Don’t Waste Your First Impressions: Why Onboarding Software Matters

We love a great onboarding process.  While ongoing training is important too, there’s something special about the first few days on the job. In this series about onboarding software, we’ll hear about why onboarding is important for employee and team success. Just click here to jump to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

A positive onboarding experience is a critical component in helping companies keep their top talent and drive employee engagement, experts say. It’d be wise not to waste it.

According to a SHRM article written by Roy Maurer in 2015, a 2009 study by the Aberdeen Group found that 86 percent of senior executives and HR employees felt that a new hire’s decision to stay with a company long-term is made within the first six months of employment.

From my own personal experience, I’d argue the timeline is shorter than that. Despite experiencing a good deal of success in my previous job, my first 90 days were rough—and they proved difficult for me to overcome. By all accounts, it was a prime example of what not to do. Despite hearing during the hiring process that I was desperately needed for a growing team, there was not a clearly outlined plan for my first week, let alone my first day. It was hard to get a hold of my manager, and there were often several hours at a time where I would be without things to do, having already completed the few items I had taken on my own initiative. Confusion and discouragement set in early and were hard to shake.

Unfortunately, this story is far too common. According to Urbanbound, 25% of companies don’t include training in their onboarding and 60% of companies don’t set any milestones or goals for new hires. Instead, I gradually built my own onboarding experience through observation, question-asking, and trial and error.

Thankfully, I ended up staying a few years at that company, developed strong friendships, and found a good deal of success. But, first impressions matter. A lingering feeling of dissatisfaction led me to eventually look elsewhere, and an engaging company culture was at the top of my list of requirements.  

Fast forward to today, and I’ve never been happier with my work. I know how my work affects the success of both my team and the company. I feel strongly connected to those around the organization on a professional and personal level. I feel empowered to speak up when I have an idea and/or feedback and trust that what I have to say is valued and taken into consideration.

I share my two experiences not to speak poorly of one and praise another, but to highlight the value of onboarding team members and ongoing coaching and training. I believe in it because I’ve lived it. Every new hire deserves a similar experience to what I’ve had at Lessonly and I’m glad to say that it’s possible! The best part is that what we do here at Lessonly is not complex, but rather simple.  Here are 3 tips of how Lessonly used our own onboarding software in my onboarding experience.

1. Make strong first impressions early

Start your onboarding process well before the new team member arrives on their first day. Utilizing Lessonly’s software, I had already taken a variety of lessons that walked through what to expect during my first day, FAQs, the company’s mission/vision/values, organizational structure, and even where to park, and what to do for lunch. My favorite aspect was taking my future teammates’ “About Me” lessons. Each team member made a lesson about themselves for other employees to learn about who they are, both personally and professionally. The ability to learn about the individuals with whom I’d be working for the foreseeable future helped me to feel instantly connected. Prior to ever setting foot in the office, I felt I was a part of the team.

2. Streamline the onboarding process

Having a streamlined process does a lot more than taking out the repeated guesswork and confusion of bringing on new team members. In fact, new hires that go through a structured onboarding program are 58% more likely to stick around for 3+ years, according to Urbanbound. Those that automate general onboarding tasks have retention rates that are 16% higher as well. With Lessonly, employers can automate their onboarding process to allow for quicker ramp times and consistent experiences across the board.

3. Allow for opportunities to practice

Regardless of previous experience and expertise, each new hire is still a beginner in learning how to do it in their new company. Providing opportunities to practice key aspects of a role and then providing coaching through specific feedback can rapidly increase a new team member’s confidence and productivity. In my onboarding process, I had practiced a standard training call over ten times through Lessonly before ever speaking to a customer in a live scenario. After each video recording, my manager provided specific feedback that helped me to continuously improve. Athletes always practice before game time, so why shouldn’t new hires do the same?

Hiring and training new employees is an expensive endeavor, which is why training and keeping current talent is a far better solution. The best way to do so is by investing in an engaging, well thought out onboarding program. Besides, you only get one chance to make that costly first impression. Don’t waste it.

Do Better Work with Lessonly’s onboarding software

Lessonly is powerfully simple training software that helps teams learn, practice, and perform like never before. Teams across the world use Lessonly to build effective onboarding and ongoing training that fuels success. Learn more, and demo Lessonly today.

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My Onboarding Experience: Why Onboarding Software Matters