HR teams spend significant amounts of time searching for and hiring the right candidates to fill positions across the globe. After all, an organization’s success or failure hinges on the people it employs.
However, the buck doesn’t stop once an employee is hired. HR teams need to take the next critical step in ensuring new hires are successfully on-boarded. This means going above and beyond the typical things – having new hires fill out the necessary employment paperwork and watch training videos – before they take on their first work assignment.
HR teams need to implement policies that effectively integrate new hires into the workplace and its distinct culture. Doing so can go a long way towards building employee engagement, increasing retention rates and improving workplace performance.
Jen Lawrence, co-author of, Engage the Fox, and blogger for The Huffington Post has written widely on the topic of employee engagement. She shared several tips companies can use to bring a new hire on board in her article entitled, 7 Ways to Engage a New Employee.
Roughly one out of five employees will leave within their first year. “The hiring process costs an average of $5,000 per employee in terms of interview time, training, and administrative costs. When a new hire does not work out, the associated cost of legal fees, time, and lost productivity can cost anywhere from one-third to five times the employee’s salary.”
As a foundation, new hires should understand not only what an organization does, but also how and why. This sense of purpose is increasingly important to employees and can be reinforced with personal messages from senior leadership within the organization.
These messages should not only articulate the company’s purpose, but should also invite personal contributions, telling the new hire that they “are keen to see how they can shape the future of the organization.” If you work in a large organization, you can follow the example of Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit, who delivers his message via video.
New hires notoriously sit idle in the first days and weeks of a job, while their manager and team adjust to having the additional hands on deck. Working with the hiring manager to assign an important project right away that plays to the new hires strengths prevents boredom, or worse, remorse in taking the position. As a bonus, the project can help build their confidence, sense of competence and credibility with internal stakeholders, clients, and colleagues.
This first project is also a crash course in learning the collaboration tools currently in use with the organization. Learning how to book a meeting room or adjusting the camera for desktop video conferencing in an employee’s first days or weeks is expected and can even build comradery with peers. After that initial period, it becomes embarrassing and frustrating to struggle to collaborate.
And when collaboration solutions are all tightly integrated, the learning curve is significantly reduced. For example, organizations can schedule meetings – booking physical or virtual meeting rooms – with a few clicks within Microsoft Outlook.
To kick start that project itself, appointing an ambassador and mentor can help acclimate new hires to the organizational culture and workplace dynamics. The employee ambassador can show the new hires how things are done, and the mentor “can help a new employee integrate into a company as quickly as possible and start to focus on results.” The key is to assign these tasks to tenured employees who are corporate brand ambassadors and “have the time and inclination to take on the task” during their busy day.
And when the right collaboration solutions are in place, that ambassador and mentor don’t have to sit in the same office… or even the same time zone. Email, chat and voice calls can keep these individuals connected, but video conferencing is the best way to build these relationships, since it’s the best way to dispel presence disparity.
“Giving meeting participants the ability to see each other enables them to connect on a more personal level. They can see each other’s expressions, which enables them to better interpret comments and detect social cues.”
Tight technology integration is beneficial here too. When a Skype for Business chat can escalate to a voice or video call with just one click of an icon, new hires and their ambassadors and mentors can collaborate face-to-face effortlessly.
Pitney Bowes is an excellent example of an enterprise that uses Polycom RealConnect for Office 365 to deliver a seamless employee experience, regardless of location. This platform simplifies communication by bringing Skype for Business and non-Skype for Business endpoints together into one meeting, and participants can connect from various platforms – including mobile – and receive the same quality experience.
Incorporating an onboarding process that effectively integrates new hires into your workplace can help increase employee retention and deter the costs of high turnover. Creating a sense of purpose, quickly putting that purpose to work in a project, and assigning ambassadors and mentors to guide and inspire will not only keep employees showing up, but making a significant contribution too. And integrated and accessible collaboration solutions make that onboarding process more meaningful as they build relationships with the faces within your organization.