The rub? It’s painfully clear: a refreshed approach to onboarding is needed. Right now. Click’s Senior Solutions Manager Danielle Balow says, “we have to throw the rule book out the window and reimagine what onboarding looks like. Because now – more than ever – the environment, the dynamic of onboarding and the employee experience have all completely changed.”
But how do we accomplish this daring feat? Our employee journey experts recommend a three-step methodology to revitalize your onboarding program, post-COVID-19.
Part 1: IMPRESS
Be on your “A” game
You know what they say about first impressions. Make that one chance count with your new hires! When you’re intentional about your onboarding, it solidifies your brand within your new hire’s mind. As Jess Von Bank stated, “We have to understand that people are in different places and need lots of support right now. We need to approach them with empathy. Many do need that outlet for their mental health. If they don’t have it and are constantly isolated, it will wear on them.”
That’s why being on your “A” game is vital for successful onboarding, whether we’re in a pandemic or not! Don MacPherson agreed. “In my opinion, the onboarding process – particularly that first week – is like a first date. If you don’t show them the respect they deserve, their enthusiasm is going to vanish. It’s going to go away very, very quickly.”
Prepare & be organized
To stack the cards in your favor and ensure Day 1 and beyond run smoothly, administer pre-boarding tasks prior to Day 1 through a seamless, fully virtual platform, and let employees complete employment forms and signatures digitally. That way, you’ll be ready to make a great first impression on Day 1.
MacPherson emphasized the importance of a great first impression. “Show up on time, be ready for them. Have a smile to welcome them.” In addition, he recommends getting paperwork completed before the new hire starts as well as formalizing specific plans for your onboarding program. “This is going to be the biggest decision they make in their life. Be sure you’re ready for them and instill that confidence,” MacPherson commented.
Extend that awesome first impression with a comprehensive agenda that engages new employees and welcomes them into your organization. Set up introductory meet and greets with the immediate team, leadership and business units within your company. Schedule a team lunch so new employees can interact with colleagues at the get-go.
Reinforce the “Yes”
“Show up on your new hire’s first day as your best self, like you’re making that first date impression for the long-haul,” MacPherson suggested. Make sure you get them started on the right foot. Make them feel like they’re part of the team from the start: coordinate team interactions.
It’s crucial to show your enthusiasm and excitement right off the bat; this will help instill confidence in your new hires, underscore the handoff and reinforce the “yes!” To capitalize on the “yes,” distribute routine digital communications with strategic messages to help prepare and get them excited to embark upon their new employee journey at your organization.
No one likes starting on their first day only to realize someone in Procurement forgot to order them an optical mouse or heaven forbid, a computer (that really happened to me once; it was not a good first day). Proactively assign tasks to your Operations team as needed to get your new hire set up and situated with the right equipment (computer, keyboard, application and systems access, business cards, etc.).
Finally, don’t let all your hard work be for naught. Schedule regular check-ins with new employees to ensure they understand their role and responsibilities. Make yourself available to answer any questions they may have and offer support when needed.
Go beyond the basics with your onboarding process
Here’s your time to make your onboarding process shine! It’s the new normal, so try new things. Get creative and think outside the box when it comes to new strategies, concepts or processes, and iterate on them for refinement. There’s no playbook for what we’re all going through right now, so the sky’s the limit!
Create special moments with your new employees. Jess Von Bank encourages this because it engenders advocacy and building brand ambassadors. “This is your moment! You don’t want new hires to be neutral or silent, and you definitely don’t want detractors. This is THE MOMENT.”
A personal touch will take those special moments even further, signifying their importance on the team and at the company, as well as your commitment to their success.
Summing it all up
Given the increased employee expectations and higher standards from the pandemic, your employees deserve more in the onboarding process. And they expect it. It’s time to treat your team members as true family members, intentionally and thoughtfully transforming them from candidates to advocates. That’s why the first “I” has to be IMPRESS; it’s ensuring that you start your new hires on the right foot
In Part 2 of our series, we’ll delve into the second “I” – INVEST. What does it mean to your organization? What does it mean for your new hires? Find out next week!
And when you’re ready to take the next step of focusing on your people and letting the onboarding process run itself, we’re here for you!