When it comes to new starters, some companies adopt a policy of sink or swim. 44’s Junior Editor Zoe Wilkinson explains why if you don’t onboard your new colleagues properly, your company might have to walk the plank…
If you introduce new starters to your company properly, then research shows they’ll stay longer, be more engaged and become productive team members more quickly. The process even has a fancy, modern new name: ‘onboarding’.
To stick with the ship analogy, where an orientation is just a walk around the deck, the aim of onboarding is to make you feel like one of the crew and get you excited and ready for your first voyage. Training is what gives you the skills to actually weigh anchor and get the ship moving. But there’s much more to settling in than getting your intranet login details.
Recruitment can be time-consuming and expensive, so when you find the right person you want to be sure they’ll have the best start possible, get up to speed quickly and stick around to make their mark.Getting new colleagues invested in your company makes them happier, more productive, and more likely to have a positive impact on your business. But it’s not necessarily easy. HR leaders consider culture and engagement their number-one challenge. And Millennials, known perhaps best for their obsession with avocados and the tendency to move around to seek gratification, are looking for companies that align with their values, commitments and aims.
They’re important, too. Millennials now make up the biggest portion of the workforce and even hold about 20 per cent of all leadership roles – a proportion that will only increase. This will continue to make a company’s core values feature even more strongly in their internal comms. So, are you rising to the challenge to get your new colleagues settled, comfortable and really understanding who you are?
As a Millennial who, I’ll admit it, loves avocados and is involved in welcoming our newest members of the team, here are my top tips when it comes to onboarding. And as company culture is so important, I’m going to do it through 44’s values:
Nobody’s expecting you to be best pals with your new employee, but being honest, open and trusting with them will make you a great friend – even if you’re not heading to the pub together every Friday. Have those hard conversations about how they’re doing, because they will be worth the pain in the long run. And if that means admitting that maybe this particular role isn’t for them, that’s okay too.
Make sure your new teammates know everything they need to about your business. But also be aware of what they can bring to the table. You’ve just gained a valuable source of outside information – someone with different experiences, new information and a fresh take on how you operate. Use their opinions to have a second look at your own processes, and improve them.
A company’s values should be more than words written on a piece of paper. So show people what you believe in and how you work – don’t just tell them.
And don’t be afraid to get creative during the induction process. For example, you could embrace gamification and create an induction game or app.
Put the effort in, because you’ll be left with an engaged, valuable employee. If you don’t nurture new starters, there may not be rewards to reap later. Use constant communication, feedback, and positive performance measurement to help them grow quickly in your company.
Onboarding isn’t one person’s responsibility. Your new colleague is joining a team – so they should be welcomed by a team!
According to a CareerBuilder report, 60% of employees feel that skills will be learned on the job, but 49% of employers feel that training is an equal responsibility of employees and employers. Either way, your team has a lot of knowledge to share.
Knowledge and skills will develop with time, but the atmosphere in your workplace is what’s going to make the greatest first impression on your new starters – so why not make it a good one?