Onboarding #2: From introduction to diving in at the deep end
In our previous blog about onboarding we shared some shocking results with regard to new employees' first few months on the job. Among other things, we revealed that the average company is losing 1 in 6 of their new hires each month for the first three months. So it's no surprise that most employees think the onboarding process could be improved upon.
In this second onboarding blog, we'll provide you with some practical tips that will help you turn your new employees into connected and happy colleagues in the blink of an eye! Of course we'll also tell you how to implement these tips on Plek.
Get started before the first day of work
There is often quite a lot of time between the moment someone is hired and the first working day. Encourage new employees by immediately involving them as much as possible. This is called pre-boarding. It's something Twitter does really well: their onboarding takes off right after signing the employment contract with a 'From Yes To Desk' trajectory.
Arrange an informal introduction for new employees, for example during Friday afternoon drinks.
Arranging an informal way for new hires to meet colleagues can be useful. Besides social introductions, don't forget to also provide access to practical and interesting information on time. Immediately create an email account for new employees and add them to your platform for internal communication (such as Plek) straight away. If, for security reasons, you can't give people full permission to the platform before they officially start working for your organization, you can also give them the 'external access' role (with restricted permissions).
Plek starts with a platform onboarding. When users log in for the first time, they have to take a few introductory steps to help them on their way on the new social intranet. The onboarding is customizable, so every organization can have its very own platform onboarding, but most organizations include completing your profile (including interests, experience and expertise) and joining relevant groups (like your work location, department and project group but also theme groups or interest groups such as a book club).
We advise to prepare a step-by-step plan - let's call it a roadmap - for new employees. It starts after the first working day and gets information across to new employees, bit by bit. Plek's onboarding enables you to create an elaborate onboarding experience - personally catered to every new employee. It can consist of several stories and chapters with several steps. You can assign tasks to new employees (possibly with a deadline). For example, direct them to an information page with a welcome video, information about the company and culture, and practical tips and information (such as working hours). You can even add quizzes or other assignments for employees to test themselves. Also make sure to include some less formal 'tasks' such as getting acquainted with the team over coffee and breakfast.
Don't forget to include information about the communication platform itself in your roadmap. Of course, Plek is really easy to use but there's bound to be people who are just not very tech-savvy. No problem: just direct new colleagues to 'Plek at a glance' and the Plek Helpdesk to help them along. Also include the applications on Plek in your roadmap: it's everyone's go-to for most-used programs and websites such as the organization's work log, requesting days off or filling out (expense) forms.
Besides practical information, make sure to share 'soft' information with new employees: what kind of things can we share, what do we use the platform for?
Dip a toe in
By welcoming new employees into your (digital) workplace early on, they can look around at ease and take in information and company news at their own pace. It's like dipping your toes in - get used to the temperature and prepare yourself for diving in.
We started blogging about onboarding in November. Read all about why onboarding is important in part 1. Part 3 contains practical tips that will help you make your onboarding process official and fully integrate it into your organization. In part 4 we will tell you how to encourage new hires to connect with their colleagues.