expectations, and responsibilities
The quality of your onboarding process will determine how well your new hires understand what’s expected of them. Unclear goals and expectations are one of organizations' most common onboarding mistakes.
On the other hand, when new employees smoothly fit into their job roles and understand their day-to-day obligations and tasks, they start supporting existing employees much faster, thus increasing the overall productivity of your organization.
With this in mind, don’t forget that your current or existing employees should also be introduced to the new hires and aware of the additions to the team. Current employees need to understand where the new hires fall into their workflows and how their role relates to the roles of the new hires.
For instance, are you hiring a C-level executive who will be the team’s overhead? Or, are you hiring another team member on the same level as the rest of the team? Transparency and understanding of the job roles organization-wide are key.
5. Ongoing professional development
Our last tip is to stay aware that your onboarding process isn’t a 1-month or 3-month plan that stops there. Quite the contrary — you should aim to provide continuous opportunities for your staff’s career growth and professional development.
Discussing career goals and growth opportunities during the onboarding stage will set clear trajectories and give new hires something to work towards.
Investing in your current workforce — such as upskilling or reskilling qualified staff — is more efficient than hiring new talent. However, according to a recent PwC report, only 40% of employees said that their company offers upskilling opportunities. Obviously, there’s a lot of room for improvement!
Hopefully, these five tips will help you take the most advantage out of your onboarding process and develop it to perfection — with the effect on your existing employees in mind. Start looking at onboarding with a different mindset — look at it as an early retention effort. This will make all the difference!
Ultimately, we’d like to highlight the importance of re-boarding your existing employees. For instance, if an employee has been on a prolonged sick leave, a paid leave, or any other interruption in their job, they might need reboarding to get caught up and up to date.
So, don’t forget that onboarding and orientation often aren’t just for new staff. Everyone could use a refreshment course once in a while.
Last but not least, for the best onboarding results, try to personalize and tailor your onboarding efforts in a way that’s unique and best to understand for the new hire.
Providing different forms and ways to absorb the information and letting new employees learn at their own pace can do wonders for your team!