Have you ever met someone and, within seconds, formed a total judgment on that person or group? Good or bad? An old Proverb says, “First impressions are the most lasting.” TIME Magazine reported that Researchers at Dartmouth College discovered that a person will formulate a judgment on another person within 30 milliseconds. The human brain is amazing, right? But what does that have to do with the onboarding process?
“Onboarding is a magic moment when new employees decide to stay engaged or become disengaged,” states Amy Hirsh Robinson, Principal of the consulting firm, The Interchange Group, in L.A. Onboarding is your first impression with a new employee: good or bad. Employee engagement is imperative to creating an environment that nurtures longevity in your employees. When a new employee walks in on their first day and they are not met with structure, cultural engagement, and a welcoming environment, there is a potential that they begin to slowly disengage themselves from the role and feel anxiety or doubt in leadership.
A poorly executed onboarding plan may give the impression that your organization is also poorly-managed, causing a new hire to believe that they made a mistake taking the job. According to the SHRM website, Millennials and Generation Z are highly affected by their experiences with onboarding. Failing to show them how you’re setting them up for success can work against you by setting your group up for an early employee exit. The same is true of any generation of workers, but where there is a lack of experience, there is also an ability to make a stronger impression, both positive or negative. Having a detailed strategy and plan for a new employee can provide confidence and direction. Here are a few tips to help improve a business’ onboarding process:
- Orientation: The function of new employee orientation introduces a new employee to the company, its policies, coworkers, and the job itself. Make sure your employees have what they need on, or before, their first day. Need ideas? Create an internal survey for your new employees and ask them how to improve!
- Education: Education can refer to on-the-job training or teaching your new employee about the company’s history and future goals. Well conducted training and development will prepare your employee for a long, successful future with your organization. You can also measure the quality of your training by increasing performance reviews in the first 180 days of employment. This creates more opportunities to measure your employee’s performance and collect feedback on the company, team, and position. Be sure to document these reviews thoroughly.
- Integration: Create an atmosphere where an employee can feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves. Build an environment that nurtures loyalty and longevity by integrating your new employee into your company’s culture. Teach them the company values, provide them with company gear that may contain a company logo, or pair your new employee with a buddy. All of these things make a new employee feel as if they are part of a team, thus creating an employee’s willingness to become engaged. It is very difficult to ensure longevity without employee engagement.
This may sound like unnecessary work, but well-structured onboarding can have a direct impact on the attrition of your company. It’s much harder to change a bad first impression than it is to be proactive in making positive first impressions. J.K. Rowling says, “A good first impression can work wonders.” It can also do wonders for the backbone of your business: your employees.