Which onboarding route would be best for your organization:
An aging toll road that asks new hires to get up to speed on their own,
or . . .
An intelligent highway that leads each person to greater workplace engagement, enjoyment and productivity from day one.
Here’s the road map that can get you there. . . .
In a memorable, recent interview, Chad Carter, Senior Director of Human Resources for The Gideons International, put his finger on a pain point no leader can ignore:
“The costs for not investing in the development of an effective onboarding program are far greater than simply losing and replacing new employees.”
Chad then laid out the logical and highly successful onboarding approach The Gideons International is using to improve the health of their culture and thus effectively provide millions of Bibles and Scripture portions in 95 languages throughout 200 countries, territories, and possessions, annually.
“Onboarding,” said Chad, “is all about developing the behaviors that are foundational for an employee’s long-term success. This outcome is built into our simple, four-step process:
Step One: Pre-Boarding
Our ultimate goal is for each new employee to say, “I believe this is God’s assignment for me. I’m in the sweet-spot of my calling!”
“One to two weeks before our new hires ‘land’ on their first day of work, we reinforce the messages from the recruitment process, primarily that ‘You are valued. You are important to us.’ We make sure this happens by:
- Sending each new hire a welcome package, complete with a personal note, the organizational chart and guide book, employee directory with photos and titles of all employees,
- Notifying individuals within our organization with specific action steps related to the new hire, a way of alerting them of who is coming onboard,
- Ordering business cards and initiating the computer technology and phone information for desk phone and cell phone, if needed.
- Creating a new workspace, because everybody deserves a clean start,
- Preparing an Itinerary for each new hire’s first, several days
- Assigning a buddy/mentor to help with questions,
- Scheduling welcome lunches with the person’s team and various other people,
“As an added, personal touch, we ask the person’s references how we can most help the new hire grow and develop.”
Onboarding is all about developing the behaviors that are foundational for an employee’s long-term success.”
Step Two: Orientation
Our ultimate goal is that each new employee would make the life-confirming realization that, “I made the right decision.” Confirmation.
“A new hire’s first day and first week with us is so important.
- We make sure he or she is welcomed by their manager at the front door that first day of work. Then, at morning chapel, our new hire is warmly introduced to the staff, who later pray for him or her. Together, we acknowledge and thank the Lord for sending us this individual. After all, he or she is an answer to our prayers.
- An informal 30-minute visit with our Executive Director is followed by a brief history of The Gideons International and how the Lord has impacted people’s lives by receiving a Gideon Bible. This gives each new hire valuable perspective of the organization.
- Lunch with one’s department manager leads to some job-specific training that further helps set the stage for a fulfilling first week.”
Step Three: Short-term Onboarding
Our ultimate goal is that each person would say, “I know how I fit here. I’m connected!”
“Best-in-class organizations approach onboarding not as a one- or two-week training period, but as a process over a period of time. Onboarding is about learning, and the best learning occurs when it’s memorable and fun.
- To this end we involve our new people in conversations, stories and key facts of our mission, vision, values, culture, strategy and organizational structure. We identify the most-qualified, gifted people for each topic to ensure new employees learn the most.”
Step Four: Strategic Onboarding
Our ultimate goal is for a new employee to feel so engaged in, and contributing to the organization, that during that first year he or she would say, “I love my job! I knowingly can make a contribution.”
- “The best organizations understand the aspects of socialization and building employee engagement and how vital these are to a new employee’s success and their passion for the organization and its mission.”
1. Overlooking the opportunity to provide “pre-boarding” activities that help alleviate the “big data dump” on an employee’s first day
2. Maintaining old methodologies without moving to a more online approach that provides new hires valuable details about the job and the organization
3. Failing to articulate clear job responsibilities to new hires who then don’t know what’s expected of them and, thus, are prone to feel disengaged from the start
4. Not distinguishing the organization’s “culture builders” from its “culture busters” and providing the new hire a profile of positive behaviors for a successful employee
5. Not delivering feedback (early and often) to the new employee about his or her performance, which research show increases engagement.
“Your onboarding process is the very first opportunity for your new hires to learn how to make a real contribution to your organization. I love the note a CEO writes to help each new hire see what lies ahead for him or her and the organization:
There’s work and there’s your life’s work.
The kind that has your fingerprints all over it.
The kind you’d never compromise on, and that you’d sacrifice a weekend for.
You can do that kind of work here.
People don’t come here to play it safe.
They come to swim in the deep end.
They want their work to add up to something.
Something big. Something that couldn’t happen anywhere else.
It’s Your Turn!
Zig Ziglar, one of the finest Christian business leaders who ever lived said,
“The only thing worse than training employees and
losing them, is not training them and keeping them.”
With these words in mind, ask yourself:
- Do our present onboarding efforts have a meaningful impact that starts with “pre-boarding” and lasts six months or more?
- When our current onboarding process is complete, are our new hires engaged personally and professionally within our organization?
- Is our entire organization involved in the onboarding process?
Click here to download a free onboarding checklist: 4 Crucial Elements for New Hires
Dig deeper with our hiring toolkit,
“Addressing Performance Concerns With Grace and Truth”
Tara VanderSande, Staff Development Director,
Willow Creek Community Church
The Employee Engagement Survey
Click here to learn more!