Onboarding New Employees: How To Build A Sustainable Process

In rapidly growing companies, hiring and retaining the right employees is one of the hardest things for effective leaders to get right.

On one hand, your company needs the right process in place to hire and keep the right people. There has to be an appealing lure to attract them, and the benefits have to be worthwhile enough to keep them.

On the other hand, the company branding and benefits you offer can only tell them so much of the story. The everyday behaviors that shape your organizational culture will have an ongoing effect on each one of your employees.

It’s important to realize that your people are your company’s most valuable asset, and finding the right “fit” between company and that most valuable asset is paramount to success.

There are bigger things to consider than benefits and bonuses when bringing on new people. Your workforce, particularly the millennial generation, wants to know what your company stands for.  They want to be part of something bigger than themselves.

The way you communicate your benefits and purpose to them from the beginning may be the most important part in setting them up for success.

So, how do you give your new employees an accurate picture of your company’s brand, its values, and their place in the overall picture of the organization?

Here are 3 points to consider when building a sustainable onboarding process for your growing company:

1. Does It Scale?

When you’re small, as in a startup, it’s much easier to find the right people and orient them quickly with the rest of your team.

It’s likely that small companies thoroughly vet their candidates for cultural fit when they hire. But, as an organization grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the same processes. A strategy that works for a group of 20 people may not scale to a company of 200 people.

Make sure your onboarding processes are built to last. Rapidly growing companies who plan ahead of these changes will see more success, particularly as they delegate these onboarding processes to other hiring managers as they grow.

2. What Information Do You Include?

Onboarding and orienting employees is challenging.  Organizations face a balancing act between conveying large quantities of information and keeping new employees engaged and interested.

Considering most employees will only really understand the organization’s culture once they are officially on the job, picking and choosing what information to share during the onboarding process adds to the challenge.

Most people today like to digest snackable information, not an entire meal at once. Consider keeping the information segments of your process short, so employees can take away the bite-size nuggets and figure out where they might want to ask questions to get further insights.

One recent example is Samsung’s orientation rap video that went viral to mixed reviews. While Samsung’s effort to communicate a lot of information in an engaging, short format should be applauded, the execution left something to be desired.

Their video is a perfect example of why it’s so important to keep the context in mind. Your employees are there to be professionals; to further their careers. If your presentation is too slapstick or silly, you risk losing people to it as something that is nonsensical, or not a fit for the organization and its people.

On the other hand, a completely dry delivery of rules, stats, and facts about your company can put your new hires to sleep, causing them to disengage before they start their first shift.

Your challenge is keeping them interested and engaged in a way that both reflects your culture and doesn’t turn people off.

3. What Is The Employee Experience?

Are you sitting your new employees in front of a computer to go through self-directed orientation? Are you personally illustrating your values and guidelines on a whiteboard? Do you partner them with a senior member of your team to learn the ropes?

These first steps of the onboarding process are not just a way to convey information. They also give your brand new employee a taste of what your culture is like on a daily basis.

They can walk away feeling motivated, supported, and comfortable in their new environment, or they can leave feeling overloaded and confused.

Empowering Your People

There’s no doubt that your organizational culture is based largely on the everyday behaviors of your people. Finding the right people who fit into your overall strategy and vision is a challenge in itself. Once you find them, however, your challenge becomes empowering them to carry out your vision to every customer they meet.

It takes more effort than simply putting warm bodies on the sales floor or in the call center. You have to equip them with the right tools to do their job well, carry your vision for success, and feel a purpose behind what they are doing for your company on a daily basis.

“If you take care of your people, your people will take care of your customers and your business will take care of itself.” –JW Marriott

[starbox id=”Cary Paul,Stuart Farrand”]