A dynamic onboarding experience helps increase engagement and retention
How long until does it take a new hire to fully integrate into your team/organisation? A great onboarding experience is critical in order to engage, retain new hires and get them up to speed.
Organisations can lose up to 25% of all new employees in the first year due to poor onboarding and integration.
Unfortunately, many organisations still don’t take their employee onboarding activities that seriously. They often just end up as a “glorified” data dump, if done at all. Many managers just avoid it altogether as it is seen as expensive, or it takes up too much time of their time. Spending a week filling in reams of paperwork, attending lectures on “company values” and scanning an employee manual does not make for an effective onboarding programme. Too many onboarding programmes are a data dump versus a supportive programme which helps new hires integrate in the critical first few weeks.
In addition, we now access and digest information in different ways. Today’s workforce is used to receiving instant information on their smart phones or engaging with social media that is customised to their preferences. Gone are the days where we can afford (the time, money or attention) to put new hires through a week of laborious lectures.
The QUEST onboarding experience
Question current knowledge
Asking questions and testing understanding before training can quickly identify gaps in knowledge as well as areas of interest. Beginning with this approach also helps prioritise the information for maximum impact. Many interviews involve culture and value questions and as such new hires would already have an understanding of these. Testing understanding of organisational values, processes etc. can help the onboarding team identify the new hire’s current understanding and where potential gaps are.
Understand the individual
Take the time to understand their priorities. What are they most interested in, start with these areas and then move on to additional information. (for some the commission structure is a priority, whereas for others they want to know about the organisation’s flexible leave programme). Is there information that would help them now? (for someone new to an area knowing the best route into work may be invaluable, whereas for others the application process for childcare vouchers may have a higher priority). How do they prefer to learn (digital, hard copy or from colleagues)? Show them how to access additional information as they need it (through your online portal, or identify members of their team that would be willing to share helpful information)
Give them the information that is most important to them, or of greatest interest to them first. Ask their understanding of concepts – e.g. what an organisational value means to them, then share examples of the value in action within the organisation. They will still get the same information, but by prioritising the information based on their needs and interests, we ensure we have their full attention. We tend to listen out for the information that matters most to us, but may miss key information as we filter out the information that has a lower priority.
Share business stories, analogies and processes to help them navigate the organisation. Get team members to share their first few weeks stories. What they wish they’d known and encourage questions from the new hires. Having colleagues share their experiences helps build rapport and makes the concepts more tangible and practical (e.g. how the values are lived each day.)
Track what works, what does not and the impact of tweaks to your onboarding programme over time. Do certain adjustments make a significant difference to your retention rate over time? How does the programme impact initial performance reviews?
Question, Understand, Engage, Share, Track
An Onboarding experience is not an event, but a process.
The QUEST onboarding process can be automated with surveys sent out before the new hires start. This process can be used for individuals and groups. The data from the surveys helps the onboarding team/manager create a customised agenda for the individual/team. In the case of a team group sessions and individual sessions can be identified and scheduled. The surveys and programme should be broken down into chunks and spread over the first few months. This enables relevant knowledge to be shared and continuous learning.
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