Posted on August 6, 2013

3 Tips for Engaging Employees During Onboarding

In a world where 70% of employees are not engaged in their work, today’s organizations are facing lower productivity, higher turnover costs and an overall decrease in growth. While 90% of executives understand the importance of employee engagement to their bottom line, only 25% have a plan in place to remedy disengagement.

“Employee engagement is not magic,” says Karen Crone, Paycor’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “It’s about everyday interactions that show your employees you care about them, and that you are in a career partnership with them.” Employee engagement may not be magic, but it is an ongoing process. That’s why it is important to engage employees during every stage of their career at your company.

One of the most critical times to focus on engagement is during the onboarding process for new hires. According to a Leadership IQ study of 20,000 newly-hired employees, “46% of new hires wash out in their first 18 months at a new job.” To give your new hires the best chance of success, follow these three tips to increase employee engagement during onboarding:

1. Make sure transactional elements go smoothly

To ensure the first-day experience is pleasant and consistent for every new hire, make sure all the transactional aspects are taken care of ahead of time. This could include getting their work area set up and entering their personal information, documentation and pay rate into the system. Reducing paperwork and other first-day headaches allows for a smooth transition into other aspects of onboarding.

2. Manage the welcome experience

On an employee’s first day, help them understand the big picture. Newly hired employees often feel overwhelmed by all the new information they are required to take in, and need to be reassured that they made the right choice by coming to work for you. Start new hires off on the right foot by:

* Teaching them about your company, your mission, your value proposition and how their job fits into the bigger picture of the company’s strategy.
* Walking them through the company’s organizational structure and explaining which people are in key roles.
* Posting a welcome sign or leaving a handwritten note at their desk.
* Making sure meetings are set up with the employees the new hire will be working with.
* Assigning each new hire an “onboarding mentor” who will show him or her the ropes.

Lay a solid foundation for high engagement on day one by making new hires feel they are part of a team and that their work is important and valuable.

3. Train and prepare new hires

One of the best ways to drive engagement during onboarding is to have a structured training program in place to ensure employees know how to perform their job functions. Programs like these increase the new hire’s comfort level and show them you take their development seriously. But go beyond job-related training: help employees envision a clear path for their future with your company. Helping them discover new opportunities, additional challenges and more responsibilities shows you care about them and their future growth. This can make the difference between employees seeing their duties as “just a job” versus a long-term career.

If you are like the majority of business leaders, you know that engagement is important, but don’t have a strategy in place to make it happen. *Get started on your company’s employee engagement strategy today: download The First 90 Days: Employee Engagement Checklist for more practical tips on driving engagement during a critical juncture in each employee’s career with your company.

Sources: Gallup 2013 State of the American Workplace Report, The Social Workplace, Leadership IQ New Hire Turnover Study