HR and hiring managers are both accountable for the success of the onboarding process.
Talya N. Bauer in the SHRM Foundation's Effective series “Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success” mentions that “simply writing down a formal plan will not help new employees succeed. The key is to engage important stakeholders and new employees in interactions that help them understand one another and how they interact over time.” HR should empower hiring managers with guidelines.
New employees make missteps and may find it challenging to interpret positive or negative reactions they receive from co-workers / leadership. This means they will often need feedback and guidance. HR and hiring managers should monitor progress and regularly check employee engagement. The best way to do this is through continuous listening tools that can identify signs of early disengagement
Improving the on-boarding experience is an ongoing process and needs to be measured with surveys at least across the following different milestones: Day 1 - Day 30 - Day 90 - Day 180 & Day 365.
Day 1 - 1st impression
Even before the first day of work, be sure to have finalized the paperwork and shared logins to tech tools. As early as possible, arrange for the team to welcome the new hire. The hiring manager should also personally oversee the first day communications. Share company values and culture, the organization chart and introduce key people. Discuss responsibilities and set up a training schedule before agreeing on achievable short-term goals.
Day 30 - Onboarding process & self-efficacy
During the first month, new hires need to learn about the products, clients and business knowledge of the organisation. They should start being familiar with the company's culture and goals. Start establishing a habit of checking in regularly with the hiring manager. At this stage, the on-boarding process should serves to boost employees’ confidence.
Day 90 - Onboarding process, role clarity & social integration
New hires regularly enter organizations with the wrong perception of managers’ expectations. Collecting and soliciting feedback in a systematic, high frequency way is key to clarify these expectations. This allows for monitoring the employee experience across their entire journey with the company. The sooner mismatches are identified the easier they are to overcome. Having a mentoring program in place can help developing relationships inside the organization. After three months the new hire should have completed at least a simple project.
Day 180 - Engagement pulse check
The annual employee survey is almost a hundred years old. Needless to say, working environments have changed dramatically since and employee engagement becomes mission-critical. Pulse surveys allow organizations to check in with employees on a regular basis. It gathers information about attitudes, ideas, and concerns as soon they arise. You can do this in many different ways, but the overall goal of the increased frequency is to “take the pulse” of your organization. Analyze on-boarding survey results and identify potential drivers of improvement (recognition, growth, value & purpose, manager support, relationships at work, accomplishment, clear expectations, environment, autonomy or rewards).
Day 365 - Onboarding process & knowledge of culture
After one year, measure the employee culture fit and knowledge. Ask for the employee’s perception of the on-boarding program. Discover whether your organization’s employee onboarding program is effective to ensure new hires are always set up for success.