The onboarding process can be quite busy and overwhelming for a new hire. Many will say that HR should focus on getting forms and requirements completed, and not worry so much about how a new employee “fits in to the culture” on the very first day. However, no matter how much needs to be discussed, workplace culture should be incorporated into every aspect of onboarding activities.
If your recruiting team has been on point with the candidate from the beginning of the process and has built a relationship from the onset, this will help provide a seamless transition from “candidate” to “new hire”, all while demonstrating culture and work environment.
The connection you form with candidates carries through to new hire mode. So, while it’s necessary to complete applications and forms, and begin benefit enrollment, it’s equally important to share and provide information on culture and expectations.
Don’t hold back. Surprises are fun for gifts or birthday parties, but surprises during the recruiting or onboarding process is a sure-fire way to miss out on teaching opportunities and may keep you from closing the deal with your talented candidate…or watch them slip out the door after onboarding.
Start with Technology
If you incorporate the right HR systems and technology into your onboarding strategy, you’ll find that efficiency, learning and engagement will increase. A successful tool can help drive employee engagement from Day One through the entire employee life cycle. Leveraging technology will free up your teams, allowing them to spend more time cultivating employee relationships and providing regular feedback, which in turn helps to link the new hire to your culture.
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Marlene Ergen, Employment Manager of Human Resources, College of Saint Benedict Saint John’s University, shares the following: “It's nice to be able to give the new employee information before they start. They are excited to get started and learn more about us."
Use technology to teach. Use it to expand your goals and vision. Use it to link employees to the corporate culture you’ve worked hard to create and maintain. Technology enables us to be consistent. Your managers may not always be the most consistent or transparent (they’re human and are still learning!), but technology can help keep everyone connected.
Follow Through on Feedback
Think your onboarding process is effective? Are you really sharing what’s important to your new hire? Who has a say in what’s taught or what the messaging should include? Have you asked employees what they thought of the process and what they would change? Research has shown that employees want to feel connected on their first day. Asking the right questions of former onboarding cohorts may shed light on a potential change in direction or messaging.
Keep this in mind: If your onboarding program is based on logistics and paperwork, you’re going to find a very bored, un-engaged new hire group that’s questioning their choice to join your firm. Instead, new hires are anxious to learn about how they are connected with the big picture. How do they fit in to the company culture and how will they help to elevate your brand and share your vision, mission and goals?
These new employees are your new brand ambassadors. Teach them about the organization, but show them how they fit in and how they’ll make a difference. You want them to be onboarded with a full understanding of what it means to work there and with renewed excitement to return the next day. You want them leaving with smiles, and sharing their first day stories with friends and family.
Demonstrate by Example
We are often quite busy and may fall short on our responsibilities to lead, guide and mentor those around us. Build in a “fail safe” using the right technology, the right buddy system, and the right onboarding program. To be consistent in our efforts to incorporate culture in to everything we do, we need to ensure it is demonstrated everywhere.
Teaching and sharing culture is not just the responsibility of one person nor should it be handled entirely by technology. You have many tools available to you to ensure culture is present and in action at all times. Be sure to find what works for your organization. Ask questions. Find out what your employees are talking about, what they’re saying, and make adjustments if the sentiments are not in line with what it should be.
Integrate culture into onboarding. As you increasingly integrate culture, it will not only be talked about consistently but will be seen through actions and the expressions on the faces of your employees.
What has your office culture done to establish culture during the onboarding process?
Let us know in the comments!