How do we go beyond the onboarding and orientation process and take steps to ensure it remains sustainable?
When it comes to your induction/onboarding program, the most important things to consider when evaluating your program are:
How effective is your program in making the new employee feel welcome and part of the team?
Does your program give the new employee an authentic experience that is in alignment with your organizational culture so as not to set up false expectations?
Does the employee have the clarity he/she needs re: orientation, roles, responsibilities, metrics, culture, resources, communication, etc. to make a positive impact on the organization?
Does the program cater to a variety of learning styles?
Is the program facilitated in such a way that engages the new employees in dialogue and knowledge sharing and connects the desired behaviors with organizational performance and business goals?
In order to ensure that the learning gets applied and that you are developing a sustainable approach to onboarding/orientation, your program needs to be viewed as a process — not a single event. The program needs to include retention strategies and management/coaching support beyond the initial three day experience. Following the session, the manager/supervisor should meet with the new employee to debrief and discuss:
What elements were most beneficial?
Where is more information/clarity needed and by when?
What are the potential obstacles?
What actions will the new employee take to implement learning?
What actions will the manager take to support the new employee?
Agree to process for monitoring and measuring progress.
Vary the types of connections that you make with the new employee. In addition to the group event and the one-on-one time with their manager/supervisor, incorporate less formal, small group gatherings of staff members in the new hires first few days and weeks.
Consider creating a systematic way to reinforce key elements (company values, reminders and organizational success stories/case studies) in smaller packages (such as a weekly email) to new hires for the first 90 days.
The more specific your onboarding process is for your company goals and culture, the better. To obtain actionable feedback, build in evaluation methodologies. For example, at 90 days and six months out, ask new employees and their managers to reflect on the program and provide their input as to:
What information is essential?
What is missing that would have been helpful?
What information or experiences have not proven to be beneficial?
Where is more reinforcement needed?
What would they change if they were in charge of the program?
Regularly reflecting on and evaluating your onboarding process is critical and benefits new hires, co-workers, productivity, morale and the bottom line.