Employee onboarding is not just the process of introducing a new employee to their colleagues and other team members; onboarding begins from the moment a new member of the team is sent an offer of work.
You need to build trust with new hires, and the most effective way of doing this is through genuine engagement, on behalf of those already at the organization and on behalf of the new employee.
What is meant by employee engagement?
By employee engagement, we’re referring to the commitment an employee has to the organization they’re working or volunteering for.
Their motivation to help the organization succeed and their commitment to maintaining its reputation and sticking to its ethos are how an employee shows they’re engaged. Only a genuinely engaged and enthused employee will participate in workplace giving activities, for example.
Why is genuine engagement during onboarding important?
The first few months that a new hire is in your organization are pivotal to how their relationship with you, the management, and the organization manifests. According to a 2018 survey by BambooHR, 31% of American employees have left a job within the first six months.
The reason? A lack of engagement during onboarding (we told you the process was longer than you thought!). One of the main takeaways from this survey was that many employees decided to leave due to the management team and their boss being absent and/or not particularly nice to them.
Within a virtual call center team, for example, it’s generally accepted that team collaboration is required to get the most efficient results and increase employee engagement and motivation. So why is this feeling of community not as popular in the wider workplace?
Genuine engagement during the onboarding process will lead to benefits for your organization later on, including:
- Improved productivity
- Higher sales
- Greater profitability
- Greater employee and customer loyalty
- Fewer absences
Below, we delve into some ways to optimize your employee onboarding through genuine engagement.
1. Use technology during onboarding
Firstly, using technology during onboarding means your new hires can complete any documentation they need to do before their first day. Doing so ensures they turn up on day one feeling more relaxed and prepared than they would for a day of admin.
Secondly, this allows you to introduce new hires to any specific project management software or online meeting platforms your organization uses. Feeling part of the community and clued up on how things work is crucial in making a new hire feel welcome, competent, and confident on their first day.
2. Create a first day to remember
Having all the admin work completed before the first day allows you to create a memorable first impression for new hires – in a good way!
A good idea for the first day is to find a way to show off the great work perks your organization offers. If the first day is in person, you could show new hires a board where employees are recognized for their work. Employee recognition is a major boon for most workers, acting as motivation to improve and a sign that management pays attention.
Flexible work is becoming increasingly popular, but remote employees don’t have to miss out on the fun. Use your organization’s preferred online meeting platform to run a virtual first-day tour if this is an option.
Whether in person or remote, new hires must be introduced to key players within the workplace on their first day. How can you expect a new employee to be genuinely engaged when they don’t know who pulls the strings?
3. Use your management team during onboarding
23% of workers in a BambooHR survey stated the reason for leaving their new job within the first six months was their manager coming across as ‘a jerk’, so involving the management team in the onboarding process is a good idea!
Knowing their boss is present will encourage new hires to do their best. Having the management team turn up to help them settle in will also make them feel appreciated by the organization.
Being known by the management team gives employees a better chance of moving up in the company too, which many of your workers will be aiming to do.
4. Offer on-the-job training
Most employees want to belong to a workplace where they feel they can progress, so offering training is a fantastic way of getting both new hires and pre-existing employees engaged.
In the digital age, it’s never been easier to provide group training. There are myriad free conference call software out there to choose from, meaning your organization can offer group training that fits around employee schedules.
Furthermore, providing employees with blended training virtually – meaning they don’t need to travel into the office – shows you’ve taken them and their comfort into account when making decisions.
Aside from training to help them progress in their careers, employees should be given mobile security training. With a lot of work now being completed online, it’s pivotal that your employees know how to stay safe, whether handling confidential work information or their personal data.
Providing such training builds a sense of community in the workplace, boosting employee engagement.
5. Consistently provide feedback
Providing feedback works in favor of both employees and employers. Not only does it motivate employees to remain engaged, but it shows the employer notices the effort put in by their workers.
There are plenty of top productivity apps out there to keep your workforce on top form and help you stay abreast of where they are with tasks. Integrated team chats can also give colleagues the opportunity to publicly praise a coworker, inspiring the team to keep on doing what they’re doing.
Providing feedback is especially important in the first months at your company. It’s crucial, for example, that new members of the sales team have their sales skills assessed regularly. Offering them personalized feedback from the start can boost their engagement, enhance productivity, and increase sales and profits.
6. Immerse new employees in your cultural values
From the beginning, new hires should know where your organization sits concerning cultural and societal values. Introduce onboarding employees to any charities you’re aligned with and the fundraising and volunteering activities you hold.
If you onboard new employees at a specific time of the year, try and host volunteer events near the start of their time with you to get them involved in workplace giving immediately.
Workplace giving and volunteering should be considered an important part of your onboarding process. Showing new hires your organization’s values and allowing them to play their part in building awareness is a priceless way of boosting engagement from the beginning of their time at your company.
Volunteering events are also a great opportunity for employees to network with each other. Having a strong internal network in the workplace is key to boosting productivity, and the chance to connect with colleagues is one of the top incentives for motivating employees to give.
7. Get employees involved with workplace changes
Perhaps the management team has discussed changing the online platform used for a regular video call setup? No matter how new an employee is, they should be informed of any changes being made to the workplace – and their opinion should be considered.
Say, for example, you’re fed up with how much Skype is crashing. Sending your workforce a Glip and Skype review to see how they’d feel about swapping is a good way of showing that management listens to and appreciates those in roles below them.
Admittedly, something like this is much easier for small businesses, but big businesses should also ensure that all employees, new and old, are informed of changes well in advance of them taking place.
For a new employee, seeing that a company is continually taking their opinions into account will encourage them to feel like they have a vested interest and to do their best for their new employer.
Essentially, what all of these tips have in common is that they make the new employee feel like they’re listened to and involved in events the organization plans. An employee is never going to be genuinely engaged with their workplace if they don’t feel like they’re heard and acknowledged.
By optimizing employee onboarding with genuine engagement, you increase your company’s chances of holding onto employees who do their best for you in the long run. Just remember – the onboarding process goes past that first week!
About the Author
Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system with automatic call distribution feature that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Here is her LinkedIn.