The Future of Work is Here, and it’s Nothing to Fear

the future of work is here, and it's not astronauts on laptops

Chances you are reading this right now in your home. As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the globe, it has ushered in a new era for the workplace: remote work. 

Hate it or love it, remote working is the only option for many at the moment and for the foreseeable future. Remote working use to just for freelancers and a few progressive, technology-centric organizations, but now banks, governments, small and medium businesses are getting their slipper-covered feet wet in the remote working world.

If you are new to this whole experience, worry not! It’s exciting and full of opportunities. This article will help you outline some of those opportunities and provide some guidance during these troubling times.

The Future Is Now

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A lot of people have been asking about the future of work and how things will actually play out. Now obviously, the future is elusive, but distributed teams have been the talk of the town for a little bit of time. For example, this article from 2017 hints at it.

We haven’t hit the AI-led workplace that is also mentioned, which is probably still a ways away, but it does highlight some important points.

Remote work has been on the minds of many in the past few years as video conferencing, and instant messaging tools have become better and widespread. For many companies, internal emailing is a thing of the past. They have started to use either Slack or Microsoft Teams to coordinate with their teammates and have found great success.

In a more recent article, we also predicted changes once the 4th industrial revolution comes in. Now it looks like the beginning of this sweeping change might be underway with the acceleration of gig workers delivering more and work becoming increasingly remote. 

The future — and by extension, change — is coming at us full force. The thing that we must do as managers is to help our people adjust to this change and guide them. By using this change to find new exciting opportunities for our people, we set our teams up or bigger and better success.

Leveraging Change

Change is hard, especially the kind of rapid change we are seeing at this moment. The shift in your workplace doesn’t have to mean you’ll fall behind, though. You and your team can thrive through this change.

Remote work is bursting with opportunities. From giving people more time by not having to commute to allowing them to work wherever they need to to be the most productive, they can be, remote work is a game-changer. The trick is to leverage it so that you can unlock all that potential. 

Make sure to do weekly video check-ins with your team. Not only does this provide a chance for people to see one another and feel less alone, but it also allows people to voice any concerns they have or ask for help. Our team does two every week, but do an amount that feels right to you. Zapier has an excellent article on how best to conduct these remote meetings.

Try to be more understanding with your teammates when it comes to their schedule too. It can be challenging as people adjust to living with their family or friends 24/7. People might need to shuffle between rooms, deal with childcare, waking up much later than usual and a plethora of other potential scenarios that could play out. 

The 9-5 grind isn’t as applicable in this new age of work; instead, people need their schedule to be flexible. Maybe putting in six hours before noon and then four more after 3 o’clock is the best schedule for them. As long as they can complete their assigned work and show up to your weekly check-ins, your co-workers should be trusted with their own agenda.  

The biggest fear about remote work generally is if people will actually do work without their manager or teammates around them, but this is a fundamental flaw in thinking. People want to be productive. People want to be successful and helpful. Plus, if you can’t trust your employees to do their jobs at their homes, then you that reveals something about your company culture that you should take a hard look at.

Building your Team

Once you get past the initial hurdle of remote working, a bigger one comes your way. Hiring and onboarding during this time are challenging, to say the least. You can’t do in-person interviews, can give handshakes or show people around; everything needs to be at a distance. 

There are ways around this, too, though. The future of work includes the future of team building. Video applications — while having their own drawbacks — are used in my organizations today and are becoming more commonplace. If video applications don’t jive with you, then keeping the more traditional application process and using video conferencing for interviews is something you should look into. Sure, you might not see how that person carries themselves, but body language, tone of voice and all the other usual measures are there for you. 

Digital onboarding is possible in this rushed new age of work. The key to onboarding is fostering relationships as soon as possible, so your new hire doesn’t skip out on you. Now nothing beats a nice face-to-face human connection, but you might be surprised what you can do with some video calls. 

Make sure that new hires are introduced to their teams. That means everyone says hello and a brief introduction. Make sure additional check-ins are done to see how your newest team member is progressing. 

Another way of bolstering your connectedness is by using mentors to help them adjust and navigate your organization. Mentors can be super helpful for new employees when they need someone with experience, but don’t want to look bad in front of their manager.

Building up your team while working remotely is challenging, but it’s not impossible. In fact, a lot of companies are doing it and finding a great competitive advantage with doing everything remotely. Take a look at our article on Employer Branding Strategy to see how you can get an edge too.

Onwards and Upwards

The fact of the matter is; eventually, this lockdown will end. Stores will re-open, people will be able to move and meet again, and many aspects of life will regain normalcy. Our workplaces, however, may never return to how they once were. More and more companies will see the benefit of remote working and more people will start seeking remote work. 

This new age of HR needs a new set of tools. Tools that can be customized to help you with remote hiring, onboarding, and working. Because even when everyone is distant, relationships still makes or breaks the experience. At AllOnboard, relationships are at the core of what we do, and as such, you can create employee journeys that fit you perfectly. These completely customizable journeys can be transformed for any scenario, even remote onboarding. Sign up for a free trial now and let us know how we can help you reach your goals.

Top 15 Tips for a Great Employer Branding Strategy

the building blocks of employer branding strategy

Onboarding is part of a more comprehensive hiring process, and part of that process is attracting remarkable talent to your organization with your employer branding. To do that, not only do you need great onboarding, but you also need a strong employer brand.

These two aren’t separate and actually feed into one another. After all, if your onboarding experience is poor, that will eventually get out, and people will be less and less likely to apply to your postings. On top of that, goodwill and referrals is a powerful tool that you can only get by providing great experiences. For example, it’s proven that companies can expand their talent pool by 10 times by utilizing current employees’ networks! That’s a huge talent pool to lose by not planning out great experiences.

In fact, great onboarding is just one part of a broader Employer Branding Strategy. So let’s jump in and get some ideas to make the best strategy possible.

Tip 1: Company Perks

This one is a pretty common one for companies to brag up, but it can be the little things that give you the edge. Perks are more than just a snack drawer and a ping pong table. It can be anything from Work From Anywhere Wednesdays, the ability to bring pets into the office, or more traditional perks like more vacation time or an excellent benefits package to all employees. You’ll be the best judge at what you should use as perks, but keep in mind that design the perks to attract the people you want when planning out your strategy.

Tip 2: Provide Mentoring

People want to develop and grow. People want to feel invested in it. One of the better ways to do this is to set-up a mentorship program or, if you already have one, leverage it when you’re hiring. If people believe that they will learn new skills or expand the ones they have, they will be a lot more willing to apply to be a part of your organization. If you need some guidance to create a mentorship program, take a look at our Mentorship Handbook!

Tip 3: Understand the needs of the business

Your employer branding needs direction and guidance. To get this look at what your company needs right now. Ask yourself, where is the company headed? What skills will the company need in the next 6-months and year? Once you have an idea of what the needs of the business are, you can start planning out what might appeal to the people you are trying to attract. For example, if your business needs creative skills, emphasizing how fun and open your company or that department is will be a game-changer. 

Tip 4: Define your Employer Value Proposition

Your Employer Value Proposition — or EVP for short — is a critical aspect of your employer brand. This is the quick statement that job-seekers will read or think about when considering applying for your company. You can distill your EVP from your mission statement, company values, and the company’s long-term vision. A good idea might also be to crowd-source, by asking your current employees what they feel is the best aspect of working here and why they applied in the first place. This will give you some ideas on what exactly a compelling EVP might look like. Even if you already have an EVP in place, take a second look at it and see if it still feels right. Will it resonate with the kind of person you’re looking for? Is it distinct from other employers, especially ones that are similar to you? This statement should be iterative, so don’t feel like you have to get it perfect the first time.

Tip 5: Brand Advocates

While doing some digging around to find the best Employer Value Proposition, you might — and hopefully will — come across some of your team members that are super enthusiastic about working with your company. Not only will these people be great to help you develop your EVP, but they can play a more prominent role in your quest for a great employer brand. These people — those who love your company — are brand advocates. They are great people to get testimonials from and provide a sort of welcome wagon for new hires during onboarding. They can also serve as great people to bounce ideas off of and get feedback from to tweak your onboarding process. So make sure to find your brand advocates and get them to help you with planning your employer branding strategy — who knows what you might come up with together!

Tip 6: Leverage your Career Page

A career page is key to excellent employer branding. This page hosts all of your awesomeness in one convenient webpage. You can share all the great snippets, perks, and testimonials of why your organization is a great place to work. It really is one of your biggest assets when it comes to developing an employer branding strategy. Make sure to incorporate the essence of your Employer Value Proposition into your career page. In other words, make sure it has a genuine feel to it, and all the content flows naturally. 

Tip 7: Use Real Photos

Of course, you’re not going to use cartoon images when building your career page or while doing any other employer branding, but cartoons are not what I’m talking about. You need to use pictures of your real team. Pictures of afternoon outings, group parties, lunch-time discussions perhaps, or whatever else might signify that you have real people employed and enjoying themselves at your organization. This might take some time to build up a catalogue of photos depending on how my team events you have and what privacy policies are in place, but you should be able to have a handful of photos to start off with. Real images also give a more humanistic and welcoming vibe, rather than just stock photos. 

Tip 8: Survey Often

How can you improve if you don’t know what’s going wrong? That’s why surveying is so essential. Ask your new hires why they applied to your job postings, what attracted them to your company, and anything else that might help you discover some of your employer branding strengths. After a while, you should be able to have a pretty solid idea of what people think of your company and what attracts them. 

Tip 9: Define a Job-Seeker Profile

For your employer branding to be really effective, you need to define exactly what kind of job-seekers you want. Now, this may change from time to time, depending on the company or department needs, but chances are there’s a general theme that remains constant. Think about what kind of people thrive in your organization. For example, if your team is 100% distributed, then your profile should include skills that match that dynamic. This profile will help you gear your branding to attract the people that will make a positive impact. Play up certain aspects that you believe will resonate with your job-seeker profile, and you’ll get the best fit. 

Tip 10: Find the Perfect Communication Mix

As with pretty much everything, communication is essential. When you go to pen your employer branding strategy, you must consider how you will reach the job-seekers you want. To do this, you have to use a job-seeker profile to figure out what channels work best. For example, if you are trying to hire for a mid-to-high level management position, LinkedIn is probably your best bet to focus on. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for someone to fill an entry-level position, try using Facebook to get your brand out for the world to see. It’s all about reaching job-seekers where they are, even if they aren’t looking. Since 86% of qualified candidates are already holding a job, you need to be able to reach them at all different levels to attract them to apply.

Tip 11: 3rd Parties Give a Boost

Digging a little deeper into the communication mix bit is 3rd parties, like news outlets, awards and other badges of honour given to you by a reputable establishment. These give your employer branding some credibility and can help you attract those in your job-seeker profile if your 3rd party is specific. This is a hard one to plan for since you have to earn it, but it can be super useful. Try looking up some employer awards that fit your industry or region and see what the criteria are and if you meet them. Also, be sure to play up any feel-good news stories that involve your organization. Any kind of community support or other volunteering that you get recognized for is fantastic too. The main idea is that try your best to include some positive material that doesn’t come directly from you.

Tip 12: Prioritize Corporate Citizenship

This requires a little discussion with top decision-makers but can go a long way in aiding your employer branding strategy. By prioritizing your company’s corporate citizenship, you play into the often tricky strategy of getting a boost by 3rd parties, as discussed prior. People want to work for companies that do good, especially the younger folks. Prioritizing corporate citizenship will help you attract younger workers who are passionate, which can be a massive boon to your company. Make sure to plan this one out carefully, though. You need to ensure that any effort in being a good corporate citizen is seen as sincere and mixes well with your industry or your regular branding. 

Tip 13: Unite the Company

At first glance, I know that title sounds like a huge task, but stay with me. Employer branding will impact all departments and aspects of your company. After all, employer branding brings in certain types of people and companies are just the sum of their people. Really, everyone should be doing what they can to help you with furthering your branding goals, because it benefits everyone. It might take some time to really show the power and impact of a great employer branding strategy for everyone to start contributing to it, but the proof will be in the pudding. Once people unite around your strategy, you can have the employer branding set as a corporate priority and really start focusing on it.

Tip 14: Plan out the Experience

Experience is everything when it comes to employer branding. People who feel good and enjoy their experience will be more likely to recommend friends to apply to your postings. I view the experience in three parts. 

The first part is the hiring process. People will judge their experience by the application process, the interview, how timely communication is, and how you either let them know they’re successful or they didn’t make the cut.

The second part is the pre-boarding. This is the few weeks in between the time they sign their letter of offer, and their first day. If you go dark on them during this period, they will feel nervous and a little anxious when they walk in that first day. Not a great experience. Plan to have a couple emails go out during this time to knock it out of the park. If you’re too busy, no worries, with AllOnboard, you can schedule emails to go out. This way, no one feels nervous or forgotten.

The third experience is once they start working for you. That first day, week, and month are crucial to the overall experience and your employer branding. Carefully planning how these firsts go can make or break your strategy.

Tip 15: Lead with Culture

In the end, the most critical part of any employer branding strategy is to be true to your company’s culture. I’ve mentioned it a couple of times, but I want to emphasize it. Culture will be the number one thing that people will like or dislike when they research your company. They will be able to tell if your branding is genuine or fake if your branding is not based on your culture. Everything will just seem misaligned if you don’t make it the centrepiece of your strategy. 

Thanks for reading! If you want more information or great resources, make sure to head over to our resource page.

10 top tips for better employee onboarding

top tips for employee onboarding woman pointing up

Onboarding new hires is no easy feat. You can bring anyone into your company, but getting them to stay and actually enjoy their time while under your employment is a whole other ball-game. Everyone needs some top onboarding tips when you feel a little stuck!

That’s why we have compiled a list of some of the best onboarding tips! Working in even a handful of these tips into your current way of doing things will help you and your new hires!

Don’t just take my word for it. Companies that have a great onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82%

That’s a pretty significant improvement! 

So let’s get this ship sailing!

1. Start early, go long

So many organizations lose valuable time with this mistake. The pre-boarding phase is crucial in the new hire journey.

Pre-boarding is where new hires are teeming with excitement and is an excellent opportunity to start sending them essential information to reduce any information overload on day one. 

The other thing that most organizations skip out on is after the first week or so, they drop the ball with continuing the onboarding. Onboarding is not just the first week or even the first month. It takes time for a new person to adjust fully.

How long that takes is dependent upon you and the new hire, but it’s a good idea to run it for at least three months after the start date. This time will allow the new hire to get a good feel for your organization. 

An excellent onboarding plan consists of starting pre-boarding early and making sure that the real onboarding goes on for as long as needed.  

2. Communicate with them before their start date

The time leading up to their first day is a mixture of excitement and terrifying anxiety. They are about to jump into a whole new work environment with new people and new processes.

Communicating with the new hire during this pre-boarding time is crucial because it can help to alleviate some of the stress and make the new hire feel more prepared. 

There are a few things you should and could communicate before their big day. The big thing is to try to learn some fun facts or personal preferences of your new hire. When you do this, you will have a better idea of how to make the all-important first day a little bit better and brighter for them. 

Also, try to teach them a little about the team they will be working with by sending them short bios. You can also give them an itinerary of the first day, so they know what to expect and when to expect it. 

Regardless if it’s a couple of days or a few weeks, this pre-boarding time is a place where you can stand out and show how awesome of a company you really are and how much you truly care about your employees.

3. Get to know them and vice versa 

Getting to know each other can be difficult for larger or remote teams but is no less critical. 

The key to great onboarding is fostering strong connections between people, and the only way is by getting to know one another.

This is why for the first week you should be encouraging other team members to welcome them into conversations and strike up conversations. Introduce them to people with similar interests, if you know what their interests are.

Helping to bridge new connections will be the surest way to reduce new hire turnover. After all, it’s a lot harder to leave a place where you’ve just made a bunch of new friends! 

If your teams are remote, worry not! It’s still possible to build new connections, but you may have to be a little more creative. 

The exact solution will be up to how your company usually interacts, but for new hires, you will want to be extra chatty with them. Discuss non-work related things. Get on one big conference call to welcome them to the team (for remote teams). Get them a welcome letter and box of company swag for their desk, so they have some physical items that link them to your organization.

Do what aligns with your culture, but make sure you are encouraging people to reach out to the new hire and welcome them to your crew!

4. Set expectations for the company and the role

People like to know what they’re getting themselves into. Regardless of your employer branding or how you talked up your culture, you need to set realistic expectations for your new hire.

There are two main things you need to set expectations for: the company and their role within it. 

For the company, let them know what office life is like. Is it a loud collaborative environment, or do people put their head-phones in and furiously type away all day? Tell them things that will reduce the learning curve that first week as they adjust to their new surroundings. 

Any little cultural artifacts or fun group activities will be essential too. Usually, the smaller and more routine something is, the more critical it is to tell your new hire about it. It’s easy to forget about these minor quirks, but I promise they are incredibly important.

With the role, it’s much more straightforward and more comfortable to remember and explain. If you already have a well-defined onboarding procedure, this step gets even easier. The key here is that you let the new hire know what is expected of them in the first few days and weeks. 

If you have all new hires run through a project for their first week, tell them and explain the different deliverables you’re hoping for. Giving them a heads up of what they should be doing once they get in the door will provide a direction and a sense of belonging in the organization.

Bonus points if you explain how their role is essential to the company, and you see them fit into the company’s long-term goals if everything goes alright. 

5. Be prepared on their first day

Preparation is especially key for a good onboarding experience. Arguably, this is the bare minimum. If you don’t have this, it doesn’t much matter what else you do have.

Being prepared doesn’t have to be hard; it just requires a little time and planning.

The biggest thing is to make sure that they have a desk. Not bad if it’s just a cleared desk with some of their work materials on it, but if you want to go above and beyond, try to have a welcome card waiting for them at their desk and some company-branded gear.

Also, make sure that their team or other relevant groups of people know of the new hire’s arrival. This helps prepare everyone to greet the latest team member. 

6. Introduce them to key people around the office

This will work well for some companies and less well for others, so feel free to bend this one to fit your situation. 

Your new hire should meet some important people around the office. Ideally, you would be able to introduce them to some more senior people. Give the new hire to feel like they know some significant decision-makers, but there are other important people with less formal positions.

For example, if your organization has sports teams, or leagues, or social committees, then it would be a good idea to introduce your newest crew member to the people who lead these. That way, they will know who to go to if they want to become more involved in your organization.

Also, something to think about is how cross-functional the role of the new hire is. 

If in a short time, the new hire will be working with different departments or teams, they should get to know the leads or heads. This will make them feel more comfortable approaching those teams and have a better understanding of how those teams work. 

7. Set them up with a mentor/buddy

A mentor or buddy can be a fantastic bridge into your organization for a new hire. They can help teach the ropes and are a crucial first connection. Click To Tweet

Now some organizations use the term mentor and buddy interchangeably, which is all fine and dandy. At the end of the day, you need to make these tips work for you, but splitting up the roles have benefits.

A mentor can be more for career development and helping with different skills that the new hire will need to be successful, not just short-term but long-term as well. They are generally more work-focused than buddies.

A buddy is more of a social connection. They help the new hire in the first few weeks as they adjust to the office. Although you can’t tell two people to be friends, the buddy should be a kind of bridge that helps the new hire find their social place in your organization. 

One person could do both of these jobs, but if your organization has the people and the resources to separate them, you might want to consider it.   

8. Do regular check-ins

There is only one real way to track the progress and happiness of a new hire. You have to talk with them face-to-face (or via video calls for remote teams). 

Checking with new hires will help you gauge how well they are doing, but you also have to do it regularly enough that you can see small changes. Doing infrequent meetings won’t give you the same picture.

It’s a good practice to, at minimum, have check-ins at the 30, 60, and 90-day mark. You should also consider doing check-ins after the first day and at the end of the first week. This will be the time of the most adjustment, so it’s good to get a pulse check early.

9. Get their feedback

New hires can bring some much needed fresh eyes for your organization. From your hiring process, to pre-boarding, to how things work, new hires can help you improve your company, but only if you get their feedback.

Getting feedback doesn’t just help you improve, it also makes the new hire feel valued. Asking for their input can really help the new hire feel like their voice and opinion matters. 

This gives them a quick win, and they will feel like they are already part of the team.

10. Be consistent

Providing a consistent onboarding experience for similar positions helps you make a better process in the long-term. As you work through a specific process a few times, you can see where new hires get caught up or stop engaging with your onboarding material.

Although this won’t provide an immediate boost to the experience, being consistent will allow for a proper measurement against all scenarios. By tweaking certain areas that are problems or bottlenecks, you can create a better experience over time. 

Luckily, AllOnboard’s platform helps you measure that kind of engagement and allows for a very consistent process.

If you want to know what not to do, go see our article about onboarding mistakes. Of course, you know your company best, so apply these top onboarding tips in a way that will work best for you. Any of them will help contribute to an overall better experience!

The Dos and Don’ts of Onboarding New Employees

There are a lot of moving parts to onboarding new employees, especially if you want to do it the right way. Whether you consider the onboarding process to be only the first few days or the first few months, there’s a lot of room for errors that could make your newest employee become your latest alumni. 

Let’s make sure those errors don’t happen and that we provide the best onboarding experience! Knowing some of the best things to do and not to do will give you an edge when planning out your process. It might even give you some ideas on how to improve your existing one.

Let’s jump in! This article will give you a quick look at the information you need to lay the foundation for a great onboarding process.  If you want something a little more in-depth, hit up my article on Proactive Onboarding.

The Dos

Do make onboarding fun. Onboarding doesn’t have to be boring and, honestly, should really be enjoyable. Think of a couple of different ways you can inject some fun and delight into your onboarding process. Some ideas you might want to play around with are things like a team lunch, a social outing after work or some kind of offsite to help your newest teammate get to know everyone a little better. If you can combine a fun activity with something that can foster relationships, you get the double jeopardy! 

Do pre-board your new hire. Pre-boarding takes a little planning and effort but can make onboarding a massive success, putting your new hire in a firm footing for their first day. Some information you might want to share with them before they show up is transit or parking options, dress-code, introduce them to their manager, and give them a heads up of what their first week will be like. If you have an essential project that they will start working on, give them a heads up! No one wants to be surprised on their first day, so the more information, the better. 

"Do pre-board your new hire. Pre-boarding takes a little planning and effort but can make onboarding a massive success, putting your new hire in a firm footing for their first day." Click To Tweet

Do check-in regularly with your new hire. Check-ins are a great way to see how your new employee is finding it at your company, but there are more benefits to check-ins than just the obvious. By checking in with new employees, you can start tweaking and adjusting your onboarding program to better suit the needs of employees and departments. Figuring out what works for some people and what doesn’t is instrumental in creating a great onboarding program. By all means, ensure that people are getting along well within your company, but make sure some questions will help you design the best onboarding program that you can.

Do make their first day short. I see more and more companies doing this in one way or another. For example, some companies ask the new employee to only come in an hour or two after everyone else starts. This gives the team a little bit of time to make sure everything is in place for their newest crew member. Any last-minute touches can be applied, and everyone can get on the same page. This also helps make the first day for the new hire go by a little faster. After all, the first day can wear people out really quickly, so the quicker, the better.

Do assign them a buddy or a mentor. Although mentors are an informal part of the organization, they play an essential role. They can help your new employee adjust to their position by answering some routine questions and help guide them in their professional development. They could also act as a social bridge to help invite the new employee into conversations or other social settings. If you don’t have a buddy or mentorship program, at least think about implementing one. We give you a head start with this Mentorship Handbook.

The Don’ts

Don’t stuff your new employee in a room with the policy manual on the first day. Yes, knowing the company policies is important, but no one enjoys flipping through a dry book. If you must make them read the policy, try to create a one-page summary of the most important things they should know. Better yet, send it to them during their pre-boarding phase and then they can peruse it at their own speed and time. Luckily, AllOnboard can confirm that they’ve read what you sent. 

Don’t throw them into a big project their first week. New employees need to be able to adjust to their new surroundings and new people. If you start throwing deadlines, tasks, and assignments at them before they get a good grounding, they will quickly feel overwhelmed. Start them off with an easy assignment, preferably if it involves them going to different departments to meet and talk with different people. The first week is about getting to know the office and the people in it. Sink or swim should not be your onboarding program.

Don’t forget to remind everyone when a new team member is starting. There is nothing more demoralizing than walking into the office on your first day, and no one even knows you’re starting that day. Preparation is vital for giving a great experience right off the bat. Remember, all that employer branding and culture you talked about during the hiring process is about to be put to the test when they walk through that door on the first day. A lot of companies fail that test, but you don’t have to.

Don’t forget what it’s all about. Onboarding is not just another thing to get done and out of the way. It is what forms the foundation for your employees and ultimately your culture. It helps determine if someone will stay or not. After all, 69% of employees are more like to stay if they get a great onboarding experience. Don’t obsess over policies and compliance. Focus on the relationships that make your company a great place to work. That will be more powerful than any employee manual.

Onboarding works. It works better when we do a great job of onboarding than missing the mark. Keep in mind that whether you plan on it or not, you onboard everyone. Everyone gets a taste of your culture, everyone gets to know the people they work with, everyone learns the silent rules that govern your company. The difference has to do with retention. Great onboarding makes retention easier and builds a stronger bond among employees. All you need to know is what to do and what not to do. 

The Best Ways To Reduce Employee Turnover

angry man on phone dealing with employee turnover

Imagine this:

It’s a bright sunny day as you walk into work. You get settled at your desk and about to start your day.

Just then, your newest employee pokes their head into your office and explains to you that they are leaving in two weeks for a different job opportunity. 

What a bummer

All the work that it took to hire that person and the training you put into them over the last few weeks or months are down the drain. 

New employee turnover is a real problem for businesses. About 28% of new hires leave just six months into a new job, and the average cost of each person leaving is between $3,000-$18,000, stretching over to two million for executive positions where hiring takes longer. Ouch!

That can really do some significant damage, and that’s not even mentioning the impact high turnover has on your company culture and morale. 

So how can we avoid all of this chaos and mess? Well, there’s a couple of critical tasks to do and some ongoing commitments to track, but a lot of it is pretty straight-forward and takes just a little bit of planning. Let’s dive in!

The First Day Is The Big Day

First impressions matter. That goes for a lot of instances, but especially when new hires first arrive at the office. 

The first day is the day where all of your hype and employer branding gets put to the test. Unfortunately, a lot of companies fail that test. Research has shown that 22% of all staff churn will happen within the first 45 days of employment. 

One crucial aspect that needs to happen on the first day is to make for a welcoming and engaging environment. If the first day is all about protocols, presentations, and paperwork, your new hire will probably feel pretty overwhelmed and not engaged. 

Make for an engaging first day by introducing them to some key people around the office, tell them about any intramural teams people play in or any company committees they could be a part of. Encourage them in different ways to be a part of your team.

Maybe the team makes a big volunteering effort twice a year. Perhaps there is a friendly cooking competition among the different departments. Whatever your company’s team-bonding thing is, ensure to tell your new employees about it and give them the option to join in on the fun. 

Another super impactful idea is to learn what their favourite snack and/or drink is, then have some on-hand for their first week. Not only does this show that you are listening, but also that you want employees to be comfortable in their new place of work.

If you really want to have an excellent first day, think about getting ahead of the game and doing some pre-boarding activities. Keep in mind that I mean more than just sending a couple of documents to begin their first-day reading assignments. 

Pre-boarding should help ease their nerves, after all, they are about to jump into a whole new environment, which can be terrifying for some. Try to send some information regarding dress-code, parking or transit options, or maybe even suggest some excellent lunch spots nearby the office. 

Try to set some expectations for the first day too. If they are expected to start on a basic assignment right away, give them a heads up that they’ll be assigned something. Any information that will help them feel like they are prepared will be a huge help!

This is also an ideal time to start introducing them to a couple of people on their immediate team. Sending a quick email connecting your new hire with someone like their manager allows the new hire to feel a little more prepared. Plus, it gives them a friendly face to find in the duration of that first, hectic day.

Be Relationship-First

People need connections when they first enter any group. Whether it is a new school, a new city, or a new job. Early relationships play a huge part in whether we stay there or not.

So how can we, as managers, help foster these vital early relationships? While we can’t force people to be friends, there are a couple of ways to get the process started and to encourage people to strengthen their bonds with one another.

One way is ensuring that the whole team is aware of the new hire’s arrival and ready to greet them into their new job. The more welcoming the first day or two is, the better chance the new hire will feel comfortable talking with their co-workers. 

You may also want to consider taking your newest crew member out to lunch with their team. A less formal setting will put people at ease and encourage conversations that don’t pertain to their work. 

Going the extra mile during the first week or so to help your new teammate meet people will help reduce turnover significantly. It’s a lot harder to leave if you feel like you’re about to leave a whole group of friends!

Also, consider how you’ll want to foster relationships past the initial onboarding of the first month or so. Inviting them to informal events, such as off-site, conferences, or more team lunches, gives them a chance to interact with everyone in a way that doesn’t revolve around work. 

This is where you can really learn about the person and help them make actual friendships, rather than just strict work relationships. 

Utilize your Mentors

If you don’t already have a mentorship or a “buddy” program in place, you should really consider implementing one. 

Mentors can provide valuable insights into the organization for new hires. You can even consider them a kind of bridge for new employees. They can help bring a new employee from not knowing key cultural information about your company to adjusting to the new workspace nicely. 

These people can act as a way for your new hire to integrate socially as well. If the mentor can be welcoming to the new hire and encourage them to join informal lunchtime discussions, the new hire will feel much more a part of the team and the organization as a whole.

"Having a strong mentorship program in your organization helps people progress within the company and show them what they need to do to succeed within your company." Click To Tweet

Check-in Often

Checking in with your new hire serves two essential purposes. Firstly, it gives you the chance to hear about any issues they might be having. If you do it frequently enough, at least at the beginning, this will provide you with a sort of early warning system. 

Secondly, it makes your newest teammate feel heard. Even having the opportunity to speak about how things are going can be an impactful way to feel part of the team. Make sure there are some actionables for you to achieve, so that really do they feel heard and that their opinions are respected.

Take the opportunity to use these check-ins to gather data on how they feel the onboarding is going in general. Anonymous surveys might be the best tool in this case. If you can have some information on how new hires feel during the onboarding process, you can then make adjustments. 

Searching for and continually improving how you run onboarding will always make for better results. Plus, then you can make a custom-made onboarding plan that fits just right for your company.

As your newest crew member starts to learn the ropes, you can start reducing the number of check-ins, but always make sure they feel heard, and you address any issues that might be forming. 

Tie It All Together 

There’s no doubt that onboarding is tough, but it’s even harder if your new employees rapidly leave because they either didn’t feel valued or they didn’t feel connected. 

So avoid the hassle of having to restart the hiring process every couple of months by planning a more engaging experience for your newest teammates. 

Plan to engage them before and on the first day. Work out a strategy to encourage friendship among employees. Set up a mentoring system to smooth out the bumps many new employees face. Ensure to check-in often enough to find and assist with any issues that might be sprouting up in the first few weeks and months.

These are just a couple of things that will help reduce new employee turnover for your company. In essence, people want to feel respected and heard. Once people think this, then the rest of it becomes a lot easier. If you want some more onboarding ideas, check out my other article, 10 top tips for better employee onboarding.

If you would like a little more structured list like the one above, head over to our super handy checklist page and download it. It’s full of even more helpful hints and goals to hit, giving you an edge when it comes to onboarding.

How to Proactively Onboard New Employees

As with many things in life, there is a passive way and a proactive way to onboard new employees. If you are under the same persuasion as I am — which I’m assuming you are since you’re reading this 🙂 — then you know that proactive onboarding is better than passive.

The numbers speak for themselves in favour of being proactive too. According to a 2015 study by Glassdoor, organizations with a robust onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.

Those are vast improvements! But what makes for a strong onboarding process? How can such a process be sustained for the long-term? Let’s jump in and find out!

What’s the difference anyway?

To really take a look at what makes for a good onboarding process, let’s first look at what isn’t. 

A passive onboarding process is pretty much as hands-off as you can get and still call it a “process.” The first day is all about paperwork and protocol. A limited, if any, welcome on the first day. The new hire is expected to introduce themselves to the rest of the company as the opportunity arises. 

I could go on, but I’m sure we all have had our own lousy onboarding experiences, so it probably won’t be too hard to imagine. No matter how you slice it, an onboarding process like this isn’t engaging, and it doesn’t encourage people to stay.

After all, people stay at a company because of the relationships they forge there. 

As such, a proactive onboarding process is more of a guided experience that takes someone from a stranger to a valuable teammate. It makes the first-day fun by having several welcoming activities. It involves pre-boarding to ensure that any tension or fears are addressed before they walk in. It is an on-going commitment. 

Digging Deeper

A strong onboarding program has a lot of moving parts, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming and, most importantly, it’s not the sole responsibility of HR.

It does take a little planning and getting the hiring managers onboard. An excellent way to plan out a strong onboarding strategy is thinking about the 4 C’s.

If you’re not familiar, the 4 C’s are Compliance, Clarification, Culture, and Connection. SHRM has a great article about them, but mostly they are a kind of range of engagement that new hires go through — compliance being the lowest and connection the highest. 

Let’s go through each C and plan out some ideas of how to do each to ensure a proactive onboarding plan.

Compliance: Compliance is the lowest in terms of engagement and for a good reason. It is actually making sure that your new employee knows critical company policies and protocols. Important stuff to know, but terribly dull. 

It’s best to either send a summary of key policies to your new hires before their first day, giving them a chance to flip through it or wait for a day or two after they arrive to explain things to them. This is a first-day engagement killer if you hand them the policy book as soon as they walk in the door.

Clarification: This step is all about ensuring your new hire knows what they’ll be doing. Sure, they read the job posting and have a rough idea, but giving them additional knowledge on what are some big projects their team is currently working on or what is expected of them the first week is super important. 

Try to knock this out of the park before the first day. By doing some basic pre-boarding and sending a summary of the role and department, you can get clarification down and also have a better prepared new hire right off the bat. It’s a win-win to get this done as soon as possible.

Culture: This is where things start to get a little harder to get right, but it is imperative to do. This is the step of letting the new hire know about organizational norms.

There is no real easy way to do this. Culture is something that is learned over time, but you can help speed up the process by giving them some heads up on any formal aspects. For example, if the team does team lunches every Friday, invite them. Anything that they can be a part of, or exposes them to it, will help in making your new employee feel adjusted. 

Connection: The most crucial stage is the connection stage. This is where new hires feel like they actually have a bond with people at the company. If you can achieve this, then you are guaranteed a robust onboarding process.

"The most crucial stage is the connection stage. This is where new hires feel like they actually have a bond with people at the company." Click To Tweet

But achieving it is easier said than done. Similar to the culture step, connections are formed over time but can be sped up the right programs. One way to do this is to use a buddy or a mentor program. By assigning your new employee a buddy to help them meet people, they can start fostering connections faster.

The 4 C’s provide a vital road map that can be utilized to make a great onboarding. If you can nail these down, you’re setting yourself — and your new employees — up for success! We have a helpful infographic with even more info on the 4 C’s that you can get here.

The Power of Connections

During the onboarding process, connections serve as the difference between if someone stays or if someone goes. As such, I want us to focus on how to grow and foster these connections.

A big part of fostering connections is not on the HR department’s shoulders. Instead, the new hire’s managers need to be fully invested and engaged in the onboarding process. Their managers are the ones who will see them the most, interact with them the most, and have a better idea of how they are adjusting to their new workplace.

But how can we engage with managers? The best way to help the manager plan out the first day, week, and month. Checklists are convenient and keep everything consistent between hires. To make things even easier for you, go check out our pre-made checklist.

After the managers have a solid plan for the first few weeks, encourage them to also engage their entire team with onboarding. The more people who go out of their way to say hi or strike up a conversation will make the new employee feel more welcomed.

A good way of getting everyone out of the office is a lunch out with the team. Not only does this provide the opportunity for everyone in the team to welcome the new employee, but it also gets them away from the formal office and into a more relaxed atmosphere where people can share their interests and hobbies a little easier. These are the opportunities that forge friendships.

The Finishing Touch

A good onboarding program is only good as long as it stays relevant to the new employees. Doing anonymous surveys on whether someone enjoyed or found value in their onboarding experience will help you adjust the program. With every tweak and test, you’ll create a more robust and stronger program by making it employee-centric.

Get manager in on the process too. How do they enjoy taking more ownership of onboarding? What would make a more effective process for them? Be sure to show them any results and improvements you find after implementing a more robust onboarding plan. This will help them feel invested and engaged with new hires’ onboarding. If you want some quick ideas, make sure to head over to our Dos and Don’ts of Onboarding article!

In the end, the most important metric to measure onboarding success is how many people enjoy their job and if they feel like they’re a part of the team. If they don’t feel a connection with the team and company, then something broke down somewhere.

Remember to take a hard look at the 4 C’s. Use them as a guide when making your onboarding plan and ensure you have a way to hit on each of them. If you want a little extra assistance, feel free to sign-up for AllOnboard. We’re a relationship-first onboarding platform that helps you engage managers and improve the employee experience for new hires! 

5 Onboarding Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

man squinting at employee onboarding mistakes

Onboarding. Whether you have been job-hopping the last several years, or you’ve been with your current employer for as long as you can remember. Onboarding is something that we’ve all experienced some time in our life. Yet onboarding new employees is something that a lot of companies struggle to get right and they make a lot of onboarding mistakes.

There are a lot of contributing factors to why so many companies struggle with onboarding. Sometimes it’s a cultural thing. Sometimes it’s just poor planning.

Either way, if you’re reading this, chances are that you want to make your onboarding better. That’s great! Especially since 54% of companies who have onboarding programs report higher employee engagement.

I’ve collected some of the worst mistakes companies make when onboarding new employees. The ones that really crush souls and dampen spirits, and some tips on how to make sure you don’t fall victim to them.

Mistake 1: Lack of or no communication after offer letter

Let’s step into the shoes of a job seeker for a second. You went through a rigorous selection process, and you managed to get the offer letter. Woohoo! The job is yours, and you are so excited to start. You accept the offer, already imagining how fun and exciting this new adventure will be.

Then you never hear from that company until you walk in the front doors on your first day.

No ‘welcome aboard’ email, no ‘can’t wait to meet you’ message, not even an account setup request – nothing.

Kind of spoils the mood, huh?

It can be a nerve-wracking thing when people make a career change or switch employers. Feeling like you’re about to jump into a murky abyss is terrifying.

So how can you make that jump a little less terrifying? Communicate!

Even if the time between offer acceptance and start date is a few days, you should send them a message expressing how excited you and the team is for them to start. The thought of a group of people looking forward to their arrival will help calm their nerves.

If there are a few weeks between offer acceptance and start date, think about sending them a couple of messages throughout that time period. No need to overdo it, but rather just offer a few friendly words. Asking them a couple of helpful questions, like what coffee or tea is their favourite or what their go-to afternoon snack is.

Bonus points if you can use that information to plan a nice little gift for them the first day.

The main idea is to make it known that you didn’t forget about them and that you’re happy they’re joining your team.

Mistake 2: Not introducing them to their team

Work can be difficult, but having some people at work that you get along with can make it a whole lot better. That’s why it’s important to acclimate your new hire by introducing them to the team.

It is also beneficial to your team as a whole, as they get an opportunity to meet their newest co-worker. Having a set time to let people introduce themselves could avoid some awkward or hap-hazard intros. Plus, no one wants to feel like they didn’t get a chance to meet the new person.

There are a few ways to get this done, depending on your circumstances. You could even do the meet-and-greet before their first day. Invite them in for a quick 15-minute meet up to walk around and meet everybody. This is a good option for local candidates and small teams.

If your new hire is remote or only moving to your location shortly before their start date, hold a video conference call with them and the team. A virtual meet up of sorts. Not as strong as an in-person handshake, but it’s still an excellent way for everyone to say hi.

If time is short between offer acceptance and start date, then a team lunch their first day might be your best bet. You could do introductions on the morning of their first day too.

Either way, make sure introductions, especially key introductions, don’t drag into a week-long process. Valuable bonding time will be lost if it’s stretched too long.

Mistake 3: Not having their desk ready for the first day

"This one is just painful but happens to so many people. Imagine how disheartening it would be to walk into your first day at work only to realize your new employer more or less forgot about you." Click To Tweet

This one should be an easy one to avoid; all it takes is a little planning and reminder notifications. There are two different levels of success here, and you can determine which one is best for time and company culture.

The first level of success here is doing the bare-bones. If there is a desk with some pens, a notepad and a computer where they can sit and at least look like they belong there, then that’s a (small) win. The less they feel like they stand out like a sore thumb, the better.

The second level of success, which is the one everyone should aim for, is a desk that is ready to roll. It makes the new hire feel like they belong. This includes everything in the first level and some additional gifts and goodies.

Some ideas for this could be some company swag, preferred snacks (use this in tandem with the tip in the first mistake and avoid two mistakes), or a card signed by everyone on the team, welcoming them to the office. Also, think about how your special gift can reflect your culture or how it can help the new hire make connections with their new co-workers.

So set a reminder on your calendar for three or four days before your new employee arrives. Make sure you have a desk ready for them with all the trappings of a great place to work.

Mistake 4: Making them fill out a tonne of paperwork their first day

No one loves paperwork, and it’s a huge momentum killer on the first day. I understand that things need to get filled out and filed, but there is a better way then having a stack of paper to sign as soon as they walk through the door.

The first day is valuable time. This is where the new hire starts forming first impressions of everyone and everything. Plus, every other company forces people into paperwork on their first day.

Why not stand out and make the first-day fun.

After all, according to HCI, only 21% of companies have a formal program focused on culture. There is lots of room to stand out.

One way to avoid this is to send them the paperwork they can fill out at home before their first day. This also solves mistake 1 (albeit in not the best way), and you can have some of the more monotonous tasks out of the way quickly.

Another option to avoid this mistake is to spread the paperwork out. This is the best scenario if you need them to be physically there to fill things in.

Prioritize the paperwork by what you need to be done first and really prioritize. If you have over four documents for them to fill out, consider taking a second look.

Then just have them fill everything in during their first week. Tonnes of paperwork on the first day is painful, but a couple of things here and it is very manageable.

Mistake 5: Not Pairing Them up with a Mentor or Buddy

New hires have questions, even if you prepare them as best as you can. Some of these questions will be job-specific that you may not be able to answer (we can’t be experts on everything).

This is where mentors and buddies come in. You might wonder what the difference is.

Essentially, mentors tend to someone with knowledge or skills that the new hire is hoping to learn for working with your organization. A mentor is also usually slightly more senior in the hierarchy than a buddy.

A buddy is just that. A friendly face that your new hire can go to to ask simple questions or just help bridge the new hire into the rest of the social group. Buddies should be considered more of a peer to the new hire instead of a higher-up.

Pairing new hires up with either or both will help them adjust much faster than if they were left to their own devices, so says 87% of companies who utilize mentors and buddies. Plus, it shows you want them to feel invested in and welcomed.

If you need some ideas or a nudge in the right direction, sail on over to our Mentor Handbook resource here. You’ll be able to download a copy of our fully crafted handbook, ready for use!

Connection is Key

There are other mistakes that we make when onboarding; some are worse than others. The main focus of any onboarding program should be ensuring that the new hire feels like they are accepted into the organization. People always want to feel needed and useful, so work on your process, so that actually happens.

Hopefully, you won’t make these five mistakes. If you would like some additional tips and tricks, head over to my other article, The Dos and Don’ts of Onboarding! Good luck with your onboarding!

Before you go, don’t forget to net yourself a copy of our onboarding checklist! Row on over here to get your copy!