The Value of On-Boarding April 1st, 2009
How can you increase employee retention rate, employee morale, and employee productivity? It all starts from the first day of employment. Studies have shown that the first few days on the job are critical for building a new employee’s loyalty to the company by building relationships with co-workers and managers, putting new hires to work immediately amidst the action, and growing his or her interest in the job position.
The on-boarding process can be tedious and monotonous if new employees are restricted to filling out forms and watching training videos in a back room all day. Although some initial paperwork is necessary in the hiring process, immersing the new hire in her or his new job duties may be the most beneficial for long term employment. Hands on training is often described as the most effective method of teaching the new hire with the “sink or swim” attitude in mind. But how do you give the new hire enough training so that he or she will be successful without loosing their interest in the position with paperwork?
As with most dilemmas in life, the key is to find a balance. In the on-boarding process, the main goal of the first few days of employment is to make the new hire feel welcomed and connected. In larger companies this may be more of a challenge, but HR departments have organized employee relations programs such as a buddy system, a welcome package, or pre-arranged personalized amenities for new hires. Even the smallest effort towards personalization of the position for the new employee, such as name plates or business cards, can make an employee feel valued and appreciated as they start his or her new job.
Connecting employees in large organizations can be a challenge, but we have seen a trend of utilizing social media for both internal and external company needs. No matter what the size of the organization, the new trend towards leveraging social media as a means towards building employee relationships is promising as individuals can connect on another level. Rising trends in social media impact include companies that are starting groups on Facebook, tweeting department updates, and making recommendations on LinkedIn. Not only is social media connecting employees, but it is creating transparency for companies and enhancing the branding of company names. Social media training is critical in the on-boarding process, since transparency on the internet is a fine line to walk. Personalization plus professionalism is the key to successful social media use in the corporate environment.
With the most important aspect of the on-boarding process being employee connection to colleagues as well as finding excitement in their work, HR departments have begun to utilize upcoming trends such as social media to engage new employees, but how can HR departments still fulfill their requirement for formal employee contracts, training, and manuals without loosing out on new hire momentum? Both the employee and the employer must keep a realistic understanding of the formal integration of the new hire as required by law to insure accurate pay, benefits, and company procedures. However, the HR department can schedule the formal paperwork at the end of the day, or if the new hire was drowned in paperwork in the morning, schedule a lunch for the new hire to meet with a manager. Although paperwork and training are necessary in the on-boarding process, the main goal to remember is to make the new hire feel involved and excited about the new job.
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