An Onboarding Plan that Boosts Employee Engagement

Five row boats sitting in some water tied up.

Have you ever thought about what your onboarding process encourages? When a new employee starts their first day, do you quickly introduce them to everyone, give them a brief tour, and then hurry off to catch up on your own work? If so, you’re like many employers, but you shouldn’t stop there.

71% of companies say they plan to increase hiring over the next 12 months, but only 32% have a formal onboarding process, according to the Aberdeen’s 2014 Talent Acquisition Report.

An employee’s first day can determine how long they plan to stay with your company. Before they walk through your doors for the first time as an employee, engagement has already come into play. Does your onboarding plan build confidence and excitement in your new hire? To begin the relationship with lasting employee engagement, consider adding these ideas to your onboarding process.

Add These Steps to Your Onboarding Plan to Boost Employee Engagement

90-Day Training Checklist

New employees can sometimes feel like they’ve been shown to their desk and told to get to work. That may be an exaggeration, but there’s one thing that is true, the first day at a new job is overwhelming for anyone. To help ease the transition and set up a path to success, create a 90-day training plan for every position in your company.

When a new employee starts, use this plan as a checklist. Layout all the tasks the position will eventually perform even if it’s only done once a year. Throughout the first 90 days, it is the new employee’s responsibility to check off every task as they learn it. Customize this plan to fit the employee’s needs and skills. Make sure it covers all tasks they might perform but eliminate anything they have already proven they can do, throw in a few worst-case scenario challenges too.

At the end of the 90 days, meet with the new hire and make sure everything is checked off. If not, cover the process with them. Make sure they understand all tasks and can perform each of them independently.

Local Information

It’s great to take your new hire out to lunch at a nearby restaurant for their first day. Taking that gesture one step further, provide them with local information such as food (grocery and restaurants), after-work drinks, child care, nearby parks, parking, or other transportation options. If the new employee has moved to the area from out of town you should also provide them with housing, neighborhood, and school information.

An Open Platform for Help

Two women looking at a computer monitor. They look to be in deep thought.

Even the most experienced and skilled employees will have questions. Whether it’s finding the fax machine or to clarify a policy, every new hire needs to know exactly who to direct these questions to. Make it as easy as possible for them to ask.

Instead of appointing one person to the task, create an open forum. Give the new employee a way to openly inquire without questioning the same person every single time. Interrupting the same person for every little question causes the new employee to eventually stop asking (even if they really don’t know) because they might feel like they have overloaded that helper. Especially if the question involves a process, the employee will benefit from multiple perspectives and tips.

A Mentor

Sometimes an open forum won’t work and the new hire will appreciate having a mentor-like associate to reach out to. The trainer or direct supervisor won’t always be available, so appointing one other person who is at least familiar with the position is a courtesy to the new employee. This person could be a mentor or coach to the new-comer. In this circumstance, an instant messaging tool is helpful.

We use Trello, a collaboration tool that organizes projects in a super easy to navigate board. You can create cards for projects, tasks, or ideas and communicate through comments within each card. It works great for our purposes and is an easy way to ask quick questions and get fast answers. I would also recommend Slack, a real-time messaging tool, learn more here – 7 Reasons Why Slack Team Communication Strengthens Our Business. There are tons of modern collaboration and messaging tools out there; with a little research you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your business.

Engagement should be considered every day and in every interaction with your employees. There is no secret rule or one process that ensures lasting engagement, employers have to make it a priority to succeed. Your onboarding process is a great place to start. Check out these other articles on onboarding plans and employee engagement. Also, download our free ebook below, 25 Employee Retention Ideas.

Related Articles:

High Employee Turnover Costs You, Let us Count the Ways

Retention Starts on Day 1 – An Onboarding Checklist

The Easiest Way to Retain Employees is to Be a Great Boss

This One Habit Could Completely Change Your Employee Engagement


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