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10 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement through Your Onboarding Process

  • By Ironstone
  • |
  • June 16, 2015

10 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement through Your Onboarding Process

Did you know that 90% of employees make their decision to stay with a company during the first six months of employment?¹  Despite spending an increasing amount of money and time on recruiting efforts, many firms ignore the imperative impact new employee onboarding provides.

In today’s economy, coupled with the diminishing workforce supply, increased competition for first-rate talent, and expectations from the next generation, an onboarding program is crucial.

During recruiting, interviewing, and hiring, candidates typically express enthusiasm, but are not yet engaged with your firm. It’s important to facilitate opportunities where employees can participate in activities that redirect enthusiasm to high-level engagement.

The results of a well-planned onboarding program will help you ward off expensive turnover costs, increase revenue, and develop higher levels of engagement and loyalty from new employees. Incorporate these ideas before, during, and after you select a new employee.

1. Start an Onboarding Process during the Recruitment Phase

Onboarding starts long before you hire a new team member and is more than a day or two of orientation. Candidates make a decision whether or not to apply to your firm based on how they perceive you. Incorporate a process that is attractive to potential new hires by ensuring your career site, website, and your company LinkedIn page are welcoming, inviting, and reflect your culture.

2. Provide a Realistic Job Preview – No Surprises

I once was hired by a company only to find out after my start date that the job I thought I was hired to do was completely different than what I was actually doing. Misrepresenting a new position destroys trust which is extremely difficult to rebuild, if not impossible. Show candidates a realistic look at your organization and the job you are hiring them to do. Use job descriptions, videos, and a written plan detailing objectives, strategies, and expectations. Include messages from upper management with descriptive statements that tell new hires how to succeed in their new role.

3. Hold Multiple Interviews

If your interview process is sloppy, candidates will be turned off in a matter of seconds and find new opportunities. Start by assessing candidates and hold at least two or three follow up interviews. Seek input from other team members by including them in the hiring decision. Peer interviews help new employees engage with other team members once they are hired.

4. Email Relevant Updates Prior to Start Date

Send new hire welcome messages and company updates before their first day. This provides a jump start to employee engagement and is a win-win for both your firm and new employee. Automate as much of the orientation process as possible: share welcome videos from senior leadership, company history, mission, vision, and code of ethics statements, training tutorials, and your policy and procedures manual.

5. Provide Important & Meaningful Experiences On Day One

Welcome new team members on the first day by spending less time on paperwork and more time building a relationship. Let them know how their role contributes to the success of your firm which is a vital piece to the engagement puzzle. Have new employees complete a few small tasks that are important and meaningful.

6. Provide Career Paths

It is essential to understand the desired career path of your team members and provide a map with defined steps, actions, and time frames to move from point A to point B. Ask new employees how they view their career path within your firm. Based on their response, along with identifying personality traits, education requirements, leadership potential, and skill set, create a career path that will empower team members to achieve success, build loyalty to your firm, and reach their full potential.

7. Create an Employee Directory Handbook

Give new team members a chance to get to know others with an employee directory. Include photos, roles within the firm, and some fun facts about each team member. This is a great way to start building connections with peers.

8. Assign a Mentor

A coach or mentor provides employees face-to-face time with someone that can teach them the ropes and help them adjust to the culture in your firm.  Typically, new professionals are uncertain of specific practices and may feel uncomfortable asking upper management questions pertaining to their job. A mentor will guide and bridge that gap. Be diligent when choosing a mentor; the wrong mentor can teach bad habits, while the right mentor will uphold your firms’ values. Mentoring new employees helps shape behavior, improves retention rates, and is a top driver of employee engagement.

9. Utilize Gamification

Many adults agree that making every day activities more like a game are fun and rewarding. Studies also show that gamification leads to an increase in engagement metrics. You may be asking, “What is gamification and how can I incorporate it?” Wikipedia defines gamification as the use of game mechanics and rewards for non-game applications in order to increase engagement and loyalty.

Use games to teach business lessons. Consider holding a scavenger hunt to help new hires learn where to find things in your office. Ask them to take pictures with their phone showing where important documents, resources, and supplies are located in their physical surroundings. Invite them to take cultural pictures that represent client service, team work, or images that validate your firms’ vision, mission, and values.

10. Measure Onboarding Results

Measuring the new employee experience is a critical step in your overall process. Solicit feedback by utilizing a survey and then use the information provided to ensure your process creates a consistent loop that engages people with your firm.  Create ranking surveys using a scale from 1 to 10, or utilize open-ended questions that encourage new hire perceptions in further detail.

  • Was my supervisor ready and prepared for my arrival?
  • Did everyone on the team welcome me?
  • Did the recruiting process describe my job appropriately?
  • Was the training effective?
  • What materials did you find the most valuable?

You cannot expect employees to perform their best without full integration and suitable acclamation to their new role.

As the recruiting process becomes more and more challenging, a solid onboarding program is critical. Assess your current process and identify strengths and weaknesses, set goals, and research trends and statistics to substantiate your objectives.

Request more information from the Ironstone team or join the Ironstone – Financial Industry Professionals Practice Management Group on LinkedIn and start a discussion.

The foundation of our Performance Coaching and Consulting Programs are based on Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™, which is essential to design, develop, and sustain a successful business. Our ultimate goal is to help you avoid trial and error; shifting your mindset to launch your process of intentional change. [LEARN MORE]

  • ¹Aberdeen Group
  • Photo credit:  ©iStock/Getty Images


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Author Bio

Ironstone is a learning and development consultancy with business acumen that translates across many industries. Our focus is on practice management strategies in order to enhance and improve both business and personal life. We support professionals who want major and comprehensive improvements that look at all aspects not just an isolated area for change. Ironstone has identified 4 key performance areas known as the Fundamental 4™, which are required to design, develop, and sustain a successful business.