Keep burning your cash in the bonfire, or create a successful onboarding/orientation program for your new people and watch retention rates skyrocket.
Considering the fact that 50% of all hourly workers leave new jobs within the first 120 days and what a student does within the first 90 days of entering college determines their behavior for the next 3.5 years, much more credit and attention need to be given to how to onboard new people into your organization/community successfully.
Onboarding new members is a critical step for any organization, and its impact on community growth and member satisfaction cannot be overstated. A well-structured onboarding process can significantly enhance the integration of new members into the community, leading to a more productive and successful organization.
There are two critical components of a successful orientation program:
Content: The What and How?
Effective onboarding involves providing new members with the knowledge, tools, and skills they need to excel within your organization. Here are key elements that fall under the Content category:
- Job Role: First and foremost, new members need a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the organization. This includes defining their position, tasks, and expectations. It’s the foundation upon which they can build their contributions.
- Company Rules and Regulations: No one likes to stumble into a maze of unknown rules. A well-structured onboarding process includes a thorough introduction to the company’s policies, procedures, and guidelines. This ensures everyone is on the same page and minimizes potential misunderstandings.
- Physical Office Tour and Tools (if applicable): If your organization has a physical location, a guided tour can be an exciting and practical aspect of onboarding. It helps new members feel at home and familiarizes them with the physical workspace. This would also include software or machinery used by the organization.
- HR Guidelines: Understanding HR-related matters is crucial. Cover topics like benefits, payroll, leave policies, and the process for seeking assistance from the HR department.
- Feedback and Performance Reviews: Let new members know about the performance evaluation process and how feedback is provided and received. This prepares them for success and sets the stage for continuous improvement.
Community: The Who and Why?
Beyond the nuts and bolts of the job, onboarding should immerse new members in the heart and soul of your organization, forging connections and instilling a sense of belonging. Here’s what the Community component should include:
- Mission and Vision: Start with the big picture. Share the organization’s mission and vision. Help new members see how their contributions fit into this larger purpose. It’s the rallying point for everyone in the community.
- Core Values: Core values are the moral compass of your organization. Make sure new members understand and embrace these values. They guide behavior, decisions, and interactions within the community.
- Social Connections: The human element is vital. Encourage new members to meet their colleagues, team members, and leadership. Building social connections can boost morale, collaboration, and a sense of camaraderie.
- Company Culture: Your organization has a unique culture, whether it’s relaxed and creative, structured and disciplined, or something in between. Explain what this culture is, what it means for daily interactions, and how it shapes the working environment.
- Mentorships: Pair new members with experienced mentors who can offer guidance and support. This one-on-one connection is a powerful way to ease the transition into the organization and provide a reliable source of information and encouragement.
Most organizations spend their entire orientation, if they have one, on the What and How and zero time on the Who and Why. By embracing both the Content and Community aspects of a successful orientation program, your organization can ensure that new members not only know their roles but also become fully integrated into the vibrant fabric of your community. This will increase engagement and retention rates, according to research. This dual approach fosters not just retention but a deep sense of belonging and commitment that can set your organization on a path to long-term success.