How to Empower Employees Through Effective Onboarding
Onboarding, the process of integrating a new employee into an organization, is a critical time for businesses. During the onboarding process, you set the tone for what employment with your company will look like, your expectations for the employee, and what the employee can expect from you.
If you want to empower your employees, leading to higher levels of success and deeper engagement with your organization, it’s essential to develop a strategy that maximizes this vital time for employees and kickstarts their journey with your company.
Unfortunately, many companies struggle with establishing effective onboarding practices. So, what are some of the benefits, tips, and challenges of successful onboarding?
The Benefits of Effective Onboarding
Onboarding employees correctly can offer several critical benefits to your organization.
1. Improve Employee Retention
Hiring new employees is expensive. Also, when you lose employees, you may be unable to provide the high level of customer service that would typically be expected from your organization. Effective onboarding helps improve employee retention by providing employees with more information about how to master expectations in the workplace and achieve their goals.
2. Enhance Productivity
An employee who is not onboarded correctly does not know how to complete job tasks successfully. They may not even know who to ask about the task or workflow. When you provide effective onboarding for your employees, on the other hand, you help enhance their overall productivity by giving them the tools they need to do their jobs well.
3. Increase Engagement
An employee who does not know anything about your company, who struggles to figure out how to complete daily job responsibilities, or who does not have a sense of connection to the company may be disengaged—even early in a new position. New jobs offer a period of anxiety for many employees, which can quickly lead to disengagement if they aren’t provided with the information and support they need. But if you onboard employees correctly, you can decrease their anxiety, increase engagement, and improve job satisfaction.
4. Build a Stronger Company Culture
During onboarding, you have a unique opportunity to introduce employees to your company culture. This is an opportunity to create a sense of connection with your brand, your values, and your other employees. By handling that onboarding process with care, you can continue to build and support your company culture, which can further enhance employee engagement and retention.
Common Mistakes in the Onboarding Process
Businesses often make critical mistakes in the onboarding process that can interfere with employee success at the company. Onboarding errors can lead to higher employee turnover, decreased productivity, and lower overall morale. Consider these common challenges:
Mistake #1: Poor First Impressions
When new employees connect with your organization, what impression do they get of your office? What about your employees? Their job requirements? A poor first impression can influence how the employee feels about your organization long after that initial connection.
Mistake #2: Disorganization
Suppose you set a clear start date for a new employee. Unfortunately, when that day arrived, you weren’t prepared. You may not have provided them with the necessary equipment or software to get started. Alternatively, you may not have designated clear communication channels or scheduled meetings, either virtual or in-person, to help them get to know their colleagues and understand their role. Worse, you may not have designed a training plan or decided what you wanted them to do on their first day.
That disorganization can make it challenging to train and teach a new employee properly, which may ultimately lead to decreased job satisfaction and engagement, not to mention a poor first impression. Disorganization can also lead to information gaps, making it impossible for employees to do their jobs correctly.
Mistake #3: Information Overload
New employees need a great deal of information to get started with your company. Too often, however, that turns into information overload. You may end up providing employees with so much information that they cannot retain it, ultimately making it much more challenging to accomplish their job responsibilities.
Mistake #4: Unclear Expectations
Before a new employee arrives on the job, clearly define their job role and expectations. What are they expected to accomplish? What metrics will be used to measure productivity? In addition to laying out clear goals for the employees’ future, consider how you will observe progress toward those goals as they integrate with the team.
Mistake #5: Isolating a New Employee
When a new employee arrives at your organization—whether in person, remote, or hybrid—provide them with what they need to feel supported in their new role. Lay out clear communication channels. Connect them with a mentor who can help them learn more about the job. Give them a chance to meet and interact with their team members. With clear and open communication, employees will create a deeper sense of connection to the job. They will also feel more comfortable asking questions when they have them.
Mistake #6: Ending Onboarding Too Soon
Depending on the job and employee requirements, onboarding can last anywhere from three to 12 months. It can take up to a year for an employee to feel entirely comfortable with a new organization, so having the proper structure and support during that process is essential.
How to Onboard Employees Effectively
Are you ready to start onboarding your employees? Utilize these strategies to achieve your goals more effectively and give employees the support they need.
1. Start With Pre-Boarding
Provide employees with key information before they start their first days with you. Pre-boarding may include:
- Having employees fill out essential paperwork that will allow them to get started on their first day
- Checking that they have everything they need, including a badge, to access key areas if the role is in-person
- Ensuring that the required IT support is available to set them up on internal systems
Remember that the onboarding process may begin as early as the recruitment stage when employees are getting to know more about your company.
2. Introduce Employees to the Company
Take them on a tour of the building (if in person) and introduce them to coworkers. Make sure they know who their direct team members will be. Review the company culture, your expectations for employees, and the company’s mission statement.
3. Create Opportunities for Connection
Make sure new employees have the chance to connect with their team members. Consider arranging a group lunch or a lunch with the employee’s manager. Set aside time for meetings. When appropriate, assign a mentor to help the employee through those early days on the job and answer any critical questions.
4. Make Communication Information Clear
Make sure employees know how to get in touch with others, including management and HR. Provide them with contact information they can use if needed. Employee empowerment starts with ensuring that employees have a way to communicate with others, including sharing problems, asking questions, or offering suggestions.
5. Have a Plan for Training
Before you bring in a new employee, have a plan in place for how you will handle the training process. Be prepared to adapt that plan as needed since all employees will learn differently. Also, provide ongoing learning and development opportunities throughout the employee’s time with your company.
6. Check In With New Employees Regularly
Schedule regular check-ins with new employees. Give them a chance to share any challenges they may be facing and offer feedback about anything they need to accomplish. Keep up those check-ins over the first year of the employee’s time with your company.
Join the Vistatec Team
At Vistatec, our team has flexible work practices and a healthy work-life balance. We believe in empowering our employees to accomplish their professional goals and become part of the team. Check out our available positions or contact us to learn more.