In an era of remote and hybrid work with new challenges to communicating and connecting, employee retention has become a major issue, and strong employee onboarding has become even more important.
These challenges begin on day one — which is why hiring managers are turning their attention to new hire processes. But it’s not just hiring managers — departments and even whole companies are putting a communal effort to drive connection. Three in 5 employees consider leaving their job over a lack of connection.
Employee onboarding is the definitive point in time where a new employee may either become completely engaged in the company or completely disengaged.
Let’s first analyze exactly what goes into an onboarding — and then break down why each aspect of employee onboarding is important.
What is Employee Onboarding, and Why Is Employee Onboarding Important?
Onboarding is the process of integrating new hires into an organization through orientation activities. These activities seek to inform employees about the company structure, culture, vision, and values as well as the employee’s role and responsibilities.
During onboarding, employers train new employees on their new role. This includes familiarizing them with their digital or in-office environment, colleagues, and workflows to ensure long-term success.
“The onboarding and preboarding process is a bridge between the candidate experience and the employee experience, and it needs to be equally great. It needs to encompass the story of your company.” -Greg Russell, Head of Talent, Heirloom, Panel Discussion at HR Transform 2022
Employee onboarding's importantance can be seen by its effects on company culture. 87% of engaged employees are less likely to leave their company. Additionally, 20% of turnover occurs in the first 45 days. This suggests that initial welcoming to a company can be the defining factor for employee longevity.
A poor onboarding experience can make new hires second guess themselves; Was this the right job to take? Did I make a mistake?
Reinforcing your employee onboarding with well-planned documents, tasks, and activities can make all the difference.
Employee Onboarding for Hybrid and Remote Employees by Department
Employee onboarding is multi-faceted: documentation, communication platforms, workflow practices, check ins, employee transparency, and review of workplace nitty-gritty.
Many companies complete new employee onboarding checklists with daily to-dos as new hires navigate larger and larger tasks in a new environment. While Day One may be watching introduction videos and reading stats, facts and stories, Day Twenty-One could be completion of a job-specific task. This evolution is possible only with dedicated attention to onboarding programs that gradually catch employees up to speed… in a way that keeps their mental health, well-being, and success in mind.
For remote employees, the onboarding process is significantly more difficult. Without face-to-face communication or physical interactions, it’s increasingly difficult to form connections with coworkers or feel like you’ve adjusted at all. GenZ employees are especially feeling this disconnect — alienating young talent.
Onboarding New Employees as a Hiring Manager
New hires need an authentic description of their duties in every job description. Nearly 30% of BambooHR’s onboarding survey participants reported leaving a job within the first six months because the work was different from what they expected based on the interview.
Because remote workers can’t necessarily visit an office, hiring managers could have a difficult time assessing culture fit. Set the right expectations.
Be Genuine When Describing Company Culture
Company culture affects social interactions, hours worked, and many unspoken expectations with regards to work-life balance. And it’s okay that these diverse workplaces have diverse company cultures. Talk about the parts of your company culture that genuinely resonate with you the most.
Sharpen your communication skills to understand departmental needs.
You need to understand exactly what type of new hire a department is hoping for. This requires the objective query limitations, like job range, level of education, or years of experience. It also includes cultural fit and workflow fit.
Onboarding New Employees as a Departmental Lead
As the department lead, you seek to run a team that’s more close-knit. While you worked with the hiring manager on finding the perfect fit, it’s important to note that finding the right candidate is just the beginning of a journey.
Some managers forget a new hire might not be feeling welcome by default. It takes a curated effort to create connections and bonds for your new teammate. Onboarding could include one-on-one meetings, a peer mentor, daily to-dos, frequent check ins, and new-hire activities like a lunch or swag-filled welcome kit.
Onboarding New Employees as a Company-wide Activity
Onboarding employees as a company is reflected primarily in culture. It’s the day-to-day aspects of the workplace that condition new hires on expectations and peer interactions. In addition to new hires feeling confused, it’s even possible that long-term employees are still learning the ropes — if insufficient onboarding was in place upon their hiring.
Onboarding on a company-wide scale ensures everyone is aligned towards a common goal. It also helps larger companies to encourage social events where every team is invited, allowing for cross-functional friendships.
Onboarding Reduces Employee Turnover & Improves Productivity
Mass quitting and high levels of turnover are the new normal over the last few years. However, this opens a new opportunity: The Great Acceptance. Companies willing to step up to the plate and raise workplace standards are becoming hotspots for talent.
Good onboarding reduces employee turnover by setting new hires up for success. All retention is rooted in this onboarding, but not just for the new hire. Tenured employees also run the risk of becoming frustrated if new hires disrupt workflows due to a “sink-or-swim” onboarding style.
One reason for putting the importance on onboarding is how it affects employees’ productivity.
Aberdeen found that 66% of companies with proper onboarding had a higher rate of assimilation for new hires — and 62% with higher productivity ratios.
In addition to equipping team members with the skills and info needed to thrive, employee onboarding is also the first source of genuine connection.
Elements of an Effective Employee Onboarding Process
There are many elements that make up an effective onboarding process. Let’s take a look at the core values you should keep in mind when coordinating a new hire’s plan.
Use Clear Structure & Standardization
New employees will feel more confident in a role when structures are well defined. Company policy, benefit, workflow, and culture materials shouldn’t be disorganized or outdated. Instead, show the new hire that your team prioritizes effective communication and documentation.
Start with Connection & Socialization
Having a friend at work or feeling a sense of belonging is key for all employees, not just your new hires. Onboarding with built-in social activities allows new hires to more comfortably adjust to the new workplace. This might include having a new hire group lunch or get-together.
Offer Access to Mentorship
To go above and beyond with new hire socialization, try offering a peer mentor. Workplace mentors are an effective best practice for onboarding because they give new hires access to anecdotal knowledge. Avoid information silos, ask for ongoing feedback, and give your workplace a culture of shared wisdom for successful employees.
Employees that can ask for help or clarification when they need it are more likely to be confident in their workplace. Ask many questions, and encourage new hires to ask questions as well. Open communication calms fears and opens dialogue, preventing problems down the line.
Use Wisq as Part of Your Best Practices for Employee Onboarding
With Wisq, you bring employee interaction online without losing the authenticity of face-to-face hangouts. Coworkers can hop into audio rooms, join employee resource groups, or scroll through an AI-powered, hang-tailored feed of company posts. With Wisq, employees are not just free to be themselves, but encouraged to be themselves, socialize and have fun.
Remove the alienation that comes with starting a new job by making Wisq part of your onboarding experience — and beyond. Try it now for free.