New hire engagement in the new normal and collaborating to solve today’s onboarding challenges
In Part 1 of this blog series, we took a close look at how employee onboarding has dramatically changed over the past several months as a result of COVID-19. Despite the fact that the pandemic took everyone completely off guard and significantly altered nearly every aspect of our everyday lives, we did not relent. Hardly! Instead, we pulled together and we rallied, because that’s what HR professionals do best. We pivoted, shifted and stretched the limits of our ingenuity and creativity. We did not concede. In the end, we realized there’s actually some good that came out of this bizarre, uncomfortable, bewildering and confusing time.
Our first key strategy was IMPRESS: be on your “A” game. Be prepared and get organized. Reinforce your new hire’s decision to say “yes” to your organization and get excited about it! Celebrate it by creating special moments, personal touches and lots of enthusiasm. Lots of great ideas for you and your team to try!
Part 2: INVEST
Be intentional in every move.
The second key strategy to revamp your onboarding process is INVEST. When you invest in something, you put your resources towards it with the expectation of a benefit (or a return) in the future. That’s why you need to be intentional in every move in the new world of onboarding, because by investing in your new hire’s future, you’re investing in your company’s future.
So how do you invest in your new hires to ensure they stick around for the long haul? With our panel of acclaimed HR gurus – Jess Von Bank, Don MacPherson and Click’s own Senior Solutions Manager, Danielle Balow – we tackled that question head on during our interactive session at the 2020 HR Tech Symposium.
Don’t just go through motions
At some point, many of us have been there: we’ve planned a stellar first week with our new hire, and it’s awesome! Then slowly and eventually, we fall right back into our same old dull, day-in-day-out routines. SPOILER ALERT: This will not improve your onboarding! Make a dedicated plan – build out a structured process – and stick to it.
The success of your onboarding efforts comes from a thoughtful, structured training plan that starts on Day 1 and continues for months or up to a year. When you invest the time, consideration and effort into your new onboarding process up front, your employee’s work should tie back to the organization’s broader vision. The lesson here? Act with purpose, every step of the way. Commit to the success of your new hires; they’ll recognize and appreciate it.
Continuously check in
Connecting regularly with your new hires has always been an integral part of the onboarding process. It keeps the lines of communication open and provides clarity for new hires. Unfortunately, one of the most underrated tasks in an onboarding program is the routine pulse check.
Now more than ever, especially with the pandemic at our heels, check ins with your new hires are more important than ever. Why? According to a Gartner survey from April 2020, 41% of employees don’t feel connected to colleagues when working remotely. This is coupled with 26% of employees report feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Because a structured onboarding program only works if it makes sense to the recipient, you need to be extra vigilant in your efforts. Reinforce your connection with new hires by formalizing regular check ins at the beginning of their onboarding process, and match intent with follow through. Regular check ins with your new hires – whether it’s in person or via video – are vital to keeping them engaged while helping curtail feelings of loneliness and isolation. Ensure this is done consistently for reinforcement.
Build a personal connection
Establishing personal relationships with your boss or colleagues isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Add a pandemic and virtual working environments into the mix, and it feels downright impossible! But it’s not.
As a manager, you need to make sure your new hire is not only figuratively connected in this virtual world – a computer, internet access, cloud files, etc. – but also literally connected – to other members of the team, other business units in the company, vendors, etc. From there, establish a true connection with your new hires to make up for the missing human touch.
Jess Von Bank couldn’t have said it better: “This year more than any other year, we humanized work…we have truly humanized the experience of work. And what a great opportunity, what a great moment for onboarding, to really see your new employees – the talent in your organization – as humans.” MacPherson stressed the eminent value of connecting with new hires. “You need to make introductions with others and build bridges; lean into their uniqueness,” he said.
It’s crucial to recognize and appreciate team members as the singular, one-of-a-kind humans they are. They have diverse goals, skill sets, interests and communication styles. To invest in the person wholeheartedly, it’s imperative that you acknowledge these things. In fact, 53% of employees said they’d stay at their jobs longer if their employers showed them more appreciation.
New hire “investment” tips from the experts
- Assign a mentor or “ambassador for success” to help your new hires get ingrained into the organizational culture, following a foolproof, predetermined process.
- Administer relevant trainings and certifications to new hires at strategic times.
- Launch a fun personality test or assessment to learn more about your unique employees. Walk away with tangible feedback to help cater your management style.
- Deploy seamless, digital surveys to collect valuable feedback from employees. For example, a corporate vision analysis. Does your team feel connected to the bigger picture and the long-term goals of your organization?
- Launch engagement pulse surveys to check in with new hires at key milestones: 30/60/90 days!
- Rely on an automated platform to administer critical to-dos – like goal setting and career planning – so your managers aren’t left high and dry.
- Remember that managers need help too. Set up a framework that holds them accountable but makes it easy and enjoyable!
- Send a “thank you” video from executive team members to celebrate work anniversaries!
What’s the next step?
The pandemic has created a new and improved bar for onboarding, and as a result, it’s time you made a more significant investment in your new hires. By using the tips for investing more in your new hires from our panel of experts, you can intentionally and thoughtfully transform your candidates into happy, productive brand advocates.
In the final part of our series, we’ll explore the third “I” – INSPIRE. How do you inspire new hires in our new normal? How do you keep the momentum going and motivate them to bring their best game? Find out next week!
When you’re ready to take the next step of focusing on your people and letting the process run itself, we’re here for you.