As unemployment falls and the job market ticks back up, finding talented individuals to fill out your workforce gets harder and harder. On top of that, turnover is at an all-time high, costing businesses millions of dollars. When a skilled worker decides to leave, the arduous recruitment process begins all over again, and no one wants that.
That is why the first couple of months someone works for you are crucial. This is your chance to introduce your company and the surrounding culture and (hopefully) leave a positive first impression. As new team members arrive for their first day on the job, remember that you are still recruiting them long after official paperwork is signed.
Effective onboarding is a big part of making the transition from recruit to employee not only painless but also encouraging. When done right, onboarding can make new workers feel like they have been given the support and tools they need to build a successful career and integrate within the community.
As many processes move online and workers become geographically spread out, it has become more challenging than ever to help new recruits feel like they are part of the organization. Fortunately, technology allows us to reach each other in real time and improves long-distance collaboration. With a plan in place, there’s no reason you can’t engage new employees and encourage them to invest time into your company.
4 Ways to Help Continuously Recruit New Hires
1. Make Onboarding a Long-Term Process
Onboarding ought to be more than a single event in an employee’s life cycle. Long-term onboarding provides a space for workers to learn and grow into new roles and increases retention rates.
Instead of a checklist, think of onboarding as a strategy. The process should be an immersive part of the first year of work, lending support through meetings and starter projects and connecting peers and managers. As workers learn by doing, they will naturally develop further questions. A formal, long-term onboarding process gives them a natural way to ask for the direction they need without feeling embarrassed or inadequate.
A long-term plan for continuing to recruit new hires benefits the organization, as well. Managers can do check-ins along the way to get valuable feedback on how new hires are feeling about the corporate culture and their future at the company. If you can catch wavering team members early in their decision-making process, you may be able to make minor changes that can prevent turnover in the long run.
2. Go Beyond Compliance and Function
Most businesses offer some form of training in the early days of the employee life cycle, such as required learning like safety training and antiharassment courses. These things are necessary, but they are also expected, and modern workers want more from their employers.
Use the onboarding process to address broader questions like “what is the company all about?” New recruits are like children in a way; if you can catch them early, you can instill in them the kinds of organizational values that will help shape the future.
Younger workers also want to see that their employers have a vested interest in them as individuals. Worker wellness is something that is too often overlooked. Show your new team members that they are valued by helping them manage their work/life balance, stressful situations, and their personal health.
Another way to show workers you are investing in their career is to offer soft skills courses. Allowing individuals to choose how they want to develop their talents and steer their profession builds their confidence. It also identifies driven workers who might be a good fit for management positions in the future.
3. Provide Ongoing Mentoring
No onboarding process, no matter how carefully planned or executed, can match the needs of every single user. That’s why one-on-one mentoring is a must to impress new team members.
A veteran employee should be assigned to every new recruit. On day 1, mentors should ask open-ended questions about the individual’s skills, accomplishments, and goals. From here, mentors can periodically reach out and see how the new hire is settling in, what questions he or she has, and what more the organization can do to support the transition.
Even for remote teams, video coaching and an open chat line are highly effective one-on-one tools for leading new workers through the challenges of the first year on the job.
4. Have Fun
Today’s workers are looking for more than a paycheck in their career. They want a sense of community and purpose and to feel like they are contributing to society. Millennials, in particular, want to feel that their career is also doing some good in the world.
To capture this feeling and impress new hires, it’s important to integrate lots of fun into the onboarding process, but don’t worry. Teambuilding benefits the organization, as well: 54% of workers have stayed at a job longer when they felt a strong sense of belonging.
Remote teams need community-building more than ever. And that culture of belonging can be improved through virtual means if you’re willing to invest the time and energy.
Here are some specific ideas to have fun with your onboarding crew:
- Zoom icebreakers: People trivia, coworker shout-outs, and fun questions like “what is your superpower?”
- Meme chats: Pick a theme, and let workers try to outdo each other with memes over a timed chat.
- Online happy hour: Give peers a chance to get to know each other socially and less formally than work meetings allow.
- Celebrate success: Talk about weekly wins, use gamification to showcase who is doing well, or provide tangible incentives for a job well done, such as gift cards, extra vacation days, company swag, etc.
Whether virtual or in person, the primary goal of onboarding is to set workers up for success within the organization. Help them feel that they have something to offer and a path forward. Investing in their journey is a surefire way to impress recruits and keep them happy and productive for a long time to come.
Josh Bleggi is Product Manager over subscription content products at eLearning Brothers, a global provider of templates, custom design, authoring and learning management tools, and training for professionals everywhere.