Easy Onboarding Tips: Little Things Can Make a Big Impact
coworkers socializing during onboarding

Easy Onboarding Tips: Little Things Can Make a Big Impact

Your new hire may have accepted the offer, but it's not yet time to ease off of the engagement throttle. Research shows that new hires are still vulnerable during preboarding and onboarding – in a highly competitive job market, candidates have choices. Engage2Excel’s 2017 Trendicators Report, which surveyed 1500 active and passive job seekers shows that 71% of employees state that onboarding experiences would influence their decision to stay with a company.

Engaging candidates through preboarding and onboarding doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, and early positive engagement lays the foundation for a long, mutually satisfying relationship between the candidate and your company. Here are five tips from the eBook, 10 Onboarding Ideas, which is based on the Trendicators data as well as Gelinas’ 15 years of experience in HR.

1. The offer should come bearing gifts

Making an offer is an important event for both company and candidate, and you can increase the impact by making that moment special. Along with the offer, send a personalized gift. According to the report, a whopping 82% of people between 25 and 34 indicate that a gift would influence their decision to accept. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it should demonstrate your enthusiasm for making this person part of your team.

2. Paperwork bad, interaction good

There is going to be some paperwork on the first day, but it shouldn't be so much that you miss the chance to start wrapping your culture around the new hire. Some 69% of job seekers in the study say that their first-day experience will impact their decision to stay for more than a month. Make sure the first day also includes plenty of interaction with coworkers. You might take the new hire and a couple of other department members to lunch. If the new hire is remote or virtual, consider sending a restaurant gift card.

3. Socializing: More than just fun

A well-developed onboarding plan should incorporate scheduled time for the recent hire to socialize with their new colleagues. Socializing during onboarding (and even preboarding) is very important, particularly to the largest generation in the workforce: millennials. According to the Trendicator Report, 83% of millennials rate socializing or collaborating with other employees as Very Important or Important during the onboarding process. Other generations consider it valuable, too. For Generation Z it's 78%, for Gen X it's 72%, and for Boomers 66%.

There are plenty of free or low-cost ways to promote socializing. Pair the new employee with a mentor or buddy. Invite them to cheer on the company's softball team (or join it, if they have a mean fast pitch). Host a mixer in the break room. Don't forget online socializing – you might encourage current employees to reach out via LinkedIn. Many companies are implementing internal social platforms to promote employee engagement on multiple levels, including socializing. And guess what? While there's more to socializing than just fun, the fun adds value for the candidate and you.

4. You’ve got to recognize

It's almost impossible to overstate the power and value of recognition. Employees want it and look for it (don't we all?). According to the study, 81% of active job seekers stated that it is important to get insight into the recognition and rewards programs of any potential employer. More than half of all respondents indicate that recognition is important during preboarding (54%) and onboarding (56%).

Not only is praising someone's success easy, but it will probably be a positive moment for the recognizer as well as the recognized. Let the candidate know that you felt he or she handled themselves with poise during interviews, or acknowledge a particular achievement on the candidate's résumé.

5. Feedback is golden

Keep in mind that you're still "selling" the job and your company to new employees during the vulnerable preboarding and onboarding phases. In fact, the selling doesn't really stop, as what we've been talking about all along is employee engagement. You can think of engagement as being analogous to consumer engagement or loyalty.

Check with your marketing team, and they will confirm the importance of gathering regular feedback from consumers and making mid-course adjustments. You should do the same with your new hires. Don't assume it's “all good” just by observation; ask them directly about the positives and the negatives of their experience. Surveys can also be effective, but it's important to follow up. Use the feedback to improve the experience and validate what you are doing right.

Bonus tip: Respect is critical

It's essential to treat new hires (and all your employees, of course) with dignity and respect, and this is one area where technology won't help. More insight from the Trendicators Report:

  • The number one reason why candidates accept job offers is that they were treated with respect.
  • The number two reason they reject offers is a lack of recognition, appreciation, or respect.
  • The number one reason employees leave their current employer is that same lack of respect.

For years, many of us have had "Employees are our most valuable asset" on our websites. To attract, engage and retain top talent in the wild west of today's job market, those have to be more than just buzzwords. We need to embrace that statement as a core value that truly drives our behaviors toward candidates and employees alike.

For a complete guide to prepping new hires from the minute your candidate signs to first day, first week and beyond, download Glassdoor’s exhaustive New Hire Onboarding Checklist.

About the Authors:

Jeff Gelinas is Vice President of People and Product of Engage2Excel. With an extensive background in HR and staffing, Gelinas drives Engage2Excel’s product strategy and roadmap. Prior to joining Engage2Excel, he was the Talent Acquisition Product Management Leader at IBM and was responsible for the product development of IBM/Kenexa’s talent acquisition solutions. He holds an MBA from Boston University, School of Management and a B.A. from Tufts University.

Tom Brennan is Manager, Creative Services at leading nationwide recruiting firm Decision Toolbox. For more than a decade, he has played an integral role in developing strategic marketing materials designed to attract top candidates for Decision Toolbox clients. Founded in 1992, Decision Toolbox provides cost-effective, high quality and innovative recruitment solutions for companies nationwide. With unparalleled rigorous quality controls and a twelve-month candidate guarantee, Decision Toolbox has long set and surpassed industry standards. By leveraging the latest tools and its senior team of U.S. based recruiters, DT provides on-demand, scalable recruitment services for companies across more than 60 industries, filling more than 2,500 different job titles at an average of 5–10% cost per hire and an average time to present the winning candidate of 14 days. For more information visit www.dtoolbox.com and find Decision Toolbox on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.