As the saying goes - “First impressions count” and nowhere is that more true than when starting a job. No doubt you’ve experienced it for yourself - the first-day jitters as you eagerly try to be your best self in front of your new colleagues.
But what about the first impression that you make as an employer?
In the current climate, it’s more important than ever for organizations to invest in their employee onboarding. Yet all too often it’s an area that’s overlooked by businesses. Indeed, research from Gallup found that just 12% of employees agree their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees.
That’s even more shocking when you consider that the benefits of effective onboarding extend far beyond making a good first impression, as organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.
So what can you do to ensure that your onboarding is effectively increasing employee engagement and reaping the benefits for your business? Here are some top tips and best practices to help you create a great first impression with new hires.
There can be a sizeable gap between an employee accepting an offer and starting the job. This communications dead zone can be a significant source of anxiety for new hires, but more importantly, it sends completely the wrong message about your organization. If you want your new hires to feel engaged then take the time to contact them ahead of their start date. Maybe it’s an email from HR letting them know what to expect on their first day, or a call with their manager to get them up to speed, it could even be a relaxed video call to help them get to know their new colleagues. Whatever you decide, the key is to make your new hires feel welcome so that you can take away as much of the uncertainty around starting their role as possible.
No one likes to feel like a spare part on their first day. But at the same time, it’s not fair to throw your new hires in at the deep end - overloading them with information and activities that lead to stress and confusion. That’s why carefully planning what your new hire’s first day will look like is so important. A well-defined agenda can help to remove confusion and create a positive experience. It also helps to give their early days structure, ensuring that both the new employee and the rest of their team, know how they will fit into the bigger picture.
For best results make sure you share this agenda with new hires and their colleagues ahead of time. That way you can help to remove some of those first day nerves, set expectations and create an environment where talent can thrive from day one.
The best way to breed success among new hires is to show them what a high performing employee looks like. Pick some of your model team members to act as mentors for new starters. This not only helps to set expectations but it also gives them a familiar face that they can turn to if they have any questions or need support. A buddy system can also help newcomers to integrate socially, embedding them within your company culture and helping them to feel at home in their new surroundings.
For an onboarding program to be effective, you should proactively empower your employees by setting them early tasks that they can achieve from day one in the job. Setting short term goals can create quick wins that help to fuel confidence in their ability to deliver, as well as providing you with an invaluable opportunity to offer tangible feedback on what they did and didn’t do well while meeting those goals.
Communicating your company culture with new hires is vital. So make sure that you take the time to share your vision, mission and core values with them - so that they can see how they fit into the bigger picture. When an employee understands the purpose of their role and how they can contribute to the greater good, it creates a roadmap for success that they can follow. This will create a strong sense of purpose and meaning in the workplace, helping to make your employee’s work-life more fulfilling while, at the same time, building a high-performance culture.
Celebrating success can be an incredibly powerful tool for boosting employee engagement. By using an employee rewards and recognition platform like BucketList you can acknowledge your new hires’ contributions and help them to feel right at home in their new role. You could even set up custom rewards so that their early achievements are shared among the entire organization, or encourage peer-to-peer feedback which helps them to integrate with their colleagues.
One of the most effective resources you have to improve your onboarding process are your employees themselves. Collecting feedback from new candidates via a survey can be a great way of finding out what you’re doing well and where there’s room for improvement. It’s also an excellent way to make your employees feel valued.
Download our Onboarding Survey Template below to help guide you on gathering the right feedback for improvements and new onboarding ideas.
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