In a recent webinar about onboarding tips to engage new hires, 4 Point Consulting associates shared their wisdom in regards to instilling company culture from day one. Here are a few of the questions from the webinar, as well as answers from our HR and talent acquisition experts.
What are the key milestones in the onboarding sequence that matter? Are there any that HR tends to miss or forget?
Onboarding is commonly thought of to be a process that begins somewhere around an employee’s first day with a new company. However, to truly build retention from day one, an organization will need to change its onboarding timeline to begin as soon as a potential hire becomes aware of the company itself. What a business conveys about itself across social media, its website, etc. will all impact how that future employee will interact with the brand. These opinions will be there on the first day and every day after that.
What fun, innovative or interactive activities have you incorporated to make onboarding more enjoyable and reflective of your culture?
Integrating an experiential ‘human element’ to the on-boarding process is vital — think of the new employee as a ‘culture add,’ not a ‘culture fit.’ To make the new hire truly feel like part of the team, include as many employees as possible. (Even if it’s just a team lunch.) Consider adding a video or unique materials that capture the essence of the company to showcase how important the workforce is to overall success.
Another way to assist a new employee in getting acclimated to the team is to create a volunteer-based buddy or mentor/mentee system. This provides the person with a point of contact for questions that may seem small but can actually be a source of anxiety for a new hire. (“Are these coffee mugs for everyone?”) When assigning a mentor, keep these things in mind:
- Personality and communication style
- Department location (a mentor will ideally be located in a different department)
- Hierarchy (a manager should be mentored by another manager, an associate with another associate)
- Context and commonalities (pairing a well-established individual in the field with someone right out of college isn’t an ideal fit.)
How do you measure the effectiveness of cultural onboarding?
While this metric can be more difficult to obtain than traditional measurements, there key areas in which to pay attention. For new hires, continue to check in periodically to garner feedback on their experience. Ask what they liked about their orientation process and if it met their expectations. Look for observable behaviors and pay attention to how the individual talks about the company (e.g. using words like ‘we’ instead of ‘they.’) As an employee progresses in their tenure, periodic surveys can be used to gather valuable feedback. Consider even making these surveys anonymous to encourage more genuine answers.
A long-term method of measuring company culture is reviewing turnover and how the number of employees impacts revenue growth. For example, divide revenue from a profitable point in the company’s fiscal year by the number of employees during that period. Compare that number to more current calculations to gather a broad overview of how workforce size correlates with business growth.
How do you welcome new hires to the company and make them feel like part of the team from day one?
Welcoming an employee to the company is a fun and exciting time, but it can also be extremely overwhelming to the new hire. A welcome email and an onboarding booklet on their desk with answers to simple questions like how to contact the IT department is an ideal place to begin. Consider also adding swag like a coffee mug or water bottle with the company logo for a more branded experience.
To truly make a new hire feel like part of the team from day one, a company should consider abolishing the probation period. In doing so, all insurance and retirement savings plan would be rendered effective on the hire’s first day. In addition to being a cultural tool, this initiative would also act as a strong recruiting tool.