“Is everybody getting this?”
Just a simple rhetorical statement, but it has the power to silence a room. Just ask any business leader who has let the phrase slip during new hire orientation. Intuitively, employees in their first days on the job generally interpret the question as code for sitting tight and acting attentively. Outwardly, their body language might suggest that all is well and good, but experienced onboarding professionals aren’t fooled quite so easily. Of course, that usually doesn’t stop them from moving on either way – so long as they are doing what is expected of them.
“Alright then, the next item on the agenda is …”
Unless, that’s NOT what you expect. Or accept. In one regard, wanting to keep the process moving is logical, but not at the cost of disenfranchising individuals from their first moments as part of the franchise. Too often, the details are lost in translation at the start, which doesn’t bode well for the long-term. One widely accepted industry figure estimates that one third of new employees are back on the job search within the first six months.
If nothing else, that revelation should change the next item on your onboarding agenda.
Here are three things to keep in mind when the conversation turns to welcoming, engaging and aligning new hires within your organization:
- First things first. Every company has a distinct culture, but if the goal is to create conformity, the first step is to create an overall impression that’s not only favorable, but desirable. According to Aberdeen Group, quality onboarding programs generate a higher rate of successful assimilation of new hires into company culture, higher time-to-productivity ratios, and an overall higher employee engagement level – all of which are linked to more favorable retention rates.
- No second thoughts. Once employees make it through the hiring process, it’s not uncommon for many to grow wary of their new circumstances. Fortunately, the fastest way to dispel concerns on the job is to keep them from developing to begin with. Culture-driven, new hire orientation programs—often supported by mentors who help new hires learn the ropes—instill a sense of belonging more quickly. Give your people an ally and they’ll act accordingly on your behalf.
- Fair and balanced. Most reports show that providing new employees with a balanced rudimentary knowledge of the organization is a given. Yet when business leaders go a step further to explain how the business makes money and how new hires fit into the overall framework, the bigger picture comes into far sharper focus. It’s an approach that brings financial literacy and corporate strategy together in the same discussion … and puts every employee on the same page.
In our experience, we’ve discovered that sharing a common corporate vision is an essential part of making onboarding programs do what they are supposed to do. If you’re not seeing the kind of results you want, perhaps a change in the way your organization speaks to its employees is in order.
That kind of talk should never be cheap.