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4 Ways to Take Your Onboarding to the Next Level

This was originally posted on on November 6, 2018.

How To Improve Your Onboarding Process

There are common onboarding pain points that are felt by many – even most – organizations. Paperwork, boredom, information overload, cultural and role confusion, and lack of personal interaction all have an impact on the new hire experience. And since 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experience great onboarding, the traditional approach to onboarding needs improvement.

Thankfully, there are new ways of organizing and executing onboarding that can vastly improve the orientation process. Making it not only more efficient but also more interesting, relevant, and successful. Here are four ways to take your onboarding to the next level.

1. Engage In Preboarding

Preboarding includes any interaction with the new hire from the time they accept the position to the time they start working. Since employee engagement is part of job satisfaction and company loyalty, why not begin that engagement as soon as possible? These interactions can be incredibly valuable for many reasons. Here are a few beneficial ways to utilize preboarding:

  • Communicate regularly with the soon-to-be employee to prevent uncertainty, nervousness, or ambivalence.
  • Complete administrative tasks (tax forms, benefit forms) during preboarding, so more important tasks can be completed during onboarding.
  • Connect the new hire with their team and other co-workers, so they feel more familiar with the people and culture on day one.
  • Provide the new hire with company information and what to expect during their first day, week, etc. so they are better prepared.

2. Focus On The Employee More Than The Company

Traditional onboarding has a company focus – it’s about introducing the employee to the company, sharing the history, introducing executives, and urging employees to commit to company values. While this sort of indoctrination has been seen as a way to retain employees, it can actually create tension. More important than having the employee accepting the organizational culture is focusing on personal strengths new hires can apply to their job.

Consider Wipro, who’s new employee-focused onboarding program does just that – it emphasizes the individual strengths of employees. As a result, new hires were as much as 32% less likely to quit than those who had participated in company-focused onboarding.

3. Assign Each New Hire A Mentor

Organizations with successful onboarding programs are supplementing with mentoring. When new hires are assigned mentors, they are given a starting point to build relationships, an available contact for questions, and a human element that can sometimes be missing from the orientation process.

Because mentoring can result in lower output for the mentor, technology-based mentoring can be a useful way to make communication quick and easy. Utilizing software, video, online collaborative groups, and other digital tools allows the mentoring process to be more efficient, cost-effective, and flexible.

4. Be Innovative

Implementing new methods for onboarding can make a program more efficient and more exciting. Virtual workplace walkthroughs, microlearning training, gamification, introductory webinars, and onboarding social media groups are among some of the popular ways to be innovative with onboarding.

One of the most important innovations in today’s world is mobile-friendly onboarding. Since so many of us are used to having information at our fingertips, having training available on our devices is not only more appealing than onboarding meetings but also makes onboarding easier to manage for both the new hire and the organization. Consider the following ways these tools can impact the onboarding process:

  • They can manage documents your new hire needs to begin work, removing much of the administrative work.
  • They can provide different content for different roles, so only relevant information is reviewed.
  • They can make tasks and deadlines more clear and accessible.
  • They can organize learning in a more fluid and intuitive way.

With onboarding being as crucial as it is to the success of new hires, it is worth the effort it takes to create an engaging, welcoming, accessible, and efficient onboarding program. With the help of these ideas for taking onboarding to the next level, you can support your employees as they acclimate to your culture, learn their responsibilities, and find their place in the organization.

What methods and techniques have you found to be successful for your company’s onboarding process?