Picture this: you’re 16-years-old and someone hands you the keys to a 2018 Ferrari 488 GTB (I’ll save you the math. This sweet ride costs about a quarter of a million dollars.) Oh, and you’ve never had a driving lesson. So it’s up to you to figure out how to drive this beauty on the road.
This is the stuff of fantasy, right? I mean, who gives someone a quarter of a million dollar investment and then leaves it up to them to figure it out?
This happens every day when managers entrust new hires with the keys to their precious business—it’s profitability, it’s reputation—with little to no formal onboarding.
“88% of workers think the onboarding processes inside their organizations are terrible. This is the first impression that is made between the worker and the organization.” (Gallup’s 2016 State of the American Workplace)
If you care about employee engagement and retention, as well as your brand image, that stat should cause you to slam on the brakes, especially if your approach to welcoming new hires has been “winging it.”
Here are a few possible scenarios that could happen when you fail to onboard your employees properly.
- An employee sitting in her cube the first few days with no email and nothing to do—wasting her time, and your profitability.
- A customer asking multiple new employees for help finding something in your store and no one seems to know where anything is (Ignorance is not always bliss!)
- A new-hire orientation (read: “snooze fest”) where that team member you busted your tail to recruit has signed a mountain of paperwork but walked away with zero enthusiasm for your business. (Chances are he’ll be gone in a few months, just like that new car smell!)
Onboarding is a critical opportunity to fuel your employee’s enthusiasm for what you do from day one. (Trust us, this is a lot harder to do on day sixty-one.)
Hold on to your seats: there’s good news. Sixty-nine percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding. (Society of Human Resource Management Foundation)
Besides increasing retention, here is why onboarding matters:
- A map for success: Getting behind the wheel without Driver’s Ed could result in a ticket, or worse, an accident. Putting your new team member to work without good onboarding increases the likelihood of mistakes, inefficiencies, and frustration. It’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to send new hires off on the right foot rather than retrain them weeks, months, or even years down the road. Besides, what new employee wants to pester their new manager with small questions for weeks on end and what manager has time for that?
- A consistent voice: Whether you step into a Lexus coupe or an SUV, they have built a brand on luxury. Honda has developed a reputation across it’s models for practicality. Similarly, it’s critical that your people learn to speak with a consistent voice. They are your brand ambassadors. Onboarding provides an opportunity for you to educate new team members on your brand identity, your mission, and your processes.
- Buy-In (Not Buyer’s Remorse): Engagement means getting your hires to think of working for your business as more meaningful than just collecting a paycheck. Show your team the unique part they play in driving your business and reaching your destination. Satisfied and successful employees are more likely to stick around for the ride. (Read more about boosting your employee engagement.)
- Rules of the Road: State and federal laws require completed W-4 and I-9 forms, among others. This is in addition to all of the other new hire documentation including acknowledgment of policies. (Here’s a checklist from Balance Small Business to make it easier.) While onboarding means a lot of forms and signatures, it doesn’t have to mean a lot of paper. Our onboarding solution via iSolved provides a paperless, organized workflow where new hires enter all their relevant information, complete forms and prepare for their new career.
Don’t overlook the simple things such as:
- Have a plan for your new hire to have lunch with other members of the team. Eating alone in your cube on the first day does not leave you feel connected and connection is essential for engagement.
- Have all technology, logins, software, and hardware set up and ready to use and block out time for training as technology often varies from business to business.
- Have a training agenda for the first few week. Prepare some tasks that can help your new employee get behind the wheel and feel useful. Anything is better than twiddling your thumbs or watching the clock.
- Likewise, managers should block out time on their calendars to be available to new team members, or have your new server shadow one of the best people on your wait staff for a few shifts.
Employee onboarding is just step one in employee retention. Just like a new car needs service throughout its life to maintain its peak performance, your team needs continued training and inspiration throughout their time with your organization.
Patrick Payroll offers online onboarding within some of its packages. Schedule a time to talk with us if you’d like learn to more about how we can help you tackle your payroll and HR monster.