How to Improve Employee Engagement with a Strong Onboarding Program

Evaluate Your Current Onboarding Process by Asking your Organization These Questions

With intense competition and the need to attract, and keep, new hires, companies are starting to evaluate the way they attract, hire, and train new employees. Organizations are asking themselves how to improve employee engagement from even before a new employee joins the team.

It is critical to put in place a systematic, deliberate onboarding process so that new hires feel more comfortable quicker in their new positions, ready to become strong contributors.

To evaluate your current onboarding process, take the time to reflect on these questions:

  1. What are the objectives of our company’s onboarding process? (List them.)

  2. What is the first impression we want an employee to take with her after the first day?

  3. What do new hires need to know about the company and work environment prior to arriving that first day?

  4. Is our onboarding process separate from orientation? Orientation is the nuts and bolts of a workplace (including some basic training). It’s a necessary process for all employees, but it cannot replace a strategic onboarding process.

  5. What role will the following departments and/or individuals play in a new employee’s onboarding process: human resources, supervisors, other staff and co-workers? Everyone must know what is expected of him or her during an onboarding process.

  6. Will the new hire need a mentor? If so, the mentor needs to know the reach of his role in the new employee’s experience and what, specifically, is required of him (and for how long).

  7. Is our onboarding process individualized? No two employees have the same strengths. UNC Kenan-Flagler assistant professor Bradley Staats reflects on how crucial it is for an onboarding process to be individualized so that the new hire can both identify and apply her authentic strengths.

  8. What are the company’s goals for the employee at the end of the first day, first week, first 30 days and first 90 days? Just as the new hire has expectations, so, too, does each organization. These expectations should be clear to both the organization and new hire.

  9. Is the information I’m giving necessary? Avoid information overload. Go at your new employee’s pace until she’s up to speed. Once and employee feels buried in information, it’s tough to dig her back out. Remember, onboarding is not orientation, it takes time. Give it the time it needs (within reason).

  10. Do I have a solid onboarding evaluation process in place? It is critical to evaluate the onboarding process with both new hires and their supervisors, human resources, and other co-workers and head off employee disconnect at the pass (symptoms are high turnover, negative customer feedback, decreased productivity and communication problems)

Taking the time to evaluate an onboarding process can give structure to a seemingly monstrous task. How to improve employee engagement, then, becomes an essential part of company strategy. Keep it simple. Be systematic, thorough, and reap the benefits of retaining those new hires.

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