2020 might have tossed out all the rules, but one thing that hasn’t changed: the energy it takes to hire a new employee. While it may have moved to a virtual experience, hiring just the right employee still takes time and more stakeholders than most organizations care to reveal. It also takes all the feels – stress, excitement, concern – the list goes on!
As someone who recently hired just the right employee, the feelings as day one approaches encompass both excitement and anxiety. Will she appreciate the company culture? How will she fit in with the rest of the team? Will she engage quickly? As the hiring manager, I’m certain she’s the perfect fit for the role, but what about everything else? And why this looming concern?
What Does Onboarding Encompass?
A solid onboarding process (and not just an amazing first day) can lead to engaged, productive and invested employees. But flip the script and the results can be devastating. One study shows 5% of new employees quit immediately after a disastrous first day. The same study shows that 20% of new employees will leave within the first 45 days of employment. All that hard work to hire the perfect candidate goes out the door due to a poor onboarding experience.
But let’s assume a small victory; the onboarding team is ready to go and engages the new class. All’s well, right? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A study by Evive, focused on the employee journey, found 25% of employees didn’t feel that their onboarding experience was structured and 44% did not agree that their onboarding felt personalized.
Though designing and implementing a structured employee onboarding experience isn’t easy, it is clear that organizations must prioritize making employees feel appreciated and engaged. So how do you make a lasting impression during the recruitment, onboarding and new employee orientation period? Here are seven highly personalized strategies to integrate:
Brand Building on Social Media
You’re already communicating to job seekers on social media, but are you marketing your company’s culture to job prospects?
Use social media to highlight what matters most to prospects – employee diversity, company values, testimonials, benefits, employee friendships, professional development opportunities, etc.
By creating content around culture, relationships and opportunities to use skills and grow, you establish a positive image, emphasize your values and highlight employee connections and well-being.
Strengthen Your Recruiting Process
In our digital world, the employee journey starts when a prospective employee contacts your company. Keep in mind that applicants have visited the website, checked social media and scoured company reviews, all before even applying.
As soon as a prospective employee engages with your organization, you should connect with them and build a genuine relationship. If you’re not starting the employee journey during the recruitment process, you’re late to the party.
As customers, we expect instant feedback from customer service so why shouldn’t a candidate? Share with them where they stand in the hiring process, where there might be concerns about their fit within the organization and the timeline for extending an offer. Let’s be honest. If you want to recruit, hire and retain top talent, you must maintain a deeper level of personalized communications.
Begin Onboarding Before Day One
Let’s take a look at a common scenario:
A recruit applies, goes through the interview process, is offered a job and negotiates a benefits and compensation package. Next, they accept a position, sign an acceptance letter and choose a start date.
Onboarding checklist complete.
Not so fast. There is a bigger opportunity to use onboarding as a way to personally engage the recruit before their first day.
Get the ball rolling with timely, personalized data-driven messages to set up workplace technology, virtual lunches, company training, verifications and benefit plan paperwork. By communicating before their first day, you maximize the employee’s first introduction to the office and make them feel valued. And we know that employees who feel valued contribute and connect their work with a greater sense of purpose.
Stay Socially Connected
It’s equally important to help new employees build company connections as it is to engage them before joining the company. Whether it’s team happy hours, pairing the rookie with a mentor, introductions to people from other departments or encouraging involvement in an affinity group, strong social connections make employees feel welcome.
According to Evive’s employee journey survey, only 50% of employees reported that HR introduced them to other employees beyond their immediate teammates during onboarding.
To mitigate this gap, employers should engage new employees with the right strategic messaging, personalized and targeted around their interests, preferences and needs. By doing so, you’re not only taking the time to show that you know something unique about each employee but facilitating a strong and inclusive company culture from the onset.
Get the Most Out of Company Benefits
Medical, life, disability and retirement benefits aren’t one size fits all. Employees want the highest value of benefits, especially when it comes to their family’s health and well-being. Yet, circumstances and lifestyle factors change according to each employee’s individual needs. For example, a small subset of your workforce may be diabetic and require information on disease management. Whereas a remote worker living in a rural area might welcome health mitigation strategies during the pandemic via telehealth.
Employers must go beyond the standardized, mass messaging approach and stop administering the same information to all employees. Evolving your technology and adopting a platform that gathers data from numerous HR and healthcare sources and combines those data points with employee information is key. With the right technology, employers can distribute personalized messages to individual employees or segment a group of employees. Messages are based on specific health requirements, according to the employees’ preferences (text, email or push notification). The system could also distribute automated reminders to inspire employees to take action on those benefits specific to their needs.
The right platform will make your life easier by integrating all your HR systems, apps and software into one dashboard. As a result, employees have a single platform to use—and you have one to manage your metrics.
Setting a Path for Employee Growth and Development
If you’re doing things right, your employee is still with the team after a few months. During the first 60 or 90 days of onboarding, managers should work with their new employee to create measurable and attainable personal development goals. Don’t let employees go off and attain their goals independently. Instead, have managers use targeted, personalized messages to motivate employees, recommend appropriate learning management systems (LMS) courses, introduce workshops and encourage membership to a professional association. The more an organization can help support their employees’ advancement and encourage them to leave their comfort zone, the more challenged and engaged employees will feel.
Gathering Feedback on the Onboarding Process
Take time to understand what works and doesn’t work during onboarding to help you improve the process for new hires. Evive’s employee journey survey found that 50% of respondents said HR never checked in on them after their orientation period to make sure things were going well. Even more surprisingly, only 45% reported that their company surveyed their satisfaction with their onboarding or orientation experience.
Automation can trigger follow-up messages at the right time to help facilitate HR check-ins, gather feedback and ensure things are moving forward as expected. If feedback is applied correctly, it can improve your onboarding program, lead to business growth and increase employee morale. You give employees a voice and sense of ownership over the company culture by listening to their feedback.
More importantly, you learn what type of programs, benefits and resources employees would like to see in the future and gain insight into further personalizing the employee’s journey beyond onboarding, ensuring engagement through each touchpoint.
You can learn more about the employee journey here.