Making a lasting impression on potential employees during the interview process, hiring process and onboarding is especially critical in a tight labor market. According to the ADP Research Institute® report, The Human Touch Drives Onboarding Success, employee onboarding goes well beyond getting new employees up to speed, as it also represents an important opportunity to fully engage and integrate new employees into an organization's culture right from the start. "New employees want to quickly get that feeling they have come to the right place," ADP reports. "To capture those new employee hearts and minds, the onboarding process must be elevated to be a positive, engaging experience."

Impress During the Interview Process

Your efforts to engage employees should start before they even sign on the dotted line. A great way to wow job candidates is to have tools available to help them understand your culture and how they'll fit in it before they decide to join your organization. For instance, adding an interview with a colleague or peer during the hiring process can enable a two-way conversation and mutual assessment of a good fit. Video messages from managers or peers could offer the same value for candidates and new hires, accelerating the process of integration. Additionally, virtual reality may soon allow candidates and new hires to "visit" facilities or sit in on team meetings prior to their first day on the job.

See Onboarding as an Opportunity

According to ADP, a whopping 81 percent of HR administrators and 91 percent of business managers don't believe their organization onboards new employees "extremely well." But when it is done well and new employees experience a structured process, they're more likely to feel connected after their first day. Like any other business process, onboarding should be updated with strategic goals in mind and delivered in a way that takes advantage of the digital transformation. At a foundational level, onboarding is a customer service challenge, and putting the evolving needs of new hires first is paramount.

Revamp Your Process

ADP's report notes that effective onboarding involves "the 3 Cs": connection, comfort and culture. It should be less about filling out paperwork and more about acculturation — the process of adapting to a new culture or group. Particularly among millennial hires, the meaning of work and the values of their workplace drive engagement. "Employers with a winning onboarding approach offer a structured, digital onboarding process — one focused on those human needs that drive loyalty, retention and productivity," according to the ADP onboarding report.

Digitize Paperwork

You shouldn't let logistical necessities mire the process. Instead, leverage technology to efficiently take care of the majority of paperwork and video training. Administrative paperwork and regulatory disclosures can often be streamlined in a digital format to save time and reserve employee energy for more important details.

It's an exciting time for HR, as there's a virtually unprecedented opportunity to not only get new employees off to a fast start, but also quickly help them create lasting connections with your organization.

Where are your employees on the Engagement Meter? Try our interactive tool today to help you drive work happiness within your organization.

Tags: Onboarding Employee Engagement