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10 Steps to a Better Onboarding Program

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by 
Erin Cushing
on July 01, 2016
It's time to discuss one of the most prevalent issues plaguing employee retention: poor onboarding. Employees decide whether they will stay with a compnay long term within the first six months of their employment; unfortunately, the abbreviated onboarding programs that most of these new hires are rushed through does not accomplish any of its goals; it does not set employees up to immediately succeed in their roles, it does not engage the employee with the organization, and it does not support retention efforts.

For most new hires across the world, it's the same story. They walk in on their first day, complete a stack of new hire paperwork, are shown to their desk, and then left to their own devices. This drive by-onboarding process does little to empower new employees to be self-sufficient or successful, nor does it 

Great onboarding programs are a continuous process, with the best programs lasting at least 90 days. For the right outcome – an employee who is aware of how to contribute to your organization and is engaged to want to commit to a lengthy tenure – it takes an organization leader’s support to identify and transfer the various skills, knowledge and abilities for new hires to succeed.

So how can you create an onboarding program that sets your new hires up for success - and convinces them to commit to your organization long-term? Use this ten-step process: 

  1. Research onboarding best practices: Ask and share information about onboarding programs with other employers and use their experiences as a platform to inspire your own ideas.
  2. Focus on creating one great pilot onboarding experience: Apply what you learned to one segment of your company and fully commit to execution. Quality over quantity is most important to prove the validity of the concept.
  3. Start with a champion: Connect with an individual in charge of a business unit at your company who has implemented an onboarding program or is enthusiastic and committed to creating a program for his or her team. 
  4. Work with professionals who make others believers: Ideally the person described in step 2 above can serve in this capacity. After their successful onboarding experiences, encourage them to tell others about the impact the program had on their part of the business.
  5. Move quickly after the first success, letting the first success snowball: With initial success move fast to take advantage of what other business leaders’ appreciation of the program’s value. Use that recognition to gather resources and greater buy-in.
  6. Partner with the business, enabling the business to own its content: Just as a franchise needs individual franchise owners to run its stores, in order for the onboarding program to expand, the business unit leaders need to take ownership of their own teams’ program. 
  7. Use onboarding efforts to introduce a social and/or learning platform: Multiply everyone’s hard work by making use of technology to share material in a centralized platform. Information sharing that begins in onboarding – along with the connections people make during onboarding – can be extended for ongoing information sharing and social collaboration.
  8. Create a feedback loop: Use surveys and speak with both the new hires and their managers to find out how to improve the program further.
  9. Measure your results: Compile results from the surveys and other statistics to discover objective results.
  10. Replicate the successes: Onboarding is one process that is neither cyclical nor ever really complete. Once you get started, don’t stop: keep evolving and refining the program for new classes of professionals who join your team.
A great next-generation talent acquisition solution won't just help you indentify and attract great candidates; it will also help you empower your new hires to better settle into your organization's culture and work flow, while setting you up to better encourage employee retention. What does a next-generation recruiting solution look like? Demo PeopleFluent's award-winning platform.

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