October 16th, 2017 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

Onboarding Best Practices Across the Miles and Generations

New employees will remember a transformative onboarding experience that immediately immerses them in the company culture leading to them stay longer with a company. Organizations with highly engaged workers have higher rates of customer satisfaction and fewer errors. Because most companies lose 25% of their employees within their first year at the company, it’s critical that onboarding a new hire be a positive experience. A positive experience leads to more productivity.

Danielle Korins, Sterling’ Chief Human Resources Office, presented “Onboarding Best Practices: 5 Tips to Jump-Start Your Program.” This informative webinar shared tips for employers to learn how to transform the hiring process from a cumbersome, paper-laden process to one that engages top talent from the get-go. Investing in an engaging, inclusive onboarding program can improve employee retention and create a competitive edge for a company.

What is Onboarding?

Onboarding tells a cohesive, compelling employer brand story. It engages and socializes your new hires from the moment they receive their offer letter. This process lays the groundwork so that your new employees can become productive, successful team members for the long haul even if the employee works remotely. By providing a positive, engaging experience for workers of all ages your organization will gain an edge in the war for talent.

Onboarding could be considered the final stage in the hiring process.  But, in reality, it goes beyond the first day on the job. It continues throughout the time the new employee works for the company. The majority of this stage takes place during a new employee’s first 90 days. In fact, this is the time when the employee is the most productive. According to UrbanBound, organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 54% greater new hire productivity.  Onboarding is a critical part of creating a great candidate experience for new employees. This stage includes sending the offer letter, providing employment background screening, onboarding paperwork and first day activities. Onboarding solutions have an immediate impact on candidate experience and overall organizational success. When onboarding goes well, the benefits from increased employee engagement directly impacts organizational success. When it goes badly, employee morale and engagement is at risk. 

What to Consider When Onboarding Remote Hires

With the addition of technology into both the workforce and onboarding programs, it is becoming increasingly easy to hire employees across the globe. According to a 2016 Gallup survey,  43% of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely. The survey also found that “employee engagement climbs when employees spend some time working remotely and some time working in a location with their coworkers.” However, onboarding remote employees can be a challenge. Remote employees don’t have the advantage of having the in-person touch on their first day, which could make it hard to acclimate to the company culture. If possible, have the new hire come to the main office for their first week so they can meet their team and get an understanding of the culture.

  When onboarding remote employees, these tactics could be helpful:

  • Set Clear Expectations: Clearly communicate expectations, company values and individual goals to the new employee before they start work. Discuss projects, skill-sets, responsibilities and create a schedule for availability to attend virtual meetings.
  • Make New Hires Feel Welcome: Appoint a team “buddy” for the new employee. This co-worker will mentor the new employee on the company culture, team structure and information flow. Doing so will help build a relationship with the team. In fact, remote employees who feel a connection with the team or the company will be more motivated to make a positive impression.
  • Ease of Communication: With Facetime, Skype, Slack and other instant messaging tools, a remote employee can be connected to a team member in an instant. These tools are excellent for remote employees to virtually “meet” team members and do more than just put a face to a name.

Onboarding Crosses Generations

Each generation is known for a set of very specific characteristics that can impact the way they like to communicate and work. Different age groups, (Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers), value and require different processes during the onboarding process. Employers need to realize the generational differences when onboarding new employees.

Below are a few tips about the generation characteristics that will help create a positive and effective onboarding program for new employees: 

  • Baby Boomers: The Baby Boomer generation, those born between 1946 and 1964, have been in the workforce for a minimum of 30 years. The age group is independent, goal-oriented and competitive. They are more comfortable with the traditional forms of onboarding programs.
  • Generation X: Generation X includes anyone born from the early 1960s to the early 1980s. People in Generation X are individualistic, technologically adept, flexible and values work/life balances. Onboarding for this age group might include mentorship or peer groups who can be easily reached to answer questions and provide encouragement. The age group looks for effective training and leadership.
  • Generation Y or Millennials: Millennials, born between 1977 and 1995, grew up in the age of pop culture, constant connections and cell phones. Millennials are tech savvy, achievement-oriented, team-oriented and crave attention. Onboarding for employees from this generation should include having a buddy system, mentoring and introductions to others in the same age range. Processes should be put in place where millennials can express their opinions and concerns via email or messaging.
  • Generation Z: This generation, born after 1996, is just beginning to join the workforce. Gen Zers are entrepreneurial, multi-tasking, private, hyper-aware and extremely technology reliant. Onboarding programs for this generation should be focused on self-service portals with digitalized new hire forms and training courses. Gen Z employees should get what they need to start their job quickly, efficiently and in small bits. Get them started on the job and continue training over a longer period.

Great Onboarding Leads to Ongoing Employee Engagement

When onboarding goes well, the benefits from increased employee engagement directly impacts organizational success. When it goes badly, employee morale and engagement is at risk. Companies with highly engaged workers of all ages have higher rates of customer satisfaction and fewer errors. Find out more about the effects of a good onboarding program across time zones and generations by downloading the OnDemand version of “Onboarding Best Practices: 5 Tips to Jump-Start Your Program.”

Please note: Sterling is not a law firm. The material available in this publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We encourage you to consult with your legal counsel to obtain a legal opinion specific to your needs.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.