A blue sticky note says welcome aboard to a new employee onboarding

Only 12% of U.S. employees say their company does a good job of employee onboarding. Ouch.

Effective onboarding in an increasingly hybrid environment of in-person and remote workspaces is daunting. A relatively new challenge is that of helping remote workers develop relationships and role clarity from “home”. Gallup analytics reveal nearly one in five employees report their recent onboarding was poor—or nonexistent. 

Organizations need robust onboarding experiences that help remote workers integrate and understand how to become productive team members. 

Hiring the right person is important. Retaining that person begins with a comprehensive onboarding process. It behooves organizations to invest in an onboarding experience that powerfully conveys what is important. Consider these three themes as you evaluate your onboarding process.

1 – Four Essential Employee Onboarding Components

 Alice Snell’s research on the best practices for onboarding suggests four essential components: 

  • Process Analysis Be mindful of all stakeholders that will interact with the newcomer, and how (internal and external).
  • Implementation – Who needs to know what and when in the process? Who will inform the new employee of what and by when?
  • Integration – How will that information be integrated and by who?
  • Reporting – Monitor the process and evaluate for improvement. 

An efficient, streamlined process for onboarding reduces costs, hastens productivity, and increases employee satisfaction and retention. A well-began employment experience is prudent ROI. 

2 – The First 30-60 Days of Employee Onboarding

The first 30-60 days are pivotal to effective socialization and fostering of meaningful relationships. Abundant research reveals that employees want and need relationships at work in which they feel included, supported, and respected. The article “Navigating Uncharted Waters: Newcomer Socialization Through the Lens of Stress Theory” explores personal and work-related stressors and the socialization factors that reduce them. Three critical factors are:

  • Integration into one’s group
  • Learning one’s role 
  • Gaining confidence in that role

It is essential to structure and communicate approaches to achieving the above. Research indicates newcomers experience less negative stress when clear structure is provided. These structured approaches help clarify:

  • One’s scopes of responsibility and authority relative to others
  • Expectations relative to the core values of the organization. 

3 – Leverage New Employees Early On

Leveraging the new employees’ strengths early on is a vital component to an effective onboarding journey. Alignment with the organization’s culture ought to enhance a newcomer’s identity and strengths, never diminish them. Focusing on how the strengths of a new hire fit in the organization is key.

In the article, “Reinventing Employee Onboarding” (Cable, Gino & Staats), the authors contend that, while indoctrinating a new hire with the company’s identity, we often miss out on leveraging their personal strengths when it comes to socialization. Only 29% of new hires say they feel fully prepared and supported in their role after their onboarding experience. (True, multiple factors affect this.)

When newcomers feel their personal strengths are identified and applied to their work, they experience increased job satisfaction, lower stress and burnout, and greater connection to colleagues. 

The Bottom Line

To retain new, talented employees, an exceptional onboarding experience is a necessary early step. TurningWest offers an Onboarding Checklist and other resources to help you create and implement your own exceptional onboarding journey.

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