Throughout the course of every life, there are various experiences that are considered a “rite of passage”; a ceremony or an event that marks a transition when you leave one group to enter another. Probably one of the most awkward events of your youth was making that change from Elementary School to Junior High or High School. In North America, this typically means leaving a setting of one classroom and one teacher to a class schedule that includes numerous teachers and classrooms or buildings. The transition is made even more confusing by the fact that you have a completely different schedule on Monday, Wednesday,and Friday as compared to Tuesday and Thursday. Then add to that finding your locker, remembering your combination, calculating the time between class hours to decide if you can find the restroom, open your locker, and have the right books or notebooks before the bell rings to start your next class period. Do you have enough gym clothes, did you remember to take them home to get washed, and did you pack your towel, soap, and shampoo? It is no wonder that every school has an orientation program. In some cases, schools offer an early orientation prior to the start of the school year. But even with all this planning and communication,there are still no guarantees that students will be prepared and know where they need to be or on time for the first few weeks.
Importance of Onboarding
In an era where unemployment is low and the need to minimize costs are high, having a solid onboarding program is critical. A recent independent poll conducted by Harris agrees, and they determined 93% of employers acknowledged that a solid onboarding program is a key to new hire retention. But this same data determined that nearly one-third of employees didn’t feel that the onboarding program was effective or helpful.
Onboarding is very Important for Direct employees, but even more critical if you are using Manufacturers Representatives. Many organizations tend to rely on tribal knowledge and assume that new hires just know who to ask and where to look for the tools and information required to do their jobs. Sr. Leadership plays a key role in effective onboarding and needs to be an active participant in the process and not simply delegate it to HR. The leadership teams are the brand champions and brand evangelists that can inspire a new employee. When most organizations expect new hires to be effective producers in the first 90 days, it is shocking to learn that there is up to 20% staff turnover in the first 45 days with a new employer. If onboarding is so important, why are companies not more focused on doing it effectively?
Missing Your Connection
When a new hire abruptly leaves your company within the first year, is your reaction that they were a “bad hire” who just “wasn’t a fit”? Or do you take time to evaluate and understand what led to their frustration and departure, and if so, are you making changes to address these issues? Before you can implement a solid onboarding process, you need to take some time to interview your current employees to find out what would have made them more effective if it had been part of their training.
Some Key Areas of Focus:
1. Brevity is not the best
There is an urge to do onboarding in the form of HR paperwork, Employee manuals, plant tours, introductions to key staff and granting access to systems quickly and efficiently so everyone can get back to business. After all,time is money, and you have very little of both. If you are treating onboarding as a single event to check a box rather than an ongoing and meaningful process, it will not be effective or meaningful. The time and resources invested will pay dividends in both the long and short-term. Develop an onboarding process that is detailed and specific, and set up checkpoints along the way to see if the new hire needs more information or one-on-one training,
2. Setting clear and detailed expectations
Each department head and senior leader should be fully invested in the process. This means that these stakeholders should identify what are the specific information or data they need from the new hire in order to act and make sound business decisions. Also, what information is vital to develop customer proposals, meeting preparation,strategic plans or capital investment expenditures. Expectations also need to be coupled with explanations; why is this information critical, and how does it aid in the process? How do you specifically define what business to pursue and the minimum engagement threshold to quote? You likely already know this information so share it with your new employee. This can be done in the form of a short PowerPoint and presentation notes that can be referred to later.
3. Develop tools to aid in acclamation
New hires come into your organization and don’t know any of the histories. How was this customer won and why did they select your organization? What historical relationship issues have been at play, and how has it affected the business engagement? Where can the new hire find the tools and resources that they need to effectively do their job? Does your company have a glossary of terms for your acronyms, abbreviations or internal buzzwords? Do you have an organization chart with names,titles, and pictures to help your new employee recognize his co-workers and be able to address them by name? Develop the right tools and if possible automate it in the form of a series of videos, online training that can be accessed remotely and quizzes to confirm the information is understood.
According to HubSpot,the average ramp-up time for a new business development hire is anywhere from 6 to 9 months. An ineffective onboarding program can make that process drag out even longer, and ultimately have a negative impact on your business and pipeline growth. The challenge for small to medium-sized organizations is allocating the time and resources to develop and implement an onboarding process. Contact ATG and let us assist you with designing and launching a detailed, job-specific, and customized onboarding process that is right for you and your organization. Let ATG assist you realizing accelerated tangible growth.