HR leaders spend a lot of time and money marketing open positions. So when you find the right candidates, you hope they'll be engaged, happy and productive employees. However, the same amount of attention you spend on recruiting — if not more — is necessary once you get your new employees in the door. A carefully planned and executed onboarding program can engage newly-hired employees, keep them happy and increase retention rates. Which means less time hiring new employees to fill the gaps.
The Case for Extended Onboarding
According to the ADP report, The Human Touch Drives Onboarding Success, only 19 percent of HR administrators and 9 percent of managers feel their business does onboarding extremely well. Often, even the most forward-thinking organizations fail to incorporate new hires into their business culture. Systems may be set up to assimilate new employees, but individual managers often take the reins from HR after the first few days. And managers have different personalities and leadership approaches, so newly-hired employees can end up with vastly different experiences. To ensure a successful transition, develop and invest in an extended onboarding program that tracks and supports newly-hired employees though their first year of employment.
Creating a Year-Long Onboarding Program
According to ADP, managers spend approximately seven days onboarding a new hire. But is this enough time? A whopping 79 percent of employees feel there's room for improvement with onboarding. A short onboarding process can overload newly-hired employees with information. Instead, provide hands-on learning. If your business has many components, each department could pick a month to host a training for new employees. For example, you may have hired an IT employee, but that doesn't mean they can't learn from your marketing department. Or vice-versa.
See to it that employees are scheduled for one training each month throughout their first year. It's also important for newly-hired employees to develop relationships with their peers at work. While you can't force friendships, you can promote interaction. Encourage your current staff to invite the new hires to lunch or coffee. Beyond their first few weeks, make sure new hires get meet-and-greets with various agency representatives every month. Extended onboarding is like a year-long performance evaluation — it assesses performance, showing you where new hires fall in the training program and what you need to do to ensure success. Not everyone learns the same, and you can alter your approach based on an employee's input.
Creating Check Points
An extended onboarding process can include check points at three, six and nine months based on specific goals.
By the third month, the employee:
- completes new-hire training
- identifies a mentor (or is given one by the company)
- enrolls in benefits
By the sixth month, the employee:
- completes a performance evaluation with their supervisor
- finishes all training modules
- works independently without supervision
By the ninth month, the employee:
- meets with their mentor to develop goals for year two
- presents to new hires
- performs a self-evaluation
At twelve months, your onboarding process transitions directly into retention and performance management. Investing this much time onboarding employees can create a more engaged and productive workforce.