Employee engagement is the secret to company success. Why? Because when employees care about your company and goals, you’ll all have more success. Employees care more about their jobs and customers, which will drive your company’s value up. A Hewitt study showed that companies with 60-70 percent engaged employees had an average total shareholder’s return of 24.2 percent, while companies with engagement levels between 49-60 percent had only 9.1 percent returns. But what’s the secret to employee engagement?
What if I told you the most important thing you can do to have engaged employees is focus on onboarding? Starting out on the right foot (in other words, onboarding) can make or break an employee’s entire experience with your company.
While you want to get your new hires engaged right away, you shouldn’t rush their onboarding process. In fact, “accelerating” onboarding with a focus on employee engagement often means taking your time with the social aspect, while offering on-the-job training in manageable increments. From our BambooHR onboarding study, over 50 percent of new hires said “receiving organized, relevant and well-timed content” would make onboarding more helpful to them. In other words, you need to help hires go faster when they want to, but slow down when needed.
New hires have a lot of questions when they start a new job. Here are 5 questions your onboarding process should answer if you want to accelerate employee engagement:
1. Where do I fit in this company?
New hires need to understand the company’s overall goals and why their roles are an important part of them. One of the first (and most important) things your new hires needs to understand is why your company is. Introduce them to your vision and mission, as well as your company values. Make sure they know why you make the product or provide the service you do and why that really matters. When your people are all working to realize a common goal, working means so much more. When new hires can see the importance of their role in the company’s larger picture, they’ll feel more motivated to be an integral part of that.
2. Who do I talk to and for what?
People want to make personal connections. In fact, “Relationships [are] the heart of leadership and therefore must be the core of onboarding.” Understanding the inner workings of a company is a huge help. New hires need to know who can help them for different things. Take them on a tour and introduce them to people from different departments they’ll need to work with. You can even set new hires up with a buddy who can answer these questions for them. Although this type of information may not seem important, it’s very valuable as they begin to navigate your company.
3. What processes and tools should I understand?
It doesn’t matter how skilled your new hires are, your company will use tools and processes they won’t be familiar with. You’ll accelerate their engagement and productivity if you give them access to and provide a way for them to use these tools and processes right away. That means you need to have their logins and offer training on tools they’ll need. In addition, make sure to outline basic procedures and processes that are unique to your company. If you don’t have these processes documented, now’s a great time to do it!
4. Am I doing this right?
Early feedback is crucial. From the same onboarding study I referenced earlier, 47 percent of new hires “want review and feedback of early work” as a way to get productive and up-to-speed more quickly. What better way to guide a new hire to take the right path for success? Be sure to make this feedback positive and helpful at the same time. Managers should be checking in with new hires often to guide them in these early stages so it’s more of a nudge and not a U-turn because new hires were trying to figure things out on their own.
5. How is my performance measured?
People want to do good work and need to know, early on, how they will be measured when it comes time for a performance evaluation. What could be more clear than setting goals and then checking in to see if they were accomplished? Setting expectations helps new hires feel prepared and gives them an easier chance in succeeding. Don’t forget to recognize them for great early contributions and then continue to set goals.
Don’t let any of these questions go unanswered during the onboarding process, and new hires will be well on their way to being engaged and productive for years to come!