Employee engagement in new staff? Improve your onboarding process!
SPOILER ALERT #1: Starting a new job can be a nerve-wracking experience.
Even if a new hire has experience with the role, it can, and likely will, take some time for them to settle in and get used to their new workplace. All the while, they are likely not being as productive as they will eventually become and are likely experiencing some pretty major bouts of new job anxiety.
How long it takes for a new employee to get acclimatised and hit their stride can largely depend on how their employer welcomes them into the organisation.
Those formative early days in a new company are vitally important for building a long-lasting relationship with your employees. Employee engagement starts to grow (or fade) from day one, so making the right impression is key to driving long-term loyalty and job satisfaction.
If you're looking to boost employee engagement in new staff members, the first thing you should do is look at how your onboarding process can be improved.
Clear expectations can inspire employee engagement in new staff
SPOILER ALERT #2: it's vital that new employees have a good understanding of their responsibilities.
While it's fair to assume these will have been discussed to some extent during the interview process, don't expect it to have been anything more than a very general overview.
So to improve employee engagement in new staff, part of your onboarding process should be discussing day-to-day expectations from their first day in the company.
You should make sure new hires have a clear understanding of organisational objectives, as well as how their individual responsibilities feed into them. Even employees who aren't still wet behind the ears can struggle to understand what's expected of them, according to Gallup research.
Communicate clearly for a better onboarding experience
As well as establishing individual responsibilities, it's also a good idea to go over the protocol for workplace communication too.
Tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack were already seeing widespread use in progressive businesses even prior to COVID, but organisations may implement them in slightly different ways. Discrepancies in use across organisations can lead to confusion for new starters, so simply asking "œyou know how to use Teams, right" likely isn't enough of an onboarding check.
Employees should be familiarised with the purposes of different communication channels, the times of any regular video stand-ups, and which communication tools are appropriate in what situations.
Employees need to be made aware of how feedback works within the organisation. Hopefully, you've implemented a cycle of frequent, two-way feedback in your company to really get the best employee engagement results. Regardless of your approach though, ensure new starters know when they can expect to get, share and partake in workplace feedback.
On-boarding processes should support social inclusivity and other forms of wellbeing
While it's far from the only kind of workplace wellbeing, the social connections we form at work are essential in keeping us motivated to succeed. So if you care about employee engagement in new staff members, it's important to factor social wellbeing into your onboarding process.
Not only should you introduce new employees to everyone in their team/department, but you should make sure they meet members of senior management and HR too, ideally on day one.
If there are any social bonding activities planned or special interest groups in your organisation such as a book club, ensure your new employees have the opportunity to join. Not everyone is naturally inclined to spend more free time with their colleagues though, so make sure they know these things are entirely optional.
During the on-boarding process, you should also address the other forms of wellbeing. Reasonable accommodations should be made for health conditions, and the protocol for sick days should be made clear.
You should also provide access to mental health resources and help with financial planning (particularly where a mismatch between old and new paydays can cause short terms pains and stresses).
It's worth including this information (or directions for accessing it) in an induction pack for new employees.
Boost employee engagement in new staff with peer mentorship
Mentorships help employees to improve their performance, plan their career paths, and manage the stresses of their role. While any form of mentorship could benefit employees, new or otherwise, one type can be particularly useful for those fresh-faced new hires.
Peer mentorship usually means assigning someone a mentor who works on pretty much the same level that they'll be expected to. This gives your newbies an immediate practical target to aim for in terms of aptitude.
It's especially useful in roles that require a lot of personal autonomy, because the more experienced peer can help their mentee to settle into a routine that works for them. Peer mentors are in a unique position in terms of their ability to empathise with their mentee and provide pro-social support.
As well as boosting employee engagement in new staff, these peer relationships can be quite beneficial for the mentors too.
Not only does it make them look good and improve their own likelihood of promotion, but actively mentoring someone else makes you reflect on and reinforce your own knowledge. This means that the engagement-boosting effects of mentorship can even be mutually shared.
How Weekly10 enhances your on-boarding process
At Weekly10, we firmly believe that regular employee check-ins can drive your employees to be as engaged and productive as possible. That applies to your new hires as well. Check-in questions to be customised week-to-week, meaning a new employee's questions can focus on how they're settling in and what support they need to succeed in their role.
Each employee check-in also contains a section for SMART Goals or OKRs. These are great for instilling a sense of employee engagement in new staff, not just because you can see the contributions of each employee week-by-week, but because it means employees can see how their work directly impacts the aims of the business. Weekly self-reflection on performance has been shown to have long-lasting impacts when it comes to improving productivity.
Our employee recognition questions enable staff on all levels to highlight each other's good performance. This makes it useful for ingratiating new hires and making them feel welcomed by their colleagues as they get notified of any positive recognition they receive.
Even if they've never used an employee check-in platform before, Weekly10 is easy enough to use that even the least tech-savvy of individuals can get to grips with it. It's even integrated into popular communication tools like Teams and Slack allowing staff to check-in through their favourite workplace communication apps instead.
In fact, Weekly10 is the leading employee engagement platform on Microsoft Teams, and managers can even automatically set up new employees with the Weekly10 app when they register them on Teams.
Finally, our performance review and 1:1 templates allow managers and HR to build evidence-based reviews specifically for new starters. Most of our clients will run an 'end of week one' review and almost all utilise an 'end of probation' review to help new staff focus on their early performance and experiences at any given organisation.
Employee engagement is a constantly developing area, with a whole host of related issues. There's always more to say on these topics, and we recommend keeping an eye on the Weekly10 blog so you can stay up-to-date on all of our latest articles.