It’s no secret by now that a new hire’s first days on the job are crucial for their career at their new company. The onboarding process gives them time to learn the ins and outs of an organization and understand their role within the company. The company culture and commitment to onboarding has the power to influence employee engagement. Engagement and onboarding make quite the dynamic duo and, unlike the ill-fated “Brangelina,” this power couple is here to stay. Here’s how to make it work.
Long Term Relationship
Understand that onboarding should never be a one-day process. One of the biggest problems with onboarding programs happens when employees are given too much information at once, the business equivalent of being taken to a family reunion on a first date. Give employees time to get used to the company, its policies, employees, and expectations. Extend onboarding programs to a six to twelve month window so the new hire can more easily manage smaller bits of information and not feel like the company is coming on too strong and really master the material they learn before moving onto the next big thing.
Don’t Play Hard to Get
Managers should be easily accessible during a new hire’s onboarding process. High quality mentors are key to a successful relationship between the new hire and the company. Take the time to meet one-on-one with new hires in the first few days of employment and don’t wait for new hires to call. Be proactive and create individual career development plans with new hires so they understand the company’s investment in their professional lives. Make expectations clear and work collaboratively to assign goals to new employees. Employees should be aware of the larger company vision from their first day in order to fully grasp how their work fits into it, ensuring higher levels of engagement and lasting commitment.
Don’t Forget the Little Things
Much like a bad date, rough first professional experiences can be hard to recover from. New employees are a lot less likely to say, “It’s not me, it’s you,” to their new companies if they have the support they need to get through those first big milestones, whether that’s learning how to use a complicated computer system or getting a license to operate heavy machinery. Think about ways to help employees reach those milestones and celebrate with them when they do. Now is the perfect time to think about a recognition program for employees who are taking steps in their professional development. Remember anniversaries of employment, and not just as a time to evaluate employees. Celebrate their first months and year on the job, but don’t let it wane from there. Enthusiasm counts.
Like any relationship, there is no guarantee that an employee is going to feel a solid connection with any company right away. Relationships take work and support. Strong onboarding attracts employee engagement and with the two, new hires are going to be ready to say, “I do,” to a long career at an organization.