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Cindy Solomon

Onboard Your Employees Like You Want Them to Stay Forever (Because You Do!)


So it’s obvious that a solid onboarding process makes good business sense. But make no mistake, though; an effective onboarding process is not about having them sign some forms and tossing them an employee manual.

Here are four elements to help you crush the onboarding process.

Begin onboarding BEFORE Day One.

I repeat, all that crazy paperwork is not onboarding. It’s just the painful administration of starting a new job.  So why not have them complete it before they step foot in your office so you can really make Day One count?

And then go one step further: Don’t just send them a pile of boring forms; remember that today’s cutthroat environment means your employees are constantly being wooed — and that even goes for your soon-to-be-employees, who might still be being pursued by other companies.

So take the opportunity to reinforce that they made a great choice by sending a “pre-employee” package of your company’s mission, culture and values. Of course, we’re not talking a dry annual report. Think fun, exciting and engaging, with a “best-of” collection of videos, links and social media posts.  

While you’re at it, give them an overview of the tools your organization relies on, whether it’s the Microsoft suite or a productivity tool like Asana, with online tutorials to familiarize them with some of your processes, along with the “why” behind them.

Sure, not everyone is going to do the lifting before they hit Day One, but many will, so give them a jump start so you can get to the real work faster.

Make new hires part of the team from the start.

Onboarding should create active engagement between the entire team, including connecting your existing employees to the new hire’s success. So before their new colleague’s Day One, share a little about their experience and their new role, so the team understands where they fit.

And then once they’ve started, get social – we’re talking lunches, ice-breakers, cross-functional meetings, shadowing, mentoring, etc. Find a great mix of activities that will help forge those interpersonal relationships that will lead to true engagement

Remember it’s all about the manager.

Yes, you are driving this process, and it’s going to take a decent time investment upfront to ensure the new employee doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Plan to dedicate several hours those first few weeks to meet with the employee to answer questions, set expectations and celebrate wins. The payoff will come when you engage that new employee at full throttle right out of the gate.

Look to the future.

It’s easy for new employees to get in the weeds and not have a clear picture of how they will fit into the organization. That’s why savvy managers spend time looking at how their new team member will be able to contribute down the road.

Set up benchmarks and action plans with an eye toward a plan something like this:

After 30 days, your employee will:

  • Know the team
  • Understand the company’s culture and values
  • Feel confident with tools and processes

After 60 days, your employee will:

  • Feel successful with big projects
  • Handle processes like a pro
  • Clearly see how their role fits into the larger company goals

After 90 days, your employee will:

  • Handle projects independently
  • Feel confident they are making valuable contributions
  • Be fully integrated into the team
  • See their long-term responsibilities

What onboarding best practices does your company use to help employees be successful faster? What’s different about virtual onboarding and can we make that just as effective? I’d love it if you’d share below.  

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