How To Avoid On-Boarding Mistakes And Make It Fun And Productive

Your human resource is the single most important asset of your organization that plays a big role in helping it get a sustainable competitive advantage in the market. Machines and technology can be replicated by competitors but not a human being. It is therefore incredibly important to streamline your recruitment and selection process to ensure you are able to attract and retain the best talent that is available out there. 

However, hiring talented individuals is only half the story. You need to have an excellent on-boarding mechanism in place to ensure that your new employees are quickly assimilated into the system and start making a positive contribution in the shortest possible time.  

Employee On-boarding program, however, is much more than that. It is often seen that most of the organizations fail to recognize the difference between on-boarding and orientation. This is a folly as there is a clear difference between the two. Orientation is all about submitting your paperwork and other necessary documents whereas orientation is a comprehensive process that involves close interaction with the management and the new employee. It is a lengthy process that could last up to as long as 12 months. Here we list importance of on-boarding in the workplace:

Goals of an Effective On-boarding Process

Acclimate: A new employee joins an organization. Acclimatization goes way beyond pointing the employee the direction of the canteen or the parking space. All organizations have a different culture, aura, philosophy and environment. It is imperative for the organization to clearly communicate the goals and objectives of the organization and what role is expected from the employee in the larger scheme of things. It is also of utmost importance that the new employee is made aware of what he/she can expect from the management and the organization.

Engage:  A Gallup study showed a strong correlation between an organization’s productivity, profitability, turnover rate, work culture, absenteeism, level of service, product quality and customer ratings among others and that of the commitment and engagement displayed by its employees. An effective on-boarding process cements the relationship between an organization and its employees by assuring the employee that the organization care for their overall growth and development and see them more than just a salaried worker. 

Common On-boarding Mistakes Organizations Make in Employee On-boarding Program:

Smooth on-boarding for a company that is growing quickly and hiring at a fast pace, more often than not turns out to be a tough nut to crack. No matter how much attention is paid to this important task, some slip ups are bound to creep in every now and then. Here we look at few prominent mistakes that are common occurrence.

Shadowing:  With limited time and resources, organizations often resort to shortcuts when it comes to on-boarding.  After a short new hire orientation, the general pattern followed is to ask other new hires to follow that person. This process of ‘Tom is good. Be like Tom’ is not a sustainable structure and can lose its effectiveness pretty quickly if overdone. Furthermore, the employee a new employee is asked to follow may soon grow tired of answering the same question again and again. 

Google is there, so why worry:  It is a costly mistake to assume that public resources are available and employees can find the relevant information on their own. Expecting new hires to figure out their roles and comprehend management expectations by searching for it on Google is a surefire recipe for disaster. To eliminate anxiety and boost confidence, it is imperative to provide them with the underlying “how” and “why” of what the organization does and what’s their role going to be in it. 

Benefits of a Great On-boarding Program for Employers 

Employee On-boarding program enhances employee performance:  A survey found that good on-boarding can enhance an employee’s performance by over 11%. Good orientation process boosts an employee’s confidence, enhances his motivation level and subsequently contributes to his/her overall productivity. 

Improves retention: A study showed that a well-structured on-boarding process enhances the chances of an employee remaining with the organization for at least three years by as much as 70%.  

Enhances productivity: Good orientation helps the employee hit the ground running. Organizations that sincerely work towards reducing the first-day stress are the ones that ultimately reap rich dividends. 

Employee On-boarding Ideas to improve and make it fun  

Make use of games:  Value of games in training and learning should never be underestimated in employee on-boarding activities.  New hires can learn a lot of valuable work lessons playing games like scavenger hunt, Pokémon GO or going to an Escape Room.

Practical application is more valuable than room training: A field trip, or taking the employee to the actual work location is much more productive than explaining things with the help of audio-visual aids.

An amalgamation of different tools is always more productive and interesting: Mix things up. Conduct a part of orientation in a meeting room setting. Hold a webinar. Design a buddy program. Make learning fun and interesting by taking help of various available tools. 

The Bottom Line

On-boarding takes time. It is an ongoing process which should continue right from the time a new employee is hired to the time the new hire is a productive member of the team. It involves a little bit of efforts but the end results always justify every minute invested in employee on-boarding program.