HR professionals know that companies who invest the most time and resources in onboarding reap the highest levels of employee engagement. Your managers are the most valuable resource you have in building a foundation for a more engaged and committed workforce, as they motivate the rest of your employees to succeed. Moreover, you will increase your ability to attract and retain the best talent from the labor pool through comprehensive onboarding programs, adding to your company’s competitive edge.
Why Onboarding Matters
Onboarding new employees is one of the most critical cross-functional processes in a company, and it depends on involvement from several areas including HR, IT, Operations, and Finance. An unfortunate side effect of its breadth is that it is fraught with the potential for failure.
According to the Aberdeen Group, 86% of new hires decide to stay or leave a company within their first six months, and new employees are 69% more likely to stay longer than three years if they experience well-structured onboarding. Despite these benefits, 89% of new hires say they don’t have the optimum level of knowledge necessary to do their job.
Fortunately, there are tools today for the modern workforce that can be configured with cross-functional content that guide the employee through the steps required to successfully acclimate. These tools facilitate communications between managers and new hires, and they foster team building within the greater organization.
Increasing Employee Engagement with Effective Onboarding
When employees know what to expect upon arriving on the job, they can significantly reduce their anxiety levels. Through an online engagement platform, new employees can sign up for the new hire team lunch or hear about the upcoming company-wide talent show. By joining an active online company community with other new hires and employees, they can begin to connect on a personalized basis, and they can fill out their own employee bios.
Increasing the mechanisms and abilities for employees to connect with each other on a personal level is essential: Gallup finds that employees who have a best friend at work are 35% more likely to report commitment to quality work, along with many other benefits. New hires that are able to better understand company culture from interactions on an online platform, increase their ability to integrate more quickly. They are more motivated to act when they can leverage the collective intelligence of former newbies, tapping a rich repository of content.
Most likely many of your new hires are Millennials—those born after 1977— and it’s almost certain they are accustomed to using social tools to manage their work. They operate on a ‘pull’ vs. ‘push’ workflow and will seek and value information from their peers rather than from the canned, corporate top-down sources. Millennials are well acquainted with using technology to retrieve the information they need, so online onboarding platforms will facilitate this process for them and play to their existing strengths.
Using HR Software to Improve Onboarding
Today’s need for overcoming buried and siloed content can be easily fulfilled via technology that creates a multi-faceted workflow. In the case of onboarding, content can be centrally housed in one place, where everyone involved in the process can instantly view the status of each new hire and avoid miscommunication. This central hub can capture activity in real time and allow simultaneous completion and status updates of tasks such as:
- Paperwork status
- Benefit plan information and form completion
- System access, phone numbers, email addresses, and laptop distribution
- Ergonomic desk setup
- New hire orientation
- ID picture uploads for badges
With these actions clearly listed and organized online, new employees will be ready to embrace the culture of a new organization without becoming overwhelmed. They will be better equipped to assimilate successfully, reducing their likelihood of job switching in the next couple of months. Through an online platform, managers can invest in their new hires without committing as much of their own time, and HR managers will be able to receive all of the paperwork they need without overburdening newcomers.
The result? A boost in productivity and engagement for everyone, and a streamlined process that conveys your company’s commitment – including newbies.
From Onboarding to Passion to Action
When onboarding is done right, the potential from impact is enormous. Having a positive impact early can be tied to a tangible result because the employee feels a sense of connection and ownership of the actions taken – feeling enthusiastic and fulfilled.
“An engaged employee is simply a person who is involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and who contributes to their organization in a positive manner.”
Gallup. 2013. State of the American Workplace.