Read this before you design your new employee onboarding process

The science behind excellent onboarding

We don't have to tell you how important onboarding is. You wouldn't be here otherwise, right?  But, do you know that there is a scientific framework that increases onboarding effectiveness? Preppio's Chief Scientific Officer, Talya Bauer, Ph.D., developed the 6 C's framework based on years of research. You'll find it in many academic and HR industry publications, but we're distilling it for you here into a quick read. In 3 minutes we'll tell you what the 6 C's are and their impact when you design your new employee onboarding process with them in mind.

Compliance: SAVE TIME

You know the tasks that need to be completed, but getting them done timely and consistently is another story. Paperwork and other compliance-related tasks need to be ready in time to ensure a flying start. More importantly, these action items need to be completed before the new hire's first day during the pre-boarding phase of onboarding. This shortens the time to full productivity by ensuring that new hires have access to the right tools, equipment, and paperwork at the right time.

Preppio helps companies set up a great pre-boarding process to get help save time on practical things. Read this article about pre-boarding to learn more.

Connection: REDUCE NEW HIRE TURNOVER

Human connection is a deep human need, and the very best companies connect new hires to their manager, mission, and co-workers in the pre-boarding phase. A large airline we work with learned this the hard way. They had 200–300 employees ghost them after signing the job offer. The employee no-show rates were reduced to 50 a year after the airline started personally following up with them in the pre-boarding phase.

Why? Because emotions matter. When you show that you care and employees feel like they belong, it is harder for them to quit. This also applies in the later stages of the employee onboarding process. According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), 20% of employees that quit do so in the first 45 days (1). In the first days and weeks on the job, the key to a well-thought-out and designed onboarding process is connection.

Culture: ATTRACT AND RETAIN TALENT

design your new employee onboarding process

It is important for new hires to quickly learn the culture and "how things are done around here". Connect new hires to your culture by conveying how their role within the company relates to the greater objectives.

Create a story to illustrate how they contribute to the culture.  Your goal is to make the outsider feel like an insider as soon as possible. Culture first onboarding is what makes employees be more engaged - these are your raving fans and really help with your employer branding and recruitment.

Design your new employee onboarding process - Get started with our best practices checklist for new hires


Clarification: SPEED TO PRODUCTIVITY

We believe that clarification is the most underrated of the 6 C’s. It is very powerful when done right, and it should start in the recruitment process. If you do not clarify the role and set expectations, the employees do not have clear goals to move towards and you will have a harder time managing them.

Tell them the standard you expect and it will be easy for new hires to fulfill your needs. It is not uncommon for employees to feel like they have been successfully onboarded, but the managers still feel they are not up to speed. High-performing new hires want to know what to do, where to find help, and what is expected of them. Make it easy for them to know how well they are doing and how they can work towards the organizational goals.

Confidence: INCREASE PERFORMANCE AND RETENTION

Dr. Talya Bauer explains confidence best in this excerpt from her article, "New employee onboarding framework": 

"Confidence refers to how much new employees feel like they can do the job well and tackle new challenges. It is a state of mind. While an organization cannot directly help new employees feel better about themselves, they can design onboarding experiences that help build up employees rather than tearing them down.

When employees feel more confident, they are more likely to feel good about those around them as well as the choice to join your organization. Research conducted by Dan Cable and his colleagues found that onboarding, when done right to focus on the value of the new employee and encouraging them to share themselves at work, can immediately increase performance and retention.”

Check Back: CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT AND QUALITY

Have you ever experienced an onboarding process that was clearly outdated? That is, a great onboarding program was developed at one point and then left for years without any follow-up.  Too often we hear from managers who believe they've got a good process, but learn that their employees had a bad onboarding experience.

Without a system of continuous feedback loops, it is hard for you to know how well your employee onboarding program is truly working. Worse, you have no reference for improvement. Onboarding often is the hiring manager's responsibility, but HR is building the onboarding process. Design a system that ensures check backs to ensure that your onboarding is always delivering and that everyone gets a good onboarding experience.

Are you worried your onboarding process might be letting down new hires and onboarding stakeholders? Learn tell-tale signs in our article, Is Your Employee Onboarding Process Failing?

At Preppio we turn HR professionals into onboarding superstars 🤩

Our company is built around one thing: Onboarding.  It's our focus every day, all the time. By staying on top of the latest trends and research we are able to bring you the most important "need to know" onboarding news, tips, and expert advice.

Or, book time with one of our experts to learn more about Preppio's onboarding software



Employee preboarding: The missed opportunity

Employee preboarding: The missed opportunity

I spoke to a CHRO recently and she told me about their employee preboarding process in these terms: “We don’t want to get the fish on land just to leave it there for dead. That is how I feel about our employee preboarding process like it is today”.

Overoptimizing the hiring process and underoptimizing the preboarding process? 

Recruiters often sell the job to the candidates and they feel highly valued and engaged after they have signed the contract, only to feel like a commodity after contracts are signed because there was a lack of communication and follow-up.

This over-optimization is also shown in another statistic you can check in your own company; how many talent acquisition/recruiters work for every employee experience and people operations at your company? Just like it does not make sense to only have salespeople and without a customer team, it does not make sense to just get people in without ensuring that they are set up for success. In sales language, it leads to customer churn, in people operation/human capital terms it leads to employee turnover.

If employees do not feel that their expectations meet reality, they are likely to lose interest quickly. When surveyed, 61% of new hires state that they do not think their new job lives up to their expectations and feel cheated.  1

When your company has invested so much in hiring a new employee, it only makes sense to not leave them feeling like dead fish after contracts are signed.

However, it’s strange that so few companies stand out from the crowd and invest more in the employee preboarding experience.

Take the employee perspective

In the period leading up to the first day, it’s natural for employees to be a little anxious and nervous, perhaps even a little doubtful. Same as the first day of school. Everyone wants to feel like they’re joining a workplace that supports them and a company that looks forward to supporting them.

As part of these pre-first day jitters, employees create their own set of expectations for the new role. They might search online to learn about the company’s staff and perhaps even make contact with future colleagues. The days and weeks leading up to the first day is powerful. It’s a time when we forge ideas about how the new job will be and try to keep our nerves under control as we wonder how we’ll perform and fit in.

Scared Kumail Nanjiani GIF by Team Coco

Will they meet people that might become their friends? What will the career opportunities be like? What we don’t know are the untold stories about bad past work experiences, such as a difficult or ineffective manager or a dysfunctional culture that, troublingly, could also play out as a source of mild or more severe trauma.

But what if there is not a good preboarding experience before day one? It follows that any negative feelings might be dialed right up, leaving the positive ones lagging behind. This begs the question – why not control this and give employees what they crave?

Reduce no show rates with personalized automation

One of our clients in the airline industry struggled with employees signing a contract but never showing up for day one. They reduced the number of employee no-shows by 75% with the following change in the process; After conducting surveys, the airline business in question realized that while they had a highly sophisticated system of automating communication, tasks, and training to the new hires, they’d forgotten about the employee experience. Their process did not drive engagement and connection in the preboarding stage as it was too focused on the tasks.

In response, they changed the onboarding process slightly by automating two messages instructing HR or hiring managers to call the new hire to congratulate them on their new job and ask if they had any questions. This new practice created a sense of belonging to the company and made it real that there is actually a human being, perhaps even a team, waiting for the new hire’s arrival. This is a great example of automation in the Preppio solution to humanize the onboarding experience.

Other clients we work with have reduced no-show rates by asking new hires to add teammates on LinkedIn, listen to a podcast about the culture in the company (A CEO podcast episode is a good idea), or get a call from a buddy.

Test Preppio’s preboarding software on your phone:



It takes a village 

The whole company needs to adopt an onboarding mindset and preboarding is a critical component. The company should not let the excitement and enthusiasm and energy of all new hires go to waste. Creating perceptions and building actions to demonstrate that the company genuinely cares about a new hire starting requires some effort from the business’ internal stakeholders. This is not a mindset that pats managers on the back for checking off boxes. Rather, it’s a mindset that facilitates employee success by using tools to make it easy for all stakeholders to be onboarding champions.

The organization’s focus on its success, story, plans, and mission are great things to communicate, but even better is creating an onboarding experience that allows the new hire to be the hero of the story. In other words, the importance of ‘You’ in order for ‘Us’ to reach our mission!

The fact that “You were carefully selected from the vast numbers of people applying for the job, because of the fact that we believe you can help us” – is exactly how to speak to people that join. The first days should be about giving new hires confidence, connection, clarification, culture – not information overload.

In a research paper by Talya Bauer, our very own Chief Scientific Officer, competitive advantage was seen to strengthen in those organizations that capitalize on their talents. Talya found in one study that organizations judged to be the best onboarders have a retention rate of as high as 91 percent after the first year of employment compared to just 30 percent for the organizations assessed as the worst onboarders. Similarly, new hires who had good onboarding experiences achieved results of 71 percent for hires in the first year compared to only 17 percent for the poorest onboarders. 2

 

Aberdeen Group survey 2013

Preboarding checklists VS preboarding software?

 

Busy managers often forget to do the tasks on the checklist or things fall between the cracks. If managers and people operation teams do not have a system of checks and balances in place to ensure that critical things like ordering the equipment or setting up the desk are done in time, it will lead to bad results. It would be strange to not give the customer success department a CRM tool to ensure customers get a good onboarding experience, the same should apply for employee pre- and onboarding!

Check Checkmark GIF by MOST EXPENSIVEST

Do you have an onboarding system in place that makes sure your new hires feel cared for and set up for success when they arrive on day one? If you still are a bad HRIS onboarding module, spreadsheets, e-mails, or have a checklist that you hope people follow, you should consider using Preppio’s research-backed onboarding software. It is like a CRM for your people operation teams that go beyond the checklist and create a personalized WOW experience for new hires while making the job of being a hiring manager easier!

Test Preppio’s preboarding software on your phone: