Hiring a new employee can be a big decision, so there’s a lot that can go into the process. They get picked from a pool of people competing for the job, and then they complete the rounds of interviews – by phone, email, or in-person with the powers that be. Once all the details have been hashed out and the decision is made, what happens next? Ideally, the employee will complete the company’s onboarding plan and start establishing their place in the workplace.
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That’s what should happen, anyway; it’s not always what does happen. The new hire will complete a few intense days of orientation to help them get started, but after that they’re on their own. After all, each new hire has to find their place among actual people, not just within a company’s culture or vision. In most cases, it takes between 6 months and 2 years for someone to fully adjust to their role in the company. Given how much growth this entails, it’s hard for a new hire to hit the ground running when they have to spend the first month making sure they’ve been introduced to everyone.
It’s time for a change in perspective when it comes to onboarding plans.
The typical onboarding strategy may work, but it doesn’t seem to work very well. Just over 10% of employees feel strongly that their organization offers a strong onboarding process, which is a pretty good indication that some adjustments are needed. Most importantly, the company should offer a longer-term integration plan, rather than just a few short weeks of orientation. A more strategic, comprehensive process won’t just teach them the basics, it will make sure they are ready to take on work and are fully welcomed into the company’s culture.
With the help of integration software, companies can create custom integration plans of activities and tasks for new hires of any career level. As soon as a new hire accepts the company’s offer, their holistic plan will kick in and help them get started. It doesn’t matter how many new hires you have at a time, tracking and reporting features will ensure no one gets left behind.
Integration plans will look different for every company, but there are a few things that will help no matter what the job description.
1. Set up welcome chats
Certain work connections, like those with key stakeholders, will define a new hire’s productivity within the company. If they make these connections in the first weeks of starting the job, they’ll know who to call on when they have questions. This also takes the responsibility of getting acquainted with the right people off their plate, and helps them settle into the workplace much more quickly.
2. Assign a mentor
Having a mentor to give periodic guidance to a new hire could be a life-saver. There’s a lot more to integration than reading the company style guide and learning how to operate the coffee machine; having someone to touch base with on a regular basis will make a new hire feel less like a fish out of water.
3. Make sure they’re involved in diversity and inclusion activities
This is about more than just adding them to the email list; letting a new hire know about what’s going on in the office tells them that their participation is important. Not only will they be able to learn more about their co-workers, but their co-workers will learn more about them as well. It also ensures that every new hire knows that you value diversity and inclusion and will be committed to it from day one.
4. Encourage work gigs early on
When someone starts a new job, they want to prove themselves. After all, how many interviews did they go through to prove that they were creative and knowledgeable in their field?
Giving a new hire internal gigs will communicate that their skills are valued. Rather than making them stick with the essentials until they’ve achieved a certain level of seniority, give them a challenge that they can sink their teeth into. It doesn’t have to be a complicated or high-pressure task; just something that will confirm that they chose the right company to work for.
5. Make it easy for new hires to share with stakeholders
A new hire can bring a fresh perspective to the way a company operates; when they aren’t able to share that perspective with some of the decision-makers, it can be pretty frustrating.
Organizing events – either at work or socially – where both employees and stakeholders can share ideas will improve both productivity and morale.
6. Help create social connections
Being the new person at work can be tough – even more so if the new hire has to make all their connections from scratch. If establishing social connections is a solo effort, it could take forever. If the company makes it happen, though, a new hire can quickly integrate with their co-workers through a variety of social activities.
7. Give more consistent feedback
In the average workplace setting, employees have to wait 6 months or more before they get any kind of official review on their performance. That’s 6 months to a year of them wondering whether or not their employer is happy with their work; that’s also a lost opportunity to optimize their focus or techniques.
Instead of letting a new hire work in the dark, as it were, give them real-time feedback as the work is being done. Having a system for continuous feedback on projects and client work will let them know which areas need improvement, as well as recognize the areas in which they’re excelling.
During an integration plan, real-time feedback can also let companies know how the process is going from both sides. Feedback from the new hires will indicate how they’re settling in and how the process can be improved. Feedback from their integration teams, such as mentors and stakeholders, can measure whether the new hires were the right choice for the role based on their performance and how they’re fitting in.
It’s time to change the statistics of employee turnover rates.
The majority of employees will leave their current job at some point. They might retire, decide that it’s time for a career change, get laid off, or even fired. Guess how many of these employees will be leaving before the 45-day mark? Almost one-quarter of them – 22%. How many of these people are leaving thanks to the lack of a good integration process? That’s a little harder to quantify, but common sense says it’s probably a lot.
Here’s what seems to be the average scenario: a new hire can start working at a new position, feel like they’re getting ignored after the first week of orientation, and decide that the company only cares about the high-performing employees who have years’ worth of connections and experience. They can either stick it out and hope things get better, or leave in search of greener pastures – and apparently a lot of people are choosing to leave.
It doesn’t have to happen that way, though. A more thorough, long-term integration process could completely change the outcome, leading to lower turnover rates, more productive employees, and a stronger company.