If you’re reading this article, you’re probably in the market to create a formal onboarding plan, which only 32% of companies currently have. That’s great! But you may not know everything your onboarding plan should cover, and it could lead to an unrealistic plan or worse — getting overwhelmed by all the options and not implementing one at all. So we’ll lay it out for you here: when trying to put together your onboarding plan, stick to the four Cs and you’ll have everything covered.
Communication is important no matter what field you’re in, but it’s especially important when introducing your new employee to their workplace. Studies show that 68% of employees believe the frequency of communication in their workplace directly impacts their job satisfaction. If your onboarding plan amounts to “here are some forms, go fill them out, get to work,” without interacting with each new hire throughout the process, it shows a profound lack of communication at your company, and your employees will notice.
Instead, make sure to guide them through every step of the onboarding process. Give them a formal, well-prepared welcome and assign someone to help guide them through their first day. Talk to them about role expectations, and let them know you can answer any questions they might have. It will make them feel cherished and it will help to develop high levels of employee satisfaction from the beginning.
You want new hires to feel welcomed, but there’s no way of getting around that pesky paperwork. No matter how big or small your business is, you need to make sure all of your employees understand the workplace policies, and know what they’re getting into, legally, when they take your job offer. Unfortunately, 44% of employees don’t know their own company policies, which is a dangerous precedent to set on a hire’s first day, and could open you up to lawsuits on the first day.
If you want new hires to remember that they’re required to refill the coffee maker if they’re the last one to use it (and if you managed to get that in writing, we’d like to talk to you), you need to speed up the paperwork. Recently, studies have shown that humans can only focus on one thing for so long — specifically, there’s a 90-minute pattern humans follow when it comes to performing a single task. Any longer and our focus takes a nose dive. With automated forms that reduce the amount of redundancy in paperwork and allow you create a single and succinct onboarding packet. You’ll cut down on paperwork time, leaving employees free to focus on all the other great parts of their first day.
Along with a great welcome message and easy-peezy paperwork, you need to emphasize company culture. This should be part of the welcome message; don’t make them feel like another cog in the corporate machine with a generic message from the CEO. Instead, offer a warm, personal greeting from someone they’ll actually talk to, preferably the same person who will guide them through the rest of their first day.
Why is culture so important? Because a good company culture makes everyone feel that their work is valued and starts new hires off on the road to great performance. And as we know, when employees feel valued, they’re more engaged. Companies with engaged employees out perform unengaged companies by 202%. With that big of a difference between engaged and unengaged employees, you can’t afford to make culture optional.
Even with a great culture, you need to do more than say “we’re a fun place to work!” You have to establish a connection between your new hire and the rest of your employees, and integrate this connection into your onboarding plan. Your office may have beanbag chairs and a slide to the bottom floor, but if your new hire doesn’t get along with anyone (which could also be a problem with communication!), they’re still going to leave.
To foster great working relationships from day one, implement more situations where your new hire can get acquainted with everyone else. Even if they’re not in the same department, have them learn more about the work other employees do on a daily basis. Arrange a social gathering at the end of the new hire’s first week, so they can get to know the people they work with on a more personal level. This will help disperse the cloud of unfamiliarity, and help build friendships that will make everyone work just a bit better.
Your onboarding plan isn’t so hard to implement when you remember the fourCs: Communication, Compliance, Culture and Connection. Keep these four pillars in mind and you’ll have a much better onboarding experience — for the employee AND for your company.
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The author surveyed 5,600 workers from various industries from January 2019 to December 2021, finding that worker dissatisfaction not only starts as early as age 25 — it’s been here since before the pandemic started. Her advice: aim for work-life alignment, not work-life balance. Find out what drives them as an individual — and reshape their jobs together. Engage them in the recruiting process.
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