Onboarding is a company’s first opportunity to make a great impression on new employees. Typically, onboarding is considered finished once an employee has gone through some sort of orientation followed by a training course or program, depending on the company.
In common understanding “onboarding” and “orientation” tend to be considered the same thing, although they are different. Onboarding is the entire process a new employee undergoes upon hire including training and formality processes like orientation. Orientation is an introduction or “crash course” in the new company and a glimpse into the role a new hire will be taking.
To make your onboarding more successful overall, and to propel your new employees into a successful role, we’ve come up with these nine ideas to improve your company onboarding process.
- Be sure you’re differentiating “onboarding” from “orientation”. As I mentioned above, onboard and orientation are not the same thing though companies often treat them as such. A crash course orientation that replaces a strong onboarding program is a sure fire way to create unprepared and overwhelmed employees. Make sure you understand the difference and execute with respect to their purposes.
- Harness your employees’ inherent strengths. During onboarding, make sure you take the time to discover and understand your employees’ natural talents and strengths. Once you do, use their unique talent to your advantage.
- Develop a mentorship system. Mentors can be a great way for a new employee to get settled in more quickly and to have someone other than the manager to ask questions of and get acclimated to the company. Assign a mentor to every new employee, then rotate through as new employees join the force.
- Use social media groups. Try a LinkedIn or Facebook group to encourage your employees to collaborate and share ideas, even when they aren’t in the office. Starting a group helps your new employees feel like they are a part of something bigger and that they can access someone when they need to.
- Simply avoid information overload. During onboarding, trainers tend to dump loads of information, all of which is important to the job, onto the new employees. This is both intimidating and overwhelming for a new employee and isn’t a best practice of training. Try to break up the information into bite-size chunks that are digestible and practical for your learners.
- Designate an appropriate period of time. Piggy-backing off of the last bullet, often times employers set unrealistic time constraints for onboarding to be completed. This only leads to rushing and not fully grasping the information. Be realistic and designate an appropriate and practical amount of time for onboarding.
- Make it interactive. Interactivity intertwined with traditional training tactics is a good way to keep your program fresh and interesting. Collaboration, use of technology and other interactive elements make onboarding a much smoother (and more fun!) process.
- Gauge effectiveness with metrics and reporting. Having the ability to track, measure and report the effectiveness of your onboarding program is helpful in proving training ROI. Additionally, it helps to prove that your learners were engaged and improved from the training course.
- Keep it personal and social. After you understand your learners’ strengths and weaknesses, you can start to tailor your training program and onboarding process to them. Make it personal and individualize as much as possible. This will help your learners get a better understanding of their value and place in the company.
It’s time to think of onboarding in a fresh way! Use these ideas to make sure your onboarding process is smooth, beneficial for employees, and overall, a successful baseboard for growth.
Sources: “11 Ways to Improve Your Onboarding Program,” by Chad Halvorson, wheniwork.com.