By Brenna Chambliss
If onboarding is chaotic and confusing, you run the risk of new hires thinking that’s what their new job is going to be like, too.
Instead, the best onboarding processes aren’t rushed; they are holistic and thoughtfully planned. Building a team aligned with your company’s culture, passionate about your purpose and dedicated to achieving your goals takes time.
But when done well, successful onboarding reaps benefits for the whole team. Here are three things to consider when onboarding new employees:
1. Great onboarding fosters connection and community.
Connecting new hires with coworkers should be an essential piece of onboarding. A connected team collaborates better and tends to be more engaged, which creates brand ambassadors for the company and increases retention.
At KWI, we appoint each new hire a “buddy” to answer questions, offer encouragement and help introduce the new employee to other people across the company. We’ve also started onboarding new hires in groups to allow them to build relationships with each other from the beginning. From company-sponsored group lunches to welcome bags with company swag, we work to ensure new team members feel connected to KWI from day one.
2. Onboarding new employees well can save your company money.
Let’s talk about the bottom line. While rushing through a chaotic onboarding process may save time in the short-term, it actually wastes time, money and resources in the long-term. Instead, think about onboarding as an investment.
If you rush through onboarding, your new hire will likely make more mistakes and take longer to reach proficiency in their new role due to a lack of knowledge and context, not to mention the lost time you’ll have to spend retraining them down the line.
Plus, there’s a chance the new hire won’t feel successful or cared for by the company during a rushed onboarding experience, which could lead to early turnover – an expensive problem a poor onboarding system only perpetuates. On the flip side, companies with strong onboarding systems improve employee retention by 82%.
3. Preparing an onboarding process sets everyone up for success.
Onboarding typically involves two phases: introducing the new hire to the company as a whole and training them on the specifics of their new role.
Understanding the critical role onboarding plays in building and nurturing a strong community, we start by covering our culture. We walk employees through an overview of our internal resources and processes. As KWI’s Culture Manager, I lead this portion of our onboarding program, teaching employees the ins and outs of who we are and how we do things. For a well-rounded view of KWI, we also build in several opportunities for new hires to hear from employees, leaders and departments across the company.
Phase two is when a new employee’s manager takes over. For many managers onboarding is a daunting task, especially if there are no clear paths or steps. Providing managers with a structured framework, resources (such as checklists and templates) and clear expectations gives them a path forward and alleviates stress. As a bonus, helping the manager successfully onboard their new hire ensures a smooth process for the employee, too.
When it comes down to it, a great onboarding program communicates to your new hires three critical things:
- We have prepared for you.
- We are excited for you to be here.
- We want you to be successful.
Company growth requires thoughtful preparation to meet the needs of a growing team. And while that requires work, it also promises opportunities for a richer culture and greater collective success as you facilitate connections and empower your community.
Approach onboarding with an investment mindset and update processes as you grow by gathering feedback along the way.
In doing this, you can create a strong, successful onboarding program that trains, retains and builds connections among an outstanding team.
Interested in talking more about how an intentional onboarding strategy can positively impact community, culture and your company’s bottom line? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.