• Dec 20 2022

The Power of Onboarding: Best Practices for Your Day-One Strategy

Effective onboarding can have a big impact on the performance, long-term engagement, and commitment of new hires. However, onboarding is an often-overlooked or de-prioritized part of the hiring process.

During a recent ExecOnline webinar, Alex Cavoulacos, tech entrepreneur and best selling author of “The New Rules of Work,” shared insights into why onboarding is a secret weapon for engaging top talent in today’s turbulent business environment, and offered best practices team leaders can use to optimize their “Day One” strategy. Here are some key takeaways from the event.

Why Onboarding Matters

Research shows that 46% of new hires fail within their first 18 months. Many factors may contribute to this dismal statistic, but better onboarding can play a role accelerating the integration of new hires with team processes, standards, and culture to help them succeed at higher rates.

Unfortunately, bad or insufficient onboarding is commonplace. Most employees—88%—don’t have a positive view of their company’s onboarding process. Often, poor onboarding is the result of low bandwidth on the part of the hiring manager—after all, they likely hired the new employee to take on work that they themselves are too busy to manage. Furthermore, there may be a breakdown in communication between HR and the hiring manager in terms of who is responsible for what when it comes to bringing a new hire onboard.

Standard, repeatable onboarding strategies take some of the burden off of hiring managers by providing a blueprint and timeline for bringing a new employee up to speed.

A recent study from Glassdoor shows that strong onboarding processes make a measurable difference. Companies with strong onboarding processes see a 70% improvement in employee productivity and an 82% improvement in new hire retention.

So what does a strong onboarding strategy look like?

The Four Elements of a Great Onboarding Strategy

High-impact onboarding strategies can be adopted and implemented by individual hiring managers or teams at little to no cost. Dedicating time to creating and implementing a great onboarding strategy can be the difference between success and failure for a new hire. Your strategy should include these four elements:

Goals: Clearly definine what success looks like for the new hire, and how their work rolls up into team and organizational goals.

Access: Ensure that the new hire has access (or knows how to gain access) to the tools and resources that will be essential to their success (software platforms, reporting dashboards, etc.).

Relationships: Set up introductions with the key stakeholders and collaborators.

Context: Help new hires understand the scope and purpose of their role in the context of other team members and other teams at the company.

Structure and Timing Make the Difference

The onboarding process should be structured over the first 30, 60, and 90 days of employment, with the first 30 days being the most structured to help accelerate integration of the new hire.

As the manager of a new employee, it’s important to work with that person closely within the first 90 days to help them develop a clear understanding of the scope of their role, how their performance will be assessed, and what success in the role will look like.

By establishing these expectations with an employee when they start, you are setting yourself up for more successful performance management in the future. It’s difficult, for example, to provide useful feedback to an employee on their performance if you never set clear goals to which you can both refer. The common blueprint you create with a new hire during their onboarding can help you both course correct faster if their performance is missing the mark.

About Alex Cavoulacos

Alex is the CEO and co-founder of Meta Angels, an NFT membership community harnessing the metaverse to unlock real life opportunities. Founded on the values of generosity, transparency, and accessibility, Meta Angels has pioneered the first-of-its-kind NFT lending technology on the blockchain. Alex is also the co-founder of Angel Labs, a web3 accelerator that takes experienced operators and web3 creators from concept to mint.Prior to web3, Alex co-founded The Muse, a values-based career platform used by over 75 million people to research companies and careers where she led operations and product for a decade.

Alex teaches two on-demand ExecOnline learning experiences designed to develop new managers: “The Modern Onboarding Playbook” and “The Modern Personal Productivity Playbook.”

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