Recently, much has been made about the struggle to retain employees and what steps can be taken to ensure employees are satisfied in their workplace. One of the most often overlooked factors in determining the likelihood of an employee wanting to stay put is how well they understand their place in the company and how to do their job. In other words, employee satisfaction depends on employee onboarding.
Employee onboarding is an ongoing process for all employees that introduces them to company expectations and culture. As simple of a statement as that may seem, within it there are a number of very important points hidden.
First, employee onboarding is an ongoing process. While orientation is frequently associated with onboarding, in reality it is only a small part of the picture. Proper onboarding does include everything traditionally included in orientation, such as familiarizing the employee with their schedule, responsibilities, work space, and coworkers. However, it also includes topics that extend well beyond their first couple days on the job. Certifications, special training, development of relationships, constant feedback on performance, and access to resources are all also a part of an effective onboarding process.
Second, because it is more than orientation during their first few days, successful employee onboarding is for all employees. It is just as relevant for long-time employees as it is for new hires. While the seasoned veteran does not need to be informed of your expectations of her or when she can take her lunch break, she does need to be told of any changes in policies and her certifications must be kept up-to-date. And feedback from supervisors is relevant regardless of an employee’s experience level.
Third, a successful employee onboarding process is one that introduces them to company expectations and culture. Typically, the first part of that sentence is emphasized while the other is left behind. And while it is certainly true that all employees should be aware of their job expectations and responsibilities, it is no less important that they understand the culture of their work place, including its goals and values.
Fourth, and finally, effective employee onboarding covers the material in a variety of ways in order to develop understanding and application of the material. It is important to review the material from two or more mediums to ensure understanding and retention and to guarantee application and development.
Once they do, they can feel a sense of belonging and have a better grasp of how they fit into the larger picture. Good onboarding, then, explains what an employee’s job is and how they are expected to perform it, but also introduces them to company values and people, showing them why they will be doing that job, and who comprises their support system.