• February 3, 2016

How to Create an Effective Onboarding Program for New Hires

How to Create an Effective Onboarding Program for New Hires

It’s a new employee’s first day on the job, and contrary to start-up convention, proper onboarding does not just mean providing him/her with a brand new iPad and an abundance of swag to represent the company. New employee onboarding is the single most important thing you can do to ensure the long term success of not only that employee, but your company overall. Companies that implement strong onboarding processes have significantly better employee retention, employee satisfaction, and overall productivity levels. If you are the type of person that looks for hard numbers to justify programs, check out this infographic to see just how much improper onboarding can cost an organization.

The Society for Human Resource Management, one of the largest HR membership organizations, put together an excellent guideline series on maximizing success during new employee onboarding. While the guide is focused on Fortune 500 companies and their processes, their outline of the four “levers” to maximize onboarding success can be applied at any size company. This is also how we here at VENTUREAPP structure our onboarding. Think of these levers as desired outcomes that any employee should feel at the end of their onboarding time.

Self Efficacy or Self-Confidence (in job performance) – The more that you can make your new employee confident about his job and role at the company, the more he/she will be motivated and eventually more successful. New employees should be given a clear view into what their job will consist of daily and what their goals or KPIs are in the first 30, 60, 90 days. This is an ongoing process in which their hiring manager should give them small projects at first, provide constructive feedback and support, and then slowly provide larger and more substantial projects.

This should be a two-way street for the hiring manager, too. Hiring managers should learn about the individual preferred/best learning style of their employees. What do they respond to best? How can the hiring manager manage the new employee most effectively and ensure their personal growth goals are being accomplished?

This also means making sure the new employee is all set up and ready to go on their first day. Make sure they received their email, forms, training documents, etc. before they ever step foot into the office. Ensure all employees are aware of the new employee’s start date and that the manager is there to greet the employee from the beginning. Also, don’t forget to show them where the facilities are.

Role Clarity – This is arguably the most difficult step in an early stage startup since so many of us wear so many hats, but it is so incredibly important. Surprisingly enough, measures of role clarity are among the most consistent predictors of job satisfaction. This means making sure that your new employee is 100% aware of role expectations. A new employee should spend a substantial amount on the first day with their hiring manager to make sure that he/she is aligned with what is expected and the hiring manager should have weekly check-ins with the employee to make sure they are staying true to their role. Here at VENTUREAPP, every employee has a metric he/she is accountable for and these are reviewed every Monday and Friday during stand-up and retro. This means that regardless of what an employee is working on for the week, their key metrics or expectations for success never change. We also have weekly check-ins as a team and 1-1 with our direct “managers” – which at this stage of the company is usually our CEO – to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

Social Integration – New employees need to feel socially at ease and accepted by peers. High quality relationships lead to less turnover and stronger commitment to the organization – no surprise there. Make sure that all employees are aware of your new employee’s start date and are welcoming and introduce themselves. At VENTUREAPP, every team member meets with the new hire for 30 minutes to introduce themselves, explain their role and how they will be working together, and answer any questions the new hire may have. We also ensure that there is a team lunch on the first day to seal the welcoming deal.

Knowledge of Culture – This is one that our CEO and our team at VENTUREAPP feels most passionately about. When hiring for a position, most organizations place an extreme amount of importance on how likely the interviewee is to fit into their company culture, but too frequently it stops there. Understanding a company’s goals, values, and unique approach are essential to ensure the new employee’s long term success. It must be at the forefront of employee onboarding. A new employee’s first day of work should be kicked off with an overview of the goals and values of the company at large. Our CEO spends 30-60 minutes with every new employee to make sure they understand the goals and values on which the entire team and company is expected to uphold. These should be given in some sort of hard copy to the new employee so they can review and learn it.

The onboarding process doesn’t end after day 1 for new employees. It’s an ongoing process that if done correctly, can ensure his/her success at your company and create a culture of commitment, motivation, and productivity. Make sure your new employee doesn’t just understand his role, but understands how it relates to the rest of the departments in the company and how it contributes to your company’s overall vision and values. If you are interested in improving your current onboarding process, feel free to reach out to us & ask for help – we have lots of advice & expert connections.