HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING PROGRAM STRATEGIC AND EFFECTIVE FOR BETTER NEW HIRE ENGAGEMENT, PRODUCTIVITY, AND RETENTION

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1 HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING PROGRAM STRATEGIC AND EFFECTIVE FOR BETTER NEW HIRE ENGAGEMENT, PRODUCTIVITY, AND RETENTION

2 ACHIEVE BETTER NEW HIRE ENGAGEMENT, PRODUCTIVITY, AND RETENTION EXTEND LEARNING TIMEFRAME LEARN THROUGH OTHERS Everyone has the same vision of employee onboarding paradise. Your new hires get up to speed quickly. They embrace (and yes, evangelize!) your corporate culture. Above all, these new employees are all set to contribute heavily to the bottom line. Sound perfect? It could be. Simple to achieve? That s something else. The reality is that often, successfully onboarding new hires for long term happiness and productivity can be extremely challenging. Consider: GUIDE LEARNING MEASURE IMPACT A full third of external hires are no longer with the organization after two years Almost a third of employees employed in their current job for less than six months are already job searching Strategic onboarding not only reduces operating costs and helps new hires improve their personal contribution to the enterprise; it also reduces regrettable attrition, and helps the organization deliver against its strategic goals. SUCCESSFUL ONBOARDING, MARK STEIN STANDARDIZE AND SCALE Less than a third of executives worldwide are positive about their onboarding experience 1 A few days of orientation is not sufficient to adequately engage new hires and get them off to a fast start. With the war for corporate talent in full swing, it s time to take a fresh approach and transform your program to strategic onboarding: But how do you get there? The solution: continual, reinforced learning environments. (Bersin 2 ) By helping employees learn over time and apply what they learn on the job, your onboarding program will drive the golden benefits of new employee engagement, productivity, and retention. 1 Stein & Christian, Bersin, The Corporate Learning Factbook, HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING PROGRAM STRATEGIC AND EFFECTIVE

3 ONBOARDING STRATEGY #1 1 EXTEND THE LEARNING WINDOW Traditional orientation programs are typically transactional in nature. Getting employees set up with technology, training them on basic policies and procedures, and providing functional job overview training are all common activities for orientation. Adding the relational component is critical to strategic onboarding. This type of learning is not something that happens in a day, a week, or even a month. It is something that happens in small chunks, over time. How long should you extend your onboarding program to include this important relational learning? Well, studies suggest at least six months for effective learning Immediate, short term Legal & accounting Security saturation. And this is just a guidepost. The responsibilities of new hire roles will impact the necessary length. Also keep in mind that beyond speed to competency, employees are still in the process of buying in. In fact, 90% of employees are still deciding whether they ll stay at an organization throughout their first six months. 3 Long term learning Role relevance to the org Job and department goals However there is a big difference between this initial set-up and true corporate learning, which is more relational than transactional. (see chart) Corporate policies Benefits Company vision & resources Technology set up Job how to In-house networking Performance expectations Coaching and support 3 Partnership for Public Service, Getting On Board: A Model for Integrating and Engaging New Employees, HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING PROGRAM STRATEGIC AND EFFECTIVE

4 MAKE YOUR ONBOARDING STRATEGY #1 By extending your onboarding program past six months to a year or more, your learners will: 1. Learn more completely. Learning in small bites over time, known as the spacing effect, enables better understanding, retention, and adoption of workplace learning. 2. Improve performance. Adding on-the-job learning over an extended time period reaps big benefits in terms of helping that employee understand the job, understand how it relates to the organization, and achieve productivity, faster. 3. Have higher retention rates. Transforming your organization into a continual learning institution keeps employees engaged and interested, which are key factors for improving new hire retention. Extending onboarding over the first year or more can increase new hire retention by 25%. PARTNERSHIP FOR PUBLIC SERVICE 4 HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING PROGRAM STRATEGIC AND EFFECTIVE

5 ONBOARDING STRATEGY #2 2 INCORPORATE LEARNING THROUGH OTHERS There is a lot of value in the show me, don t tell me approach to learning. According to Bersin, people retain only 10 percent of what they read, 50 percent of what they learn through discussion but 75 percent or more from on-the-job experiences. 4 Adding a personalized, 1:1 approach to your extended onboarding program greatly improves learning retention, since this is how we, as people, naturally want to learn. Some of the benefits you can expect to see through collaborative, in-person learning are: Better data retention with the show vs. tell approach. Hands down, people learn better when shown in person in an on-thejob environment. Increased employee engagement. Being faceto-face with someone demands attentive listening and feedback, resulting in a more productive learning experience. THE BENEFITS OF LEARNING THROUGH OTHERS: 00Better learning retention 00Increased new hire engagement 00Understanding of company culture and priorities 00Learning of essential insider tips for success 00Reinforcement of knowledge 4 Bersin, High Impact Learning Practices, HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING PROGRAM STRATEGIC AND EFFECTIVE

6 MAKE YOUR 6 ONBOARDING STRATEGY #2 Ability to understand the soft learnings of a job. We all know that there is so much to learn above the specific job to be a success. Understanding intangible aspects like the company culture or the weight of departmental priorities can play a huge role in employee satisfaction and, ultimately, success. An understanding of the insider tips everyone needs to do their job. Who s your go-to person in accounting to get something approved? What managers should be kept in or maybe out of the loop? Understanding these tips is vital to employee performance and success, and it s not something that is easily taught in a classroom or online learning environment. Reinforcement of knowledge for the teacher. Don t forget - the trainer or job buddy providing this knowledge receives benefits too, such as reinforced job skills and a solidified knowledge of company culture, inner workings, and goals. Pairing people up to learn 1:1 doesn t need to stop with just one connection. We suggest you provide a network of individual resources to your new hires to provide a wealth of knowledge across the company. With a network, employees will learn more, faster, thereby improving time to productivity. They ll also feel more connected to the organization, which translates to better integration and retention. You may want to consider using software to create these individualized learning opportunities. Using software, the system can recommend pairings of trainers or job buddies to new employees based on business functions, location, job level, and more. You can formalize the pairings as an administrator, or enable your new employees to shop for connections. HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING PROGRAM STRATEGIC AND EFFECTIVE

7 ONBOARDING STRATEGY #3 3 GUIDE THE LEARNING Just like classroom learning, it s important to provide a structure for the extended network learning. Often these learning connections start enthusiastically but eventually wane over time. Creating a guided workflow for the entire length of your onboarding program ensures that learning is continuous and productive, which speeds your new hire time-to-productivity. Extending the onboarding Providing structure for informal training process and including learning can be easy even a individualized on-the-job learning simple checklist will do. Make sure is great. But how can you keep you can customize your structure this phase of less formal training to include formal classroom focused and productive? In a word: training as well as ongoing, 1:1 structure. experiential on-the-job training elements. CHRONUS ONBOARDING CUSTOMER: MEDLINE Medical manufacturer, extended onboarding program for field sales reps YEAR - LONG ONBOARDING PROGRAM MANAGED BY CHRONUS SOFTWARE 11 DIFFERENT TRAINING TRACKS WITH GUIDED WORKFLOWS FOR DIFFERENT PRODUCT LINES GUIDED LEARNING PLAN INCLUDES A MIX OF CLASSROOM AND ON-THE-JOB FIELD TRAINING 98% OF PARTICIPANTS RATED THEIR GUIDED ONBOARDING PROGRAM EFFECTIVE 7 HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING PROGRAM STRATEGIC AND EFFECTIVE

8 ONBOARDING STRATEGY #3 Guided onboarding plans should provide: Specific milestones and tasks. Map out everything from initial classroom training through connecting with a peer through completing new hire learning assignments. Helpful on-demand resources. Provide timely training articles or videos to key points in the onboarding process. Onboarding software can automate delivery. Check-ins and assessments. Build in checkpoints to gauge progress. Self, peer, and managerial assessments can provide new hires with valuable feedback. Onboarding plans should be specific to job functions such as marketing or operations. In high volume roles like customer service or sales, onboarding plans are often specific to a job title. Over time, you can build a small library of onboarding plans so you can easily deploy them for the next crop of new hires. onboarding software with guided informal learning plans A definitive end point to the program. Having a clear end point helps employees focus on reaching their goals. It also the right time to measure outcomes at the individual, job function, and overall program level. 8 HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING PROGRAM STRATEGIC AND EFFECTIVE

9 ONBOARDING STRATEGY #4 4 MEASURE THE IMPACT Chances are, you know your onboarding efforts are successful to some degree, but you may not have specific data. Do you know your typical time-to-productivity for a new hire? Or whether a specific new employee s learning was effective? Once you ve extended your program to include informal learning and connections, how do you measure that? Luckily, it s all fairly easy to calculate once you focus on tracking these metrics at two levels: the program level and the employee level. To accurately measure impact, it s important to set up your metrics at the beginning of the program. At the program level, build metrics around defined business objectives. Some of these can include: Before and after new employee attrition rates Program completion rates Program participation and progression rates Group time-to productivity rates MEASURE ONBOARDING PROGRAM SUCCESS AT 2 LEVELS 9 HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING PROGRAM STRATEGIC AND EFFECTIVE

10 MAKE YOUR 10 ONBOARDING STRATEGY #4 For individuals, you want to understand the impact your extended new employee onboarding program specifically has on them. Was the learning productive? Did the employee feel anything was missing? Did they enjoy the process or feel it was a chore? In addition to your standard skills assessment for new employees, another way to aggregate the softer data is through participant surveys. We suggest you survey often and make them part of your extended program workflow, so you can spot potential issues that may need correction in your program such as a missing key milestone. If you re running an enterprisescale program, this is an area where software can really help. Use it to track connections, progress of participants, the health of the program, and outcomes. Any good software program will allow you to export your results for easy sharing with program stakeholders. HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING PROGRAM STRATEGIC AND EFFECTIVE

11 ONBOARDING PROGRAM PARTICIPATION ONBOARDING STRATEGY #5 5 STANDARDIZE PROGRAM FOR SUCCESS Though it can be tempting to focus on certain key roles when extending your onboarding efforts, the strategic benefits come when the program encompasses all your new hires. Standardizing your onboarding process for repeatability translates to huge benefits for your corporation. According to the Aberdeen Group, organizations with a standardized onboarding process saw: 13% higher rates of new hire performance goals met 19% higher new hire engagement 19% higher new hire retention 5 A consistent program gets everyone in the organization moving in the same direction, ensuring consistent new employee training, adoption of the company culture, and a clear understanding of departmental and organizational goals. To help you scale your program, consider onboarding software. A good program will not only facilitate your informal learning connections, identify your workflow, and provide your key metrics, it will enable you to easily scale your program up and add: New groups of participants New onboarding program tracks with unique formal and informal workflows EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT, PRODUCTIVITY, AND RETENTION Additional departments or geographic locations Only by scaling to your entire organization will you truly realize the large-scale benefits of a strategic onboarding program. 5 Aberdeen Group, Onboarding 2011, the Path to Productivity, March HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING PROGRAM STRATEGIC AND EFFECTIVE

12 CONCLUSION Following this guide, you ve built your program out to extend past the initial orientation to a longer-term, guided onboarding experience that includes informal learning through others. Hopefully you ve also planned out the key measurements to demonstrate your program s success. By carefully building in these steps, it should be fairly easy now to scale your strategic onboarding program across your organization to achieve a uniform, effective new hire experience. Your new employee onboarding program will now keep new employees engaged and learning, making their relationship with your organization a positive one. Engaged employees serve as your best corporate evangelists as well as tomorrow s leadership team, ensuring your upfront investment in new employee onboarding provides an excellent return in terms of productivity, retention, and company growth. THE ROLE OF ONBOARDING SOFTWARE Running an effective onboarding program goes way beyond the initial classroom training. Running an extended program that integrates classroom learning with informal, extended on the job training takes effort, resources, and know-how. Onboarding software enables you to create a cloud-based program that is easy to use, complete with guided workflows for participants. Plus, for program administrators, onboarding software includes an automated toolset to connect and guide participants for productive onboarding. Finally, software provides measurement tools to ensure your program provides effective learning that you can measure to produce return on investment (ROI) metrics for your program. For more information about onboarding, contact us. Chronus offers the industry s leading software solution for extended onboarding programs. Every day, employers rely on Chronus to run easy and effective onboarding programs. VIEW CHRONUS ONBOARDING SOFTWARE 12 HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING PROGRAM STRATEGIC AND EFFECTIVE

13 ABOUT CHRONUS Chronus is the leading provider of mentoring and talent development software. Leveraging the power of learning through others, Chronus creates experiences that drive employee career and leadership development, new hire onboarding, student mentoring, and more. Chronus mentoring, coaching, and onboarding solutions are used by organizations worldwide. Visit to learn more. Phone: (800) Phone: (425) Fax: (425) Web: HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEE ONBOARDING PROGRAM STRATEGIC AND EFFECTIVE

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