Onboarding: Beyond the New Hire Checklist to Improve Employee Engagement

Onboarding: Beyond the New Hire Checklist to Improve Employee Engagement

Onboarding is getting alot of attention in HR these days. Much of this attention has to do with Onboarding software, and the importance of creating efficiency to get the employee productive as soon as possible. And while those topics are important, they do not tell the whole story. This post will show you ways to take advantage of onboarding processes, and onboarding software, in ways you may never have thought of.

Onboarding can do a great deal to increase employee engagement, improve the company-employee connection, and ensure productivity comes sooner rather than later.

But unfortunately, I don’t see most organizations using or thinking about onboarding in the proper context. Or at least not as completely as they could be. Most organizations think of onboarding soley as their New Hire Checklist, or perhaps they will go as far as to include a nice New Employee Orientation. And these things are certainly important to our jobs in HR, but they aren’t the full story. This transactional viewpoint is limiting, for both us in HR as well as the New Hire.

Onboarding is our only chance to make a good first impression, and our first chance to create a connection with the employee that will increase engagement and retention. If we simply look at our onboarding process as the way we gather all the required documents, record the benefits being elected, and getting someone a desk and a computer, we are certainly missing a huge opportunity.

We certainly should automate and streamline our ability to capture the needed data and forms. We should absolutely increase communications and scheduling of events. And of course, should definitely take the opportunity to ensure we get the employee set up to be productive as soon as possible.

These things are a given. And they are important as well. I’m just suggesting that we should take this a step further….

Here are just a few ideas to improve the effectiveness of your onboarding process, whether you use onboarding software or you use a New Hire Checklist or you if you have a New Employee Orientation or not. These ideas should get you started thinking about how you may change things in your organization. Remember, your job in HR should be one of Organizational Leadership… Leading the organization in culture creation, employee connection and engagement. Don’t just sit back and be relegated to the boring world of transactions and forms.

Remember, this list is meant to go beyond the standard HR Form collection, HR Policy Signatures, etc. I assume you know how to do all  that just fine.  Not all of these will be relevant, and some will not even be a good idea in certain organizations… but I’m just trying to get your HR brain thinking a little differently. :)

  • Send a Welcome Letter (or email), but in addition to show up here and then, etc, really show excitement and be welcoming. Talk to them more like a friend and throw away the “you should feel privileged we chose you and honored to work here” tone.
  • Place a welcome basket on their desk (think treats, or flowers, etc)
  • Meet them at the door.  Or at least be ready to greet them as soon as they arrive… don’t make them wait!
  • Buy, and present to them, a Success Package (include books or audio programs, etc that may help them. Such as Sales Training, Leadership, Creativity, etc) to show them you want them to succeed and are willing to help them do so.
  • Plan the whole first day, and give them the agenda (in writing).
  • Assign a Mentor.  And don’t forget to choose the mentor wisely, train them on culture, and make sure they understand the importance of this assignment.
  • Assign someone to take them to lunch on the first day.
  • Ensure a clean work space is ready when they arrive.
  • Have their computer, phone, voicemail, etc. all set up and ready to go.   Don’t make them twittle their thumbs for three days, feeling ignored and unimportant.
  • Schedule follow up meeting(s) with HR to check in on how they are adjusting
  • Record a welcome message from the CEO/President/Leader (video would be best… or LIVE if you could, of course).  Coach this Leader to stress excitement and culture.
  • Schedule a tour.  No one wants to have to pee badly and then have to impose on someone else to ask them where to go.
  • Encourage them to decorate their space…  Let them choose items from a catalog and buy them, on the company’s dime!  If they move in, make it seem like home, and get to put their own personal touch on it… their likely to feel more comfortable, more engaged, and less likely like they may have made a mistake taking this job.
  • Assign them to a committee.    If your HR department isn’t already in the habit of forming task forces / committees to tackle the issues of the organization… start it now.  And getting the New Hire involved in the company can serve two purposes:  1. increase involvement/engagement right from the start, and 2. bring fresh ideas and solutions to the table for the committee.
  • Schedule a Happy Hour for after work.
  • Ensure they have office supplies to start the day (stapler, inbox, post-its, etc)
  • Buy them a nice pen, with their name on it.
  • Give them Personalized Stationary.
  • Schedule a series of meetings/presentations  with different departments so they can learn more about how their job fits into the big picture.
  • Record their Birthday and send them a card.
  • … Let me know your thoughts here…  please reply with your ideas, or things you have seen work!
Well, if that list doesn’t have something you aren’t doing or haven’t thought of, I would be surprised… and I want to know where you work!  Your HR Department must be really with it :)
Of course, just to emphasize my point a little further about the usefulness of onboarding software and processes…. You can schedule almost all of these events above and incorporate them into your automated onboarding processes just the way you do on your I-9’s and Benefits and Other HR Forms.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think!
Make it a great day!

We ALL Have Talent! Even You!

Not much to say about this one… Just watch it.    And while you do, just remember that God has plans for all of us.  What dreams, talents, and messages has He placed in you?    Think about it!    What is that nagging aspiration, never ending dream, to do something or be something that you keep pushing down and trying to ignore.

If this blind, autistic young child born with virtually no advantage in life can share his talent… what can you do?    I hope this inspires you!

P.S.  –  If you are a parent and a Christian… and you don’t cry a little watching this…. well, I bet you can’t!

Steve Jobs Quote

Well, thank you Steve Jobs. You’ve inspired a great number of people and its sad to see you’ve left us now. May you rest in peace and feel much more comfortable now.

I just thought I’d post up this quite popular commencement speech that Steve Jobs delievered to Stanford University. I won’t post the whole transcript of his speech, but I did want to point out of my favorite parts…

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

No matter who you are, or where you are in life right now, I think this statement above is worth reading a few times. Think hard about this message and the take action toward becoming who YOU are. Know yourself. Be true to yourself. Be authentic.

Be Thankful!

Here is a quick, but funny video that had me thinking how we should all be thankful for all we have.  Now stop and think how great it really is to be alive right now.  Be thankful!  Perhaps you’ve seen this already as it is a little old, but I only just found this… so here goes.

How To Be More Productive

Time Management is a myth… Productivity is what we are really after when we say we need better Time Management skills. We can’t manage time, it just keeps on ticking no matter what we do. So we need to learn, and use, productivity skills.

I’m sure you would like to have more times for your family, friends, hobbies, or just relaxing. We all do, right? Well, in this article I’m going to show you how to do accomplish more (no matter if we are talking about work, household chores, or whatever), in less time. How to be more productive in anything, and everything, you do.

This is a simple, but powerful plan. I’m sure you’ve heard (and maybe even used) some of this before. There are no “secrets” to being a more productive person. There are a ton of books and products that teach productivity skills and everyone has their best way to teach you these skills… So, I’m not promising that my methods below are the very best, I’m just showing you the methods and processes that work best in my opinion.

Productivity starts with planning, and there is no better time to plan than ahead of time (duh, right?). So I start this plan, before you go to bed. You can use this plan every day, all the time, but it really starts with your time just before going to bed. Each night before bed take a few minutes to think about your goals and contemplate the actions needed to take you where you want to go in life.

Then, take out a 3×5 card (or an iphone app, or journal, or whatever works for you) and write down the top 6 things that will move you closest toward your long-term and short-term goals (more on Goals in a future post).

Write down these 6 tasks in order of importance (and in case this isn’t obvious, “taking out the trash” is not a proper task to move you toward your goals and should never be in your top 6 priorities). Put the list aside and go to bed thinking about you life as you will be in the future. Imagine it as if it is already the way you want it to be. Really think about all the details of your dream life, from how you dress, who you hang out with, what you do, where you go, what you eat, what your house looks like, what color your car is, etc, etc… The more detailed the better. Do this visualization exercise every night. Spend at least 15 minutes on this at the end of your day, Every Day!

I know, now you are saying… woah… I thought we were talking about Productivity here, what’s going on? I know, I know, but if you are going to be productive in the truest sense, and in a way that makes the most sense for YOU, then we must be spending your most productive efforts on YOUR GOALS. Not on your boss’s goals, not on the meaningless chores, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should ignore these other tasks… I’m just saying they are NOT your priority. There is plenty of time to fit these things in.

OK, so now you’ve created your list of prioritized tasks for the next day. You then went to bed visualizing your dream life as if is happening now. You felt it, smelled it, and saw it vividly in your head. You fell asleep peacefully and had fantastic dreams where your subconscious mind is finding ways to make it all happen and ways to make it all come together, right now.

Now each day, you follow the steps below to accomplish your greatest and most productive tasks (as planned the night prior).

  • As soon after waking as is possible, start work on Task 1 of your list.
  • Do not stop working on task 1 until is is complete (turn off the phone, close your email, remove all distractions.. this is important!
  • Move to the next task and do not stop working on it until it is complete (* or time is up, whichever comes first).
  • Repeat this process until all 6 tasks are complete.

Note: In some cases, you may need to set an appropriate amount of time to work on a task, as opposed to completing the task outright. That is fine… some of our biggest goals, require commitment over time. This is one of the best benefits of being more productive… You’ll accomplish your long-term, and most important and life-changing goals this way! Most people have great ideas and know exactly what needs to be done, but they lack the mindset and fortitude to stick with it for the long haul.

So, as simple as this seems, it is a very, very powerful tip. I hope you’ll use it starting today (tonight :) ). If you do try these steps to be more productive, I hope you’ll please write a comment and let me know how this has helped your productivity overall, and your movement toward accomplishing your long-term goals. I suspect you’ll be well on your way to success (whatever you’ve defined as success for you)!

Make it a great day!

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