Something weirdly funny is going on with employers. They spend a lot of time and energy looking for and recruiting the right talent. Then they focus on employee engagement and retention to try to ensure that that talent sticks around. Yet, good employees keep leaving.
So, what is everyone doing wrong?
Simply put, nationwide, onboarding processes are broken. In a 2015 ALEX survey of 400 new employees, 17.5 percent of respondents said they didn’t understand performance expectations for their position until fully 90 days of work had passed. And 11.3 percent said at the time of the survey that they still didn’t have a firm understanding.
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for the onboarding problems these survey findings suggest. Each individual organization needs to take a close look at its process to see where there’s room for improvement. And to do that, employers need to understand the different metrics they can use to analyze how well their onboarding process is functioning.
Here are four questions to ask about your own onboarding and the metrics you can use for measuring and tracking, to improve your process:
1. Did new hires receive the tools they needed for success?
No one can expect new employees to grow into A-players if they aren’t given the tools, resources and knowledge they need. This includes basics, like a computer and an employee handbook, of course, but it extends to the type of training and support new employees receive.
A 2015 TinyPulse survey of more than 400,000 employees found that 24 percent of respondents said they were less productive because they lacked the tools they needed to excel. Mix that with the general confusion that comes along with being new, and you have a recipe for onboarding disaster.
One solution is to schedule check-ins with each new employee to see what else could have made his or her transition easier. Having these meetings after 30, 60 and 90 days provides a clear picture of what tools are helping and which are hindering new hires.
For example, if you uncover consistent reports by new sales employees that they feel unsure during their first few interactions with clients, you should develop training that gives them more confidence about what the organization expects.
Also, keep track of which training and tools are ineffective or unnecessary and which should be introduced sooner rather than later during onboarding.
2. Are goals clearly defined?
Sometimes, expectations for individual roles seem crystal-clear to employers because they’re so familiar with the needs of the organization to begin with. But new employees need a deeper explanation of what they’re doing and how it impacts the company.
By ignoring goal alignment during onboarding, employers are setting up new hires for failure.
It’s important to clearly define goals for each position and for the organization as a whole, as well as connect those measurements of success with the individual’s career goals. That way, everything an employee does has purpose.
As early in the onboarding process as possible, discuss what milestones your new employees are expected to meet and when. By giving them something to work toward, both employers and employees have a way to assess to what degree new hires are on the right track.
Throughout onboarding, remind new additions of the goals that have been set. And recognize the progress they are making. This will not only encourage them to keep working hard, but also tie in their performance with measurable successes that improve engagement.
3. Do new hires understand the organization?
New employees can start out strong, but if they truly don't understand or fit with the company, their success will be short-lived.
The assumption tends to be that if a worker comes into the office every day, he or she learns what the company is really about. But all too often, things like company values, culture and other distinguishing characteristics fall through the cracks.
In a 2015 Achiever survey of 397 full-time American employees, 61 percent said they did not know their company’s mission or cultural values, and 60 percent didn’t know their company's vision.
Ideally, employees should get a good understanding of these things before being hired, but it’s also important to make important issues part of the onboarding itself. So, find ways to educate new hires about the company and make connections with its mission, values and culture.
Then ask your new employees about how these factors impact and motivate their performance. This will help employers find ways to strengthen the relationship their employees have with the organization and to help new hires become more engaged with their work.
4. Have they become a part of the team?
Co-workers have a powerful influence on one other. A 2015 Virgin Pulse survey found, for 40 percent of employees surveyed, that their colleagues were the aspect of their company that meant the most. In addition, 66 percent said co-workers improved their productivity.
Given these findings, it’s important to make sure that your new employees feel that they’ve integrated with the rest of the team. Ask new hires if they feel like they’re fitting in. Incorporate team-building activities into the onboarding process. Even if those activities entail just regular departmental lunches or a buddy system to show them the ropes, make an effort to assimilate new employees to help them be successful in the long run.
When it comes to refining onboarding, it’s up to employers to measure and track their process’ effectiveness. By identifying and making necessary changes, employers can ensure that everyone makes the transition from a new employee to a valuable high performer.
What other metrics are important when it comes to measuring quality of onboarding? Share in the comments below!