You probably already have a reasonable employee onboarding program. Which is a shame. Because reasonable isn’t exceptional.
Exceptional employee onboarding is proven to enhance your brand, drive engagement, increase productivity and boost retention. And it’s simple, if you use the right tools.
Exceptional employee onboarding has four prongs (or 4 C's). Like this.
Prong one: Organizational employee onboarding
Many businesses start and stop here. This is where you give new hires the basic info they need to navigate your business.
This is the sort of stuff you’d put in a first day welcome pack. Like:
Automate and deliver much of this info before your new hires’ first day. This means they don’t waste their first several hours – or days – learning the most basic of ropes.
So they can become productive faster. Which is, after all, why you hired them.
And it means you spend less time chasing endless paperwork and more time adding social, cultural and emotional value through the other three prongs of onboarding.
Or, you know, doing any of the other million-and-one things on your to-do.
Prong two: Functional employee onboarding
This is where you empower new hires to perform their best in their function. It’s the
Functional employee onboarding involves three things:
You hired Marketing Manager Mike for his SaaS expertise. He’s a great hire and you’re excited to see him boost your free trial conversion rate.
But he focusses his energy on acquisition. He achieves some great results – but they’re not the results you needed. He doesn’t have the anticipated business impact, which causes disappointment on all sides.
Mike ends up frustrated because he feels you don’t value his expertise. He becomes demoralized, and his work ethic and performance suffer. And ultimately, perhaps he becomes one of the
Which isn’t just frustrating for you - it also
On Mike’s first day, he and his boss sit down and discuss various challenges the department faces. Mike understands that acquisition is important but it’s secondary to increasing free trial conversion.
They discuss where Mike can add most value, and collaboratively set three, six, and nine-month performance targets aligned to the business’ goals. He’s assigned a job mentor for on-the-job training plus a targeted training session all about your current free trial set-up.
Mike immediately focusses his energy on your free trial conversion and achieves some quick wins. (Nearly
Those early wins give Mike confidence, which works like a snowball effect for later goals (that’s why the, should.) And regular check-ins surface any improvement areas, to keep Mike on track to smash later targets.
Overall Mike feels valued and engaged knowing he’s contributing positively to the business. It’s win, win, win for Mike, the business and you.
That’s why the second prong of employee onboarding matters.
Prong three: Social employee onboarding
This is where you help new hires integrate into your business and make friends. Which mightn’t seem like HR’s responsibility, but it definitely is.
Or at least, it should be if you care about happier, more engaged employees who perform better and stay with you longer.
Because than unhappy employees. by 50%. Which matters because the most important element of a happy work life. And
Plus, a feeling of. Which is a mega-watt tool in your arsenal because it saves you money on recruitment, cuts your wage bill, boosts your employer brand and powers better performance.
Which all means this: the social prong of employee onboarding is absolutely, totally, completely vital. A quick first-day office tour and introduction-overload won’t cut it.
Instead, create opportunities for your new hire to connect with current employees before their first day.
That’s something makes simple. Build a hub to introduce current employees, using testimonials and employee stories to break the ice.
And think offline too. Could you organize a pre-start social for your new hire to meet the team out-of-office? That’s a fantastic way to boost engagement during their notice period: the highest risk time for drop-outs.
Then once they start, make social onboarding a priority. Look for ways to encourage socializing across your business, like a buddy or mentor system, collaborative projects, communal meetings, and communal breaks.
Prong four: Cultureboarding
Onboarding and workplace culture are – or should be – closely entwined. Which seems obvious, when you say it aloud. But you’d be surprised how many businesses still don’t
They onboard into their office, sure. They tell new hires, ‘office hours are 8.30am until 5.30pm’ and ‘Sally Jones is your HR point of contact if you need help’.
Doesn’t her partner work somewhere in the business? I don’t want to offend her by airing concerns about her friends.
Cultureboarding is about explaining the difficult-to-explain stuff that makes your company what it is.
It means letting new hires peek behind the curtain. Telling them your values and mission, with tangible examples of how that works in the office. Showing them what your office environment is like – before their first day so they know what to wear, what time to arrive, and whether to bring lunch.
Spreading the responsibility for onboarding outside HR is important. HR only have one perspective. Diverse perspectives from colleagues, mentors and managers are puzzle pieces that complete the picture of your culture for new hires.
Is your employee onboarding program good enough
The first prong of employee onboarding is important. But it’s certainly not the end-point. If your business is guilty of stopping here, you’re missing many (or most) of the benefits of onboarding.
Like the impressive improvements across productivity, retention and engagement customers like