What you can gain from building a great onboarding experience
The world of work is changing and there’s a lot of excitement about how to change it for the better. As new generations enter the workforce, they bring with them different expectations for their careers. This is pushing People teams to improve the employee experience at their workplace. Onboarding is the foundation of a positive employee experience — if you start your time at a company well, it will have a positive effect on how you progress. We spoke to some of our amazing customers about why they think onboarding is important.
Prove they made the right decision in joining your company
Everyone has had a poor experience starting at a new job. It might have been not knowing where you had to be and when on your first day. Or arriving to find your manager had forgotten you were starting that week. As Niamh, People Associate at Paws explained:
“The onboarding process is such a crucial step. It’s the time we get to introduce them to the company culture and make them feel part of the team straight away. If someone feels uncomfortable and not welcomed on their first day, that’s an experience that can stay with them for a very long time.”
Your new starter should be excited for their first day, not worrying about it! Hearing from their new team before starting makes a huge difference to a new starter’s experience, and takes away from the anxiety of starting a new role. As Holly, People Operations at Monzo told us:
“We want the onboarding experience to be exciting for the new joiner; it’s like a new journey that we’re both embarking on together. Starting a new job is a big deal and so we want our new joiners to feel welcome from the first minute.”
Those first few months are the only time the company has to demonstrate to their new employee that the move was the right decision. Michael, People & Talent Coordinator at carwow described this as:
“Having that smooth entry in to your job can be the difference between settling well in that company or not.”
Society, as a whole, is becoming more aware of how people suffer from ‘imposter syndrome’ and feel isolated at work. These are exacerbated in the experience of a new joiner unless you plan ahead to prevent this. Giovanni, Head of People Operations at Tractable told us:
“The most important thing about onboarding is making our new hires feel like they’re being looked after and we do that by having everything prepared for their arrival.”
Help people do great work
Companies spend a lot of time and therefore money on trying to grow their teams. Preparing for their arrival and training up these new starters should be as important. This is especially true in start-ups and scale-ups because things are constantly changing. That makes giving new team members the context they need as early as possible even more important to give them the best start. We spoke about this with Ben, People & Talent Director at Cytora:
“Getting people up to speed on all of the different moving parts in a fast growing organisation is difficult. There’s a lot of information to take in and giving them the information they need, at the right time, is really important. This really helps get them started right and more productive, sooner.”
Companies with well planned onboarding programs are more likely to have higher time-to-productivity and higher employee engagement. Employees are more engaged with a company's mission when they can really start to have an impact in their work and see where they add value. As Athina, People Operations Associate at Tractable said:
“For us it’s really important for people to see the product and team leads; meet people to feel part of the team from the very beginning and actually understand the impact of their work and how they add value.”
Onboarding employees well is an advantage
With candidates paying more attention to employer branding (helped along by leadership tables and Glassdoor) they’re able to navigate more easily towards the companies that are really taking care of their employees. It’s often said that it takes 90 days for new team members to ‘prove themselves’ in a new job. The company however has even less time to affirm the reasons for joining to their employee. If that’s not handled well, the new starter is likely to already be thinking about leaving within their first week. Michael from carwow explained this as:
“People being able to contribute in their role and see their progression is absolutely vital to keeping them interested.”
Having a great onboarding experience can act as a good advert for your company while helping to reduce time-to-productivity and increase retention.Lucy in People Operations at Cytora points out:
“Companies that have created an excellent onboarding experience really stand out for it because a lot of other companies don’t bother with it so much.”
It can also contribute to your brand. Emma, Organisational Scaling Lead at Monzo spoke to us about how important training up customer support can be to a company for the growth of the brand and its users base.
“I think the really interesting thing about support roles is that you are the face of the company to the customer so the amount of knowledge you have about the company and the tone of voice you use is really important and it has to all reflect the ethos and brand. Monzo grew through word of mouth and one of the reasons for that is people having an amazingly positive experience with customer support. If your employees understand your brand, your users will get it too and that can be a huge growth tool.”
A great onboarding experience benefits everyone involved
Creating a great onboarding program can take time, but the benefits of implementing one far outweigh the initial commitment.
From the new joiners’ perspective, their new company is demonstrating they understand how to help people grow, progress and be productive. New joiners are reassured they’ve made the right decision and are more likely to feel like a valued part of the team and company.
From the company’s perspective, they have a new joiner that is more engaged with their mission from the outset. Their new joiners are able to contribute sooner and retention is improved.