What You Need to Know Before Tonight’s #Tchat on Employee Onboarding

employee onboarding

Employee onboarding — how new hires are welcomed — can make a big impact on your company’s longterm engagement and retention. (Photo via flickr.com/niexecutive)

Tonight, Wednesday, June 4, TalentCulture is hosting a #TChat Radio show on how to create a transformative employee onboarding experience for new hires. Click here to listen to the 30-minute show at 6:30 p.m. EST. A #TChat Twitter discussion follows from 7 to 8 p.m.

Let’s go over some basics of employee onboarding to prepare. While it’s not necessarily a new topic in human resources management, employee onboarding is rightly getting renewed attention lately and expanding its scope.  HR leaders know that onboarding is a reflection of your company culture and if you want employees to feel valued, engaged and an important part of your team, you need to start from the moment they walk in the door.

(Jot down questions you may have. The hosts of tonight’s show, TalentCulture’s Meghan M. Biro and PeopleFluent’s Kevin W. Grossman, will be taking questions from listeners at 347-324-5041 for this week’s guests, Todd Owens, President & COO at TalentWise, and Wendy Matyjevich, SPHR, Managing Partner of Human Capital for BlackRain Partners.)

Think of employee onboarding as your company’s welcome mat — except instead of a doormat that just sits there, the latest expert recommendations are for an active and engaged “welcome.”

Your employees’ first days on the job should involve more than paperwork, rote orientations and a meet-and-greet bagel breakfast. The best companies approach onboarding with intention and specificity. A systematic approach is more than a simple “Welcome Aboard.” It is a fine-tuned practice with long-term goals of growth, engagement and retention.

It’s helpful to think of onboarding also as a type of organizational socialization. The first few weeks and months in a new hire’s worklife are vital toward building healthy participation in company culture.

“I’d argue for thinking of the onboarding process as a team-building exercise rather than simply a time to get all the necessary forms filled out properly,” Biro wrote in a recent Forbes column, “The Onboarding Experience Matters to Your Future Employees.”

According to the Expertus blog Learning in the Cloud, employee onboarding should be a concerted effort involving everyone in the workplace. In the post “Onboarding: It Takes a Learning Village,” guest expert Nancy Rubin cites the strong connection between onboarding and retention.

The Society for Human Resource Management estimates that each year, nearly 25% of workers experience some type of career transition. Although any turnover is expensive for employers, it’s particularly important to minimize voluntary departures. This is where focusing on new hire programs can yield big benefits. According to Aberdeen Group, 86% of new hires decide to stay or leave a company within six months — and employees who participate in effective onboarding programs are nearly 70% more likely to stay longer than three years.

Effective onboarding boosts employee happiness. According to Rubin, companies with formal onboarding programs “significantly improve employees’ happiness with their organization and their workplace relationships,” regardless of how long they stayed with the company.

A big part of effective onboarding is making sure new hires feel engaged, connected and a valued part of the company team. New hires are learning a lot quickly and may be feeling overwhelmed, so, as Rubin writes, “It’s never too early or too often to recognize accomplishments during the first year on the job. Employees need to know they’re appreciated, and their work is making a difference to the company.”

Ultimately, for better or worse, how you onboard employees reflects your company culture as a whole. “Almost nothing defines a culture as much as the transitions,” consultant George Bradt of Prime Genesis is quoted as saying in the Inc. article “Onboarding Done Better.”

“The way you manage the transition of somebody into your culture speaks volumes about the culture to the person coming in, because you’re making those first early impressions and they know what’s expected of them,” Bradt said.

Be sure to stick around after tonight’s #TChat Radio forum for the fast-paced discussion on Twitter.  We hope to see you there!

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