4 Tips for integrating your online and offline onboarding processes
1. Provide an unforgettable first day of work
An employee who feels undervalued at work is 34% more likely to leave the company within one year (Jobvite, 2018). Just imagine starting your first day of work already feeling undervalued or unseen.
As an employer, it is crucial to make the first day of work unforgettable for your new employees. You certainly want to avoid situations where the new employee shows up without anyone knowing and doesn't have a clear idea of what they're supposed to do (awkward!).
During the preboarding period (the time before the first day of work), it's always great to get to know our new employees. Ask them to send a photo and a brief bio about themselves via the online platform. Then share this information throughout the organization, whether it be via intranet, email, or Slack. Moreover, if you have a welcoming screen for visitors, use it to welcome your new employee on his or her first day of work.
Sharing a photo and bio of new employees allows current employees to put a face to the name and look forward to their arrival. It also makes starting a conversation much easier and more comfortable for everyone involved.
[.callout-small]#Protip: Carnivore, vegan, lactose intolerant or gluten-free? Ask during the preboarding process what your new employee prefers to eat and prepare his or her favorite lunch on their first day. Going the extra mile can make all the difference in ensuring a successful first day of work.[.callout-small]
2. Help your new employee build a network
People are social creatures. Make sure your new employee can build a network from the very beginning. Social integration is one of the pillars that creates a good onboarding experience and results in a 69% greater chance of retaining employees for three years or more (SHRM, 2010).
Introduce the new employee to new colleagues as early as possible (preferably during preboarding) via the onboarding platform. Who are the members of the management team and who are their direct colleagues? For example, let colleagues speak in a video or share an organizational chart.
Building a network offline
Take this offline as well: plan 'coffee dates' in the first few weeks. Let the newcomer have a cup of coffee with important people within the organization and encourage sharing of experiences and knowledge. Let the new employee share his or her discoveries via the platform.
Don't forget to involve employees from other departments and/or those who have been working for the organization for a longer period of time, so that the new employee gets a good idea of the different disciplines within the organization.
This way, the new employee can immediately 'observe' the behavior to fit into the culture as quickly as possible. How do employees interact with each other? How do employees talk to each other? What is everyone wearing?
These connections and knowledge about the company culture ensure that he or she feels more connected to the organization, knows who to turn to with questions, and can contribute to the success of your organization more quickly.
3. Discuss mutual expectations
The contract is signed, yes! Explicit expectations are recorded on paper, such as salary and contract duration. However, implicit expectations are quickly forgotten, such as the way in which you are valued or opportunities for advancement.
Research shows that 43% of employees who quit within 90 days say that the job did not meet the expectations they had beforehand (Jobvite, 2018). Therefore, it is important to make these expectations crystal clear during the onboarding process...and to express them to each other.
For example, check the progress of the new employee every two weeks and discuss the answers in a face-to-face conversation. You can ask these questions via your online onboarding platform. This could include:
- Did the job meet your expectations? Are you performing the tasks you thought you would?
- What went well and what could have been better?
- What is your best achievement so far?
- What lessons have you learned?
- What do you need to do your job better?
- What are your goals for the next quarter?
- Do these goals align with the team's vision and KPIs?
- If you were the CEO, what would you change in the company right now?
Remember that it's all about mutual expectations. Employees are 23% more likely to stay when their manager clearly explains their role and responsibilities (TINYpulse, 2019). Don't let your employees wonder what they need to do on a daily basis to meet the expectations of the organization.
Create a personal development plan with milestones at, for example, 60 and 90 days to measure mutual expectations and goals.
[.callout-small]Learn how to create a 30-60-90 Day Plan for your new hires[.callout-small]
4. Make the new employee feel useful right way
The new employee wants to feel useful and involved in the organization as soon as possible. If you use an online platform for onboarding, this is a good place to ask for feedback on the process. Who can evaluate the onboarding better than the new employee? Use that fresh perspective!
For example, you can use a digital platform to distribute a questionnaire to find out how they experienced their onboarding. This way, new employees feel heard and can immediately contribute to the organization by improving the onboarding process. Some questions you could consider asking are:
- How did the onboarding platform help you feel welcome?
- On a scale of 1 to 5, how well were you provided with practical information to prepare for your first day of work?
- On a scale of 1 to 5, how do you rate the onboarding program through the tool?
- Did you miss anything in the preboarding or onboarding process?
- What tip would you like to give new employees?
- Does the online tool align well enough with your onboarding program?
Connect online and offline by, for example, reviewing the feedback provided by the new employee via the platform during the end-of-probation conversation with the manager, buddy, or HR. And as HR, show that you are doing something with this feedback. Win-win!
The power of combining online and offline approaches in onboarding
An online onboarding platform can be a valuable tool to enhance the onboarding program, but it should not be used as a standalone solution. It's important to combine both online and offline approaches to truly make an impact. Face-to-face moments are necessary for an online platform to contribute to the onboarding of new employees.
An online onboarding platform can be seen as a guide to help new employees navigate their onboarding journey. Just like in a movie or series, where the hero is supported by a mentor to develop into the best version of themselves. Because what is Luke Skywalker without Yoda? The Karate Kid without Mr. Miyagi and Sherlock Holmes without Dr. Watson?
Using an online platform for onboarding can make all the difference in how quickly a new employee feels at home and gains knowledge in the organization. This leads to better productivity and utilization of their talents. It's like how Facebook helps you connect with friends, Instagram lets you share and discover, and Google Maps guides you to your destination.
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