3 ways to improve your onboarding process

and excite new hires in their first week

Published on: May 2018

Written by: Deon Greyling

So you just spent a lot of time and resources recruiting.

I am sure that you had a great talent matrix, with many different competencies and capabilities, and that there were probably several assessments and interviews involved (possibly three or four for the short-listed candidates). Then you picked the best of the best, and offered her a position, which she accepted.In addition to this, there were all the recruitment fees, HR and IT processes, etc., necessary for getting her in the door. After all of this, finally your new recruit arrives, bright-eyed and eager to make a difference.

So how do you get your new team member not only excited about her new company, but also engaged and willing to do the best work of her life?

In my experience working with many large organizations as well as in my own organization, I have seen employees’ first few months on the job play out in many different ways. At least half of new recruits will spend the first month of their new career wondering if they made the right choice (and they probably did have a choice!)

But either way, HR will tell you it takes at least six to nine months to get new people contributing meaningfully to the business. You may be thinking – why does it take so long? My hypothesis is that we waste time doing the wrong things during the onboarding process (that is, if there is one) and don’t spend enough time focusing on the essential elements that really matter for new employees.

In my experience observing successful onboarding, I have noticed that there are three key mechanisms for exciting new people about the organization that they have joined:

  1. Share your vision, strategy and business model
    If you did your job well, you have just hired the smartest, most talented person that you could attract – somebody with great business acumen and solid financial literacy. Although your new employee definitely did her research and probably knows more about your website than most of your current employees, she probably doesn’t yet know your vision for the business. Now is the time to share that with her.

    Learning the insiders’ perspective can only add to her knowledge and help her become more invested in driving the organization to new heights. Take your time with this – you have the opportunity to tell a powerful story about what your businesses’ vision means to you and why you believe it is compelling.

    Show your new employee the path that you believe will help achieve the company vision as well as how the business makes money. Your new employee decided to join your business, so she should be just as vested in the success of your business as you are!

  2. Map out how your new employee will contribute to the success of the business
    According to HBR, purpose has been proven to not only inspire higher levels of employee engagement, but also drive better long term business results. Once your new employee understands where and how she will contribute to the success of the business, onboarding and training activities become more than tedious and necessary tasks. Providing a roadmap and a bigger picture view for your new employee allows her to see training as a mechanism for success – the essential activities that will allow her to ramp up and ultimately contribute to growing the business, executing the vision that you described earlier. Remember, your new employee should be as invested in the success of the business as you are!
  3. Demonstrate why customers adore your company
    Helping your new hire get excited about your customers and how your products and services impact customers’ lives is essential. It provides further context as to why this new hire chose your company, and acts as motivation for her to do the best work of her life here.
In conclusion

Using these three key items during onboarding will unlock your new hire’s potential, lifting her view from “just doing the job” to giving her best work in service of your company’s strategy. Most importantly, you have provided the context that she needs to succeed – a vision and a roadmap, a purpose and reason for her work.