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Corning Glass Works, the American multinational technology company, found that employees who went through a structured orientation program were 69 per cent more likely to stay with the company for three years. Onboarding is as much a skill as it is science, here’s a handful of ways you can increase the odds in your favour.
Structure, structure, structure.
While it can be efficient to hold everything in a day, humans don’t remember information best this way. Think about creating a structured plan over the first week or month for new arrivals instead. Another tip is varying the level of the employees who run the sessions; think about making the presenters as junior as sense allows. Not only does this instil trust in the lower ranks from the off, but it also is a good way to build leadership skills and identify areas for improvement quickly. Physical checklists are also a great way to not just make sure everything is covered, but give the new employee a sense of progression, rigour and personal development in the early months.
Make values stand out.
Orientation isn’t just about learning about the business, it’s also about learning the culture. Stamp London Consultant, Matt Ballantine, described how a large energy company even gives contractors a full induction including how to safely use a staircase to align everyone; “While this may seem like an insane thing to do, the company instilled a deep appreciation of safety across the business that some of their staff (those on gas rigs in the North Sea in particular) faced on a daily basis.” Bringing things to life for those who may not be on the front line is as important to those who are. Disney and Three UK are examples of other companies who make their employees man the front lines – yes, in costume in Disney’s case – to see how customers actually interact and what the impact of their role is.
Personalise the experience.
As soon as the letter of agreement is signed, start thinking about how to make the new starter’s life a little easier and less anxious on the build-up to the first day. From commuting options, to dress code, to first-day procedures, think about the journey from signing to stepping through the door. First impressions matter and last in a new job. If you’re organising a welcome lunch, ask about food preferences. A buddy system could also be used, and again, a varied selection of employees could be good here.
Entering a new business can be daunting. People don’t bring their full selves out on day one and it can be important to blend in until they get their bearings. A welcome desk kit is a good way to set a tone, help them make their space their own and put minds at rest. Think about what items could help your organisation instil ideals, provide comfort and behaviours on the first day. A notepad? Coffee mug? Water bottle? Map? Key chain? Whatever it is, make it a big deal and help that person fit in. An easy- to-create but customisable kit is a great way to show new-starters they matter and you’re glad they’re there.
Clap in, clap out.
People come and go but the way they arrive and depart can say a lot about a business, it can also harm a business. Clapping people in and out of a business can foster a sense of pride and acknowledges the journey that people go on in their professional lives. The practice is simple – everyone gathers at a central location and either line the halls to clap people into the business on their first day, or their last day. Attendance is mandatory.
Check in after onboarding has ‘finished’.
Create a procedure, whatever size business you are, that features a solid check in with the new recruit at the 30, 60 and 90-day marks. Beyond receiving feedback on the initial onboarding process itself, issues can be identified and discussed at an early stage rather than when probation is set to end. Consider making onboarding success a key metric for your business whether you have three employees or three hundred. The benefits go beyond time and money saved to create a more robust business that has employees who understand the mission to those who will help you shape it as you grow. If you’re looking for space to house new employees, a Fora workspace is the perfect option: At Fora, we grow with your business. You can size up (or down) whenever you need to. Check out our locations here or book a tour via the panel on the left.