Getting top-tier talent through the door is quite an effort for many employers today. With the Great Resignation underway, pandemic challenges, evolving employee expectations and more, HR and hiring leaders are eager to get candidates locked in and moving right into their positions. That’s why improving onboarding should be a primary target.
When you have a quality candidate moving through the hiring process, you don’t want to risk them dropping out of the funnel during onboarding. However, onboarding is a consistent challenge for many employers, who may struggle to make the experience engaging and one that adequately introduces candidates to the strengths of the organization’s culture. In fact, nearly half of the employers surveyed by Harvard Business Review in 2019 labeled their onboarding program as “somewhat successful,” with many admitting it needs a significant revamp.
Most employees, unfortunately, remember their onboarding for one thing: the wealth of information that was communicated to them. From the company’s benefits offerings to the chain of command to the person’s future day-to-day responsibilities, there is certainly a lot that new employees need to learn while they’re onboarding—but that doesn’t mean they can’t also have a say in shaping the experience.
When employees feel heard at work, they’re more likely to become invested in the organization, and the same goes for candidates just joining the company. Here are four strategies for strengthening your onboarding process:
Embed your inclusive culture from the start: Even though many companies have built a culture that welcomes and includes all employees, communicating that from the start can be a challenge. If inclusivity is a cornerstone of your culture, show new employees that during onboarding. If they’re meeting leaders and execs, also introduce them to those in charge of your employee resource groups and share how the company values their contributions. In addition to communicating about your internal policies, let new employees know about efforts to tackle issues like racial injustice or poverty in the community and how they can get involved.
Invite feedback: Instead of just piling the information on, create an onboarding experience that includes many pauses to solicit new employee feedback about how it’s going. Use pulse surveys at different points in the process to ask what new employees are enjoying or not enjoying, or where they could use some more direction. In their interactions with their future managers or leaders, ensure new workers are asked frequently for their input—and shown that it’s actually being used.
Build a career roadmap together: During onboarding, supervisors often give new employees lists of their responsibilities, expectations for daily routines and a plan for how they will progress in their role—instead, invite employees to participate in that work. Ask how they would like to structure their days based on the ways in which they work best and have them be the ones taking charge of how they hope to develop in their new position.
Set goals for both the employee and the organization: While new employees should understand what’s expected of them, they should also be confident that their managers and leaders are being held accountable for helping them reach those objectives. Onboarding can be a good time for new employees to learn that the organization is invested in together bringing their goals to fruition.