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Improve Culture with Excellent Onboarding

Improve Culture with Excellent Onboarding

Onboarding is critical to company culture. It has the potential to improve it and also wear it down. So how can you ensure your onboarding process improves your culture instead of harming it?

Read on to learn more about the onboarding process and what you can do to ensure it boosts your company culture


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What Is Onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of integrating new employees into your organization. When effectively onboarded, employees gain the necessary skills, knowledge, and behaviors to succeed. Some employers may focus onboarding necessities into one week, while others may incorporate strategies into an employee's first 90 days. Regardless of the time frame, certain processes should always be included. These will involve acclimation efforts, filing the necessary paperwork, meeting with new coworkers, and experiencing company culture firsthand. 

Effective onboarding offers genuine benefits for organizations. According to SHRM, employee turnover can be as high as 50% in the first 18 months of employment. And a Gallup poll found that an employee’s perception of an organization begins with their first interactions with the company, including the sourcing, recruiting, and onboarding processes. Unfortunately, Gallup also found that just 12% of employees feel their organization does a great job onboarding new employees.


Why Is Onboarding Important?

Onboarding matters because it directly impacts every aspect of the employee's experience within an organization. It affects culture, retention, gamification strategies, and even productivity. For example, poorly trained employees may experience increased stress related to their position and may even fear asking for help. 

Remember that this is the time to introduce your employees to their roles, the organization, and fellow team members. If this task is handled ineffectively, your employee may lose valuable confidence lowering their enthusiasm and productivity. Take time to form an effective strategy and build consistency into your onboarding measures.  


How Can Onboarding Hinder Culture?

A recent study from Glean, conducted in partnership with OnePoll, indicates a disconnect between employees and the onboarding process. The data was derived from approximately 2,000 employees throughout the United States. The survey concluded that concerns surrounding inaccessible information were the leading cause of this apparent disconnect.

69% of employees said they had difficulty accessing information when they began their new role. 76% said that if they could access information more readily without asking for help, they would feel more productive and empowered in the role. 

Beyond this, the study found that employees will use an average of 11 different tools daily— ranging from tools focused on sales, project management, scheduling, and even email. When employees use these many tools, they will shift from program to program in search of what information they need—which is fine so long as the employee is trained to access the information. This, however, does not appear to be the case. Based on the numbers, this form of training is overlooked more often than employers would like to think. 

Surveyed respondents claimed they would search for a piece of information about 35 times each week and spend an average of 13 minutes searching before reaching out for assistance. This means employees struggle to find the information and are nervous about reaching out to their superiors or colleagues. 

Understandably, employers may not have time to help with each concern. But this is solved by ensuring employees have access to the information in the first place. Presently the average employee spends nearly 1.5 hours a day searching for information. That number is certainly alarming, and it stems from the onboarding process. 

Nearly half of the workers said they would look to leave their company if they were not thriving. Arvind Jain, CEO of Glean, chimed in by saying:

“Employees that’ve been with the company for less than a year, onboard improperly, and never fully engage with the business often account for the bulk of workplace attrition…In the era of hybrid and remote operations, new employees get lost quickly if they’re not empowered to do their best work. This means providing them with readily available access to information, people, and critical business knowledge."

Work-from-home opportunities make this even more challenging. When you are not face-to-face with employees, it becomes exceedingly difficult to convey material and processes. Organizations must account for this. When forming new onboarding strategies, consider the best method for introducing new employees to your systems, organization, and knowledge base. 

The good news is that while onboarding is presently a concerning factor for organizations trying to grow company culture, it is also a fantastic opportunity to turn it in your favor and boost your culture all at once. 


How Can Employers Use Onboarding to Boost Culture?

In a recent video, Karin Hurt, CEO of Let's Go Leaders, discusses employees' struggles in the workplace. Many employees feel less connected to their team following the pandemic. Hurt says:

“Don’t assume that everyone is okay on your team. Open up the conversation—hey, I’m feeling this way. How are you feeling?”  

She also encourages employees to build relationships with other team members one person at a time by requesting a simple 10-minute meeting to get to know them better. Of course, employers can help facilitate this for new employees as well. Check out Hurt's full video

Hurt makes a great point about how employees feel and what they may need in their workplace to be heard and appreciated. Employers should pick up on these subtle hints and utilize them in their onboarding process. One example would be providing new employees opportunities to connect with other workers during the onboarding process rather than forcing the employee to do so on their own time down the road. 

Meeting new people may only come naturally to some employees. Suppose someone is not properly introduced or given time to connect with new team members at the onset of their tenure. In that case, it can be detrimental to their development within the organization. Take time to arrange these opportunities at the start of the onboarding process. 


How Does Training Impact Onboarding?

When it comes to onboarding, don't sleep on training. Many employers will say that they provide training opportunities, but every organization has a different expectation for what it entails. Training can mean a one-day crash course on all systems you are expected to know, and it can also mean a week-long, carefully curated program designed to fully explain all products, procedures, methods, and routines experienced daily.

For some organizations, one day is enough time to fully train an employee on a product, but for others, it is not. While the length of time a company contributes can be problematic, the more concerning factor is the methods used in training. The time allocated should reflect the needs of the regimen.

Training should be: 

  1. Interactive: Provide hands-on experiences where employees can learn a system and attempt that task themselves. This allows for immediate feedback opportunities and the ability to simultaneously engage in visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning methods. 

  2. Informative: Training should always provide need-to-know information. Try to save time by focusing on pertinent information. Have a list of all crucial topics for employees to understand and ensure you cover them carefully during the training session. 

  3. Intentional: Create and outline a schedule. Be intentional about what you are covering and how you are covering it. Instilling control over the training session can eliminate chaos and provide a comfortable environment for employees to digest all the new and vital information. 

  4. Digestible: Information should be both brief and easy to understand. When information is presented correctly, it is easy to explain and understand. Start with the general idea behind the products or systems and then move into the specifics. Ensure new employees can easily follow along and digest the information as you move from point to point.   

  5. Motivating: Training should be exciting for the employee! This is the first taste of their new role with a new organization, so be sure that the training is crafted to be engaging and enjoyable. You must introduce new employees to your company in a way that motivates them to work hard, engage with others, and voice their opinions. You only get one chance for a first impression, so you must make it count. 

Ensure that you are taking the time to plan and coordinate your onboarding strategy properly. Include all methods, procedures, and materials needed and get organized. You must fully understand what you hope to accomplish via onboarding and maintain a step-by-step strategy to achieve your goals. This means any process involved in onboarding should be intentional with a good reason for being incorporated. 

Remember that for an onboarding strategy to be fully effective, it must remain streamlined and consistent. 


Additional Resources

You can also stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with onboarding and other important topics by using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news
  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
  • HR Guides—essential pillars covering an extensive list of comprehensive HR topics
  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics 

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