Employee Experience

What to Include in an Employee’s Onboarding Experience

Meet Gene. Gene is your new software developer. Before coming to the company, he talked with two HR reps and the hiring manager. On his first day, he’s given 30 minutes of history about the company, fills out some forms, and then sent to a cubicle to write code for the rest of the day. Gene is likely to quit within the first year.

While this might sound like a horrible experience, it’s unfortunately normal for many employees. According to the Harvard Business Review, 33 percent of new hires look for a new job within their first six months on the job and this can be largely attributed to their onboarding experience.

Now meet Kathy. The week before Kathy started at the new company she received an email from the HR manager telling her what to expect on her first day, and an email from her new manager saying he’s excited to welcome her to the team. She’s given a thorough orientation about the company and the team takes her out to lunch so she doesn’t have to eat alone at her desk. Once a week for her first month she shadows someone from a different department so she can learn more about the company. HR regularly checks in with her throughout her first six months. Kathy is likely to stay at this company for a long time because 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for at least three years after a great onboarding experience.

According to Liz Pavese-Kaplan Ph.D., Principal Consultant of Employee Experience for Qualtrics, “onboarding new employees is a make or break opportunity for organizations. These early experiences are highly influential to new hires’ overall perceptions of the company and impacts future engagement, motivation, and even intentions to stay. It’s a time to ensure you meet the expectations set during hiring, to reaffirm their choice to join, and maximize their ability to connect and contribute in the way they anticipate.”

Employee onboarding is not only a new hire orientation but a much longer and intentional process of integrating employees into their new role with the company. It’s the foundation of a great employee experience, which is critical to a company’s success.

According to research by Glassdoor, satisfied employees— employees who feel like their job is rewarding, have great managers, and see a career path— drive better financial performance for companies.

Steps to Include in an Onboarding Experience

  1. Reach out before the new hire starts - According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50 percent greater new-hire productivity and the onboarding process should begin before the employee even starts. The HR manager should reach out with a schedule for the first week, and any information the new hire needs to know (i.e.- dress code, parking, documents they need to bring, etc). Additionally, the employee’s manager should also reach out and let the new hire know their excited to have him/her on the team. You can also send them a personalized gift, so they feel welcomed before they even start.
  2. Prepare their workstation - Before the employee starts, their workstation should be set up with their computer and any additional equipment they’ll need to perform their jobs. They should be given access to any databases or drives they’ll need, be added to the appropriate distribution lists, and set up with email and business cards.
  3. New hire orientation - General new hire orientation for all new employees should occur on the first day and include information about the company history and culture, a tour of the office, and filling out any necessary paperwork. If possible, it’s great for new hires to hear the company vision from executives. If they can’t be there in person, show them a recorded video presentation of the C-suite welcoming them to the company and talking about their vision. It’s important to communicate purpose as a company and in a specific role. A recent survey by LinkedIn found that 74% of candidates want a job where they feel like their work matters.New hires should also meet with their managers and talk about their job description and expectations and get introduced to the team. It’s important to make sure they don’t eat lunch alone at their desk on their first day, so arranging a team lunch or group lunch is helpful.
  4. Schedule meetings with coworkers - The new hire should know what each person on their team does so they know who to ask when they need something. They can meet with each team member slowly over the first month or two. New hires should also shadow people in other departments (like customer service and sales) to gain general company knowledge and culture. This will promote bonding among team members and get the new hire oriented faster.
  5. Connect them to an onboarding buddy and mentor - An onboarding buddy takes the pressure off the manager to answer all the questions and helps the new employee feel connected on day one. Millennials especially want a connected experience and a recent study by PGI found that 70 percent of them want coworkers to act as a second family. Additionally, a mentor will teach them about the job and help them get acclimated to their jobs tasks more quickly.
  6. Set them up with a project their first week - New employees want to feel like they’re contributing to the company and that they’re making an impact. Setting them up with a project on the first week, especially one where they can gain an early win, will grow their confidence and become a member of the team faster.
  7. Survey new hires - All new hires should be surveyed so you know what worked and what needs improvement. Consider the best time to survey employees— after their first day, their first week, first month, first 3 months, or at all of those points. Regardless of when you send your onboarding survey, waiting too long to send onboarding and new hire survey requests means losing out on valuable insights. With Qualtrics Onboarding and New Hire Software, you can automate your surveys so you can collect information from new hires immediately after they pass a particular orientation milestone.

By gathering information from each new hire and tracking items such as satisfaction, manager feedback and the effectiveness of orientation processes, HR leaders and managers can maximize and optimize the investment they make in hiring and training new employees.

Assessing Survey Results

After you’ve surveyed your employees it’s time to review your feedback. You can use Text IQ to find trends in the open text survey responses and act on the problems and opportunities that matter most. It’s also important to let your employees know that you’ve heard their feedback and are making improvements. Qualtrics research found that 60% of U.S. employees reported having a way to provide feedback about their own employee experience but only 30% of U.S. employees said their feedback is acted upon by their employer. If your new employees are going to take the time to answer your survey, you want them to know it’s worth their time.

In addition, by connecting your onboarding feedback with other feedback across the employee lifecycle, you’re able to make connections between the onboarding experience and other key lifecycle events from development and engagement all the way through to attrition. This is an essential step in proving the impact and value of your onboarding process as well as modeling the impact of any improvements you put in place.

Employee engagement is a proven driver of employee productivity, attrition, revenue, and customer experience—and employee engagement starts the minute a new hire starts working at your organization. All companies should be measuring their ability to properly give new employees an outstanding experience.

Survey Template: New Hire Onboarding Survey Questions

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Diana Kaemingk

Diana Kaemingk is a contributor to the Qualtrics blog.

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