3 Goals to Improve Your Onboarding Regimen (Or Lack Thereof)

Guest: Max Yoder Good HR, HR, Onboarding

For most companies, the reality of a smooth onboarding process is mostly a pipe dream. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few onboarding goals to help you take your “process” from ragtag and immeasurable to organized and effective:

Goal 1: Maximize Face Time

The idea here is to make your one-on-one interactions with new employees more impactful by transferring your company’s fundamental information in an on-demand way.

Before your employee starts their first day, they should have access to a lesson or just general content that allows them to self-educate on the basics of your business. The reality is, it’s not a great use of anyone’s time to recite answers to frequently asked questions over and over again with each new employee.

Offering this info to new hires before their first day of work—or, as soon as they arrive for it—makes it possible for you to spend more time having meaningful discussions with your new employees and less time reciting answers to frequently asked questions.

Also, keep in mind that not all of your employees will have a laptop or desktop computer anymore; for some, ownership of those devices is passé. Be sure to deliver information in a way that can be accessed by way of smartphone or tablet, too.

Goal 2: Save Money, Minimize Risk

Your new employee’s time to productivity rests heavily on the efficacy and efficiency of your onboarding process. By getting your onboarding ducks in a row, you can have more productive employees, while simultaneously mitigating your company’s training investment risk.

That last part about training investment risk is especially important if you have high turnover among your workforce. Some companies react to high turnover by slashing training programs that are seen as too costly—this is a bad idea. A better idea is to automate certain components of your training process to lower costs, while still giving new employees everything they need to succeed in their roles.

Goal 3: Be Impressive

When a new employee comes aboard, the best feeling you can leave them with after their first day/week/month is this: that the company they just committed a huge portion of their lives to knows what it is doing.

One of the simplest ways to impress a new employee is to be organized. Even if you are a small organization, having an organized, systematic onboarding program will show your new hire(s) that you care about them, that they are not alone, and that they are a part of something bigger and more impactful than any one person.

Start by creating a simple checklist of the onboarding tasks that need to be completed, and give a copy to your new hire(s); this will keep you and your employee on the same page and working together toward the same achievable goals.

Companies take retreats and day-long offsites to get their long-term ducks in a row, but they rarely give such importance to onboarding projects. Month after month, they are pushed to the backburner in lieu of other, “more pressing” issues.

Next time anybody opts to punt on putting together a better onboarding process, feel free to throw this bit of wisdom from Barry Werner out there: “The essence of self-discipline is to do the important thing rather than the urgent thing.”

Max Yoder is a co-founder and general manager of Lesson.ly, a platform for managing business training. He’s also the founder of The First Fund, which helps parents and grandparents of first graders save for their college education.