If you have been active on LinkedIn recently, you’ve probably noticed an increasing number of posts by people who have just started a new job and are sharing photos of their desk on the very first day. These posts most likely have a caption showing lots of excitement and enthusiasm, a laptop, tablet, and/or mobile phone that are ready to go, and some cool company swag, which often is personalized.
I must say that I’ve welcomed this trend. These desk pics shed some light on something that is very important to every organization, but is often overlooked and underestimated: onboarding in a new role.
These desk snaps and captions are great examples of a highly positive employee experience, an important goal for many organizations. A well-structured onboarding achieves much more than creating happier employees with high morale: it impacts the company’s bottom line.
The employee experience
There’s a lot that can be done with onboarding, but here are some of the best practices from the companies I have worked with.
1. Make the most of the period between the signed offer and the first day (i.e., preboarding)
The first days in a new company and role can be overwhelming. However, they can be eased by utilizing the time between the acceptance offer and the first day in the role. This includes:
- Providing information about the company, the role, their new colleagues, and even how to get there on the first day.
- Having all necessary new-hire forms completed before the first day to decrease stress during the first week.
- Sharing preliminary learning materials is appropriate for certain roles. Ambitious fresh graduates in entry-level positions, for instance, often welcome the opportunity to do advance learning to make the best possible start to their careers.
2. Get first day logistics right
This is where the desk pics come from. Having the workspace and tools ready in advance makes a tremendous difference. The key things for an organization to nail include timeliness, preparation, and personalization, all wrapped up with a human touch.
3. Assign a formal buddy
Depending on the company and the role, there can be many details, structures, and systems to learn when getting started. Formally assigning a buddy to help the new hire navigate that jungle makes a world of difference. It also takes the anxiety out of asking for help if you know who to ask when you have questions, rather than feeling like you’re bothering your new colleagues.
4. Set milestones and solicit feedback
In a good onboarding process, new employees are clear about the onboarding structure and understand how they will be held accountable for completing the different steps. This will increase engagement and help identify any potential red flags. During the onboarding process, feedback should be regularly exchanged among the new employee, the formal buddy, and the hiring manager.
The bottom line
Taking care of the employee experience is touted for producing high employee engagement and a great brand, but it’s greatest importance is its huge impact on a company’s bottom line. There are numerous ways that onboarding affects the bottom line; here are four major ones:
- Reducing time to productivity. Organizations with a standard onboarding process realize 50% greater new hire productivity. This one should be a no-brainer: the faster a new hire can get the formalities out of the way; become familiar with colleagues, processes, systems, and tools; and complete the necessary learning, the faster he or she will be able to do the real work that creates value for the organization.
- Retaining top talent. Employees are 69% are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding. This also falls into the no-brainer category. No matter how great a fit a person is for a role, first impressions are everything. If employees have a horrible experience at the beginning of their journey, they most likely won’t stay with the employer for very long. The average cost of replacing an employee is between 16% and 20% of their salary, so it’s important to retain people after they reach productivity.
- Reducing the administrative burden. A good onboarding process reduces the time HR teams and hiring managers spend sending out forms, making sure they are completed correctly, and chasing down new hires to turn in (or correct) their paperwork. Standardizing onboarding also decreases the time and effort that would otherwise be spent “reinventing the wheel” every time someone new comes on board.
- Ensuring compliance. With manual processes, it doesn’t take much to miss a form, overlook a background check, fail to document a certificate, or not complete a mandatory training. Each of these results in non-compliance, which can be disastrous and costly for organizations.
So, whenever you see someone post a first-day desk snap, keep in mind that organizations who get onboarding right create a lot more than mere short-term excitement and happiness for new hires.
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