Don’t Just Train—Use Onboarding to Engage and Retain

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Job-hopping has become par for the course for many workers, so much so that Forbes recently encouraged millennials to stop apologizing for it. Almost half of new college graduates will leave their first job after less than two years. And according to a survey conducted by Equifax, more than 40% of people who leave their jobs voluntarily do so within the first six months of employment.

There are all kinds of reasons people seek out greener pastures, including bad bosses, higher pay elsewhere, a better growth opportunity, and changing personal circumstances. But one of the most common reasons new hires leave is poor cultural fit. That may mean that they aren’t doing the job they were hired to do, they don’t share the values of the organization, they’re not engaged, or they just don’t like the work environment.

Fortunately, there’s something you can do about that.

Get Onboarding Right Or I’m Outta Here

In HR world, onboarding may be just a list of checkboxes—things that must be done so the employee can start earning his or her paycheck. But for the employee, the onboarding experience produces one of two responses:

  • I love this company! I made the right choice! I can’t wait to get to work!
  • Uh-oh. What did I get myself into?!

So how do you get it right?

In an interview with Vconnecta Ltd, Bill Kutik of Human Resources Executive Online and The Bill Kutik Radio Show said that the goal of onboarding should be to engage employees by immersing them into the culture of the company. It’s not just about showing them where to park and filling out forms. It’s about integration.

Reimagine Onboarding With Design Thinking and Your HRIS

One of the big trends discussed at HR Tech 2016 was the concept of design thinking. Design thinking shapes employee engagement, moving beyond completion of processes into an employee-oriented experience. You can incorporate design thinking into your onboarding methodology, grounding the employee in the culture of the company using branding, social networking, and user-friendly tools and procedures.

Where do you start? With your HRIS.

Let’s look at how software company Vibe achieves this with their platform.

Employer Branding

Vibe enables users to design a uniquely branded experience for employees that reflects the culture of the company. For example, this is the Rookie Dashboard for a fast casual restaurant:

Rookie Community Page

Notice how the content, imagery, and style reflect the ethos of the company. All of those elements can be configured based on the vision, practices, and atmosphere of the company so that your onboarding experience helps the new hire fit into your culture.

Get a Head Start Before Day One

Even before the new hire’s first day on the job, you can begin crafting a positive experience that calms jitters and helps him or her feel valued. Vibe enables you to craft a custom preboard page that gives new hires access to important information as well as providing opportunities to learn more about the company.

Preboarding Activities

Preboarding activities like explaining the chain of command, introducing key people in the organization, explaining what to do and where to go on the first day, and filling out a profile or completing paperwork help the employee feel ready to hit the ground running.

Create a 90 Day Plan

Onboarding is not a one-and-done deal. You can’t complete it in a day or even a week—not if you expect to keep your employees past the critical one-year mark. While it’s closely related to training, onboarding encompasses a broader view that requires long-term commitment to employee engagement.

The example below shows how Vibe helps you create a series of phases designed to walk new hires through a carefully crafted onboarding experience while maintaining the custom branding that showcases your culture:

Onboarding Phases

Each phase sets manageable goals and makes it easy to see what should happen next. Also notice how the employee can easily ask questions or contact an HR rep within the context of the onboarding software.

Onboarding is your chance to convince new hires that they made the right decision. By carefully crafting an experience that pulls them in and makes them feel part of the team, you can decrease turnover and keep your best new employees engaged and productive.

Don’t just train—engage!

Published by Carolyn Sokol

Carolyn Sokol is the owner of and the founder and President of Both sites connect HR professionals with the HR software products and HR outsourcing vendors that best match their business needs. The non-biased, proprietary comparison tools make recommendations based directly upon what the customer enters and weighs as required features or services.

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