Build an Onboarding Process That Works!

employee engagement employee retention leadership culture onboarding process recruiting retention team building what is onboarding Mar 21, 2022
Employee Orientation Process

Now that we have a solid understanding of what onboarding is and why it even matters, and we’ve look at some of the measurable benefits a company can expect to capture with an effective onboarding process in place, it’s about time we make the rubber meet the road with some specific action steps we can put in place to be sure our onboarding approach achieves the kind of results that we’ve been looking at to this point!

If you’re brave enough to do an internet search on the term “onboarding process,” you’re going to find all kinds of craziness! Gosh, I saw everything from the four phases to the seven steps, the sixteen steps, and even the forty steps… And each option linked to a map that promised to take our organizations to the promised land! For what it’s worth, I’m sure they all hit on some things that would serve us well - assuming we’re clear on what we’re really working to achieve through it all.

If we’re looking for warm bodies that can churn out widgets, you probably care to take action on much of what I cover moving forward here. But if you’re committed to building a team culture where each individual who joins your organization is actively engaged the entire time they’re with you, be that two years or two decades, you’ll need to set the right tone from the beginning! Not the beginning of their employment with your company though, from the very first interaction they have with your company…

I still help a few small local companies with their hiring process and when all things are close to equal with regards to what each company is offering compared to their competition, I can typically be far more effective than my full time counterparts with the competitors. Sure I’ve done it a lot, and I’d like to think I’ve gotten fairly good at the whole recruiting thing, but I don’t think that’s what makes the difference. I believe it boils down to one simple thing, something that every company can do IF they’re willing to be intentional about it: I’m incredibly proactive!

When we’re willing to initiate contact where we can and be extremely responsive to each and every question even a potential candidate has, we show them that we value them. That said, I believe it’s just as critical to be open and honest from the first point of contact, providing a transparent mix of the good and the bad. If we have to lather a candidate up with a bunch of nonsense we’ll never live up to just to get them in for an interview, there’s not much hope of developing a working relationship that lasts long term. It’s fine to emphasize the company’s strengths but we also need to be candid about our opportunities for improvement. By taking this approach, we may scare a few away but we’ll also earn immediate respect from even more.

One thing I’ve never seen work well has been making promises that we won’t come true. Whether that’s with regards to wage or growth potential, sooner or later it ends poorly - and usually sooner… I’ve also seen folks attempt to take a very laid back approach up front when things are going to change to full speed ahead as soon as the offer is accepted. We all have demands to meet but we’re not serving anyone well when we don’t set and maintain clear expectations; what they can expect from us as well as what we’ll be expecting from them.

Again, this approach may not necessarily yield the most warm bodies through the door for an interview but it absolutely brings in stronger candidates who can help build a great team. And once we’ve nailed down that part of the process, we need to focus on making sure they know they made the right decision and they really are part of a great team - so that’s where we’ll pick up next time!