Business Advice Blog

7 Ways to Improve Your Employee Onboarding Process

Engineer Training A Newly Hired Employee.

Is a structured new employee orientation process in place in your business, or does each new hire get a different experience on their first day? Many businesses “get” the value of a well-planned onboarding experience, but others still play it by ear. They fail to understand the link between a quality orientation experience and prospects for long-term retention (which, after all, is the ultimate goal when any employee is hired).

Consider these eye-opening statistics:

  • Businesses lose up to 25% of new employees every year.
  • New hires can take as much as 12-18 months “to gain proficiency comparable to their tenured co-workers.”
  • Businesses employing a “standard onboarding process” see more than 50% greater productivity in their new hires.
  • More than 75% of new employees who achieve their first “official performance milestone” went through formal orientation training.

If your onboarding process could use some fine-tuning, keep these key action steps in mind:

1. Put a documented plan in place. First impressions really do matter. If new hires go through what feels like a sloppy, disorganized and uninformative onboarding process, they’ll likely form negative opinions about the company they’re working for that never go away. To offset this impression, document a planned, step-by-step process that remains consistent, regardless of who’s been hired and who’s overseeing the orientation experience.

2. Get paperwork out of the way. Too many new hire programs submerge the rookie employee in a swamp of paperwork, taking up precious hours on his or her first day that might be more efficiently used to bring that person “into the fold.” As much as possible, send HR and benefits-related paperwork to the new employee ahead of time, so necessary documentation can be at least partly completed before that first step into the workplace as a new employee.

3. Avoid overwhelming employees on their first day. It’s important to manage your expectations regarding an employee’s first day on the job. You want them up and working, but if you pile on too much information—or assign them a potentially difficult task—you risk losing their attention and motivation. “Employee retention is a marathon,” notes business consultant Larry Alton. “You don’t want to exhaust them on day one.”

4. Design a welcoming video. A brief, informative video will likely be a welcome change of pace during the onboarding process. Think of it as “selling” your company—that is, reinforcing the new hire’s belief that he or she made the right choice in accepting the position. Present a little about the company’s history, emphasize aspects of the culture you want to get them excited about, and include a welcome message from the CEO. It’s a significant first step in making people feel part of the organization.

5. Choose your orientation language carefully. Every company has its own jargon, but there’s no reason new employees must be versed in it on their first day at work. Be clear in all the language used during the onboarding process, avoiding technical terms and inside lingo no one can be expected to understand. It’s okay to introduce a couple of key phrases worth knowing, but for the most part, lay out the path ahead in language everyone can easily grasp.

6. Point the way towards additional resources. Most new hires will want to learn more about the company and its culture, just not all at once. Compile a list of resources, links on the company website, etc., and encourage individuals to find out more about their new workplace environment. Don’t make them waste time at home trying to locate materials that will help them better fit in.

7. Finally, give new employees something they can take home after their first day. Chances are, you offer branded items to customers—why not to new employees as well? Put together a welcome bag of these items, a sign of your appreciation for their first day of work. Carefully selected “branded swag,” while seemingly small, “encourages a great sense of welcome and belonging to your new hire.”

Want more advice on employee recruitment and retention? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

 

Low-Cost Ways to Promote Employee Wellness

employee wellness, employee health

Have you implemented a formal employee wellness program in your business? If not, there are compelling reasons to consider moving forward with a program that emphasizes the value of a healthier lifestyle and that offers resources for employees to pursue this admirable goal.

Above and beyond the simple fact that healthy employees are productive employees, a wellness program offers businesses these added benefits:

  • Reduced costs in terms of insurance coverage and less employee sick days
  • A key resource in retaining employees, because a company “willing to spend time and resources on employee health is a company that cares about its employees
  • A valuable tool for new employee acquisition, especially among Millennials who see corporate-sponsored health programs as a key part of their benefits package

The costs of instituting and promoting wellness in your workforce don’t have to be prohibitive. A considerable effort should first go into building awareness of healthy living, exercise and good eating habits into the company’s culture.

Here are other wellness promotion tips:

Think creatively about healthy resources. Explore local resources that employees can use to take better care of themselves (discounted memberships at a local gym, signing up with community walk-a-thons and other charitable events, etc.). Not only can these efforts generate valuable partnerships with community businesses and nonprofits, but if you give employees branded t-shirts or water bottles, they’ll help spread word of your business while taking part in community events.

Get your executive team involved. “Wellness” shouldn’t be restricted to your front-line or back-office employees only. Good health extends to the business owner, as well as his or her executive team. Promoting employee wellness will carry much more credibility if the CFO is seen at the head of the pack of a company-sponsored 5K or similar event. Leading by example is always the most persuasive strategy.

Get employees up and moving. Just getting employees away from their workstations for a few minutes every day will get them feeling better. Encourage them to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Move printers and copiers farther away from their cubicles, so a few extra steps are needed to finish a task. Explore opportunities for “walking meetings” with one or two employees, rather than sitting in a conference room. Stretching and walking is good for everyone!

Encourage the use of wearables. Small wearable devices like smartwatches, headphones, fitness wristbands, etc., are increasingly being incorporated into employees’ daily lives. They’re often used to monitor physical activity, stress management and sleep patterns—and because the device are linked to easy-to-use apps, employees quickly adapt to having wearables be a part of normal life.

A report by the Health Enhancement Research Organization offers specific best practices for employers considering the use of wearables, such as:

  • Provide devices to employees (or subsidize their purchase), instead of mandating individual purchases.
  • Develop health-related goals and offer incentives for employees to reach those goals.
  • Get spouses and domestic partners involved to boost participation and offer an off-site support system.
  • Start with a pilot program to assess the value of wearables for your company.
  • Be prepared to refine the program in order to keep employee interest high.

Promote smarter eating habits. What nutritional options are available in your workplace? Employees with better choices will likely make better decisions about what to consume during the workday. Get rid of junk-food vending machines. Sponsor ongoing potlucks and encourage employees to contribute healthy dishes. When celebrating birthdays or work anniversaries, offer fruit bouquets or power bars instead of cake. Offer nutritious drinks and snacks at weekly meetings. All of these options will help employees cut back on poor food choices, both at the office and in their personal lives.

Finally, survey employees themselves for ideas on how to improve wellness in the workplace. They might come up with low-cost ideas that are ideal for your company culture. By doing so, you’ll likely increase their appreciation for the effort you’re making on their behalf.

Want more advice on making your business more productive? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!