The employee experience is exactly what it sounds like. It describes how employees experience working for your company, and it’s too large to be seen as wholly positive or wholly negative. Frequently, there are positive aspects of miserable employee experiences and negative aspects to happy ones. There are too many factors that cause employees to become engaged or disengaged, to be more or less productive, and to stay or leave. We can’t possibly review all of them in one blog post. So, let’s focus on one major factor in employee retention: new-hire orientation. New-hire orientation is the first interaction of the employee experience for official employees. Prior to that, every interaction is between a company and a prospective hire.
New-Hire Orientation and Employee Retention
We’ve all been there. You walk into a new office and you don’t know anyone. You need information about how to do the job, but don’t know where to turn. If you don’t want to look incompetent, you might not ask questions. You do what you’re told even if you don’t understand it. At least, not yet.
Many of us develop a mindset designed to keep us from being criticized at work. Some of us try to keep our heads down. We work in our cubicles until we’re comfortable and develop more independence. Maybe we start to speak up or ask for help. But probably not. The problem is managers don’t want employees working to avoid criticism. Managers want them to contribute to the corporate culture and help build a better brand and company. All employees experience difficulties during their first few weeks or months on the job. There’s a period during which everyone has to get used to others’ communication styles and the ways in which they’re most productive. It can be rough, but it should work itself out.
New-hire orientation is one avenue HR managers have to minimize these common problems and get communication flowing sooner. Orientation has a massive impact on first impressions of a company, making it an integral part of the employee experience. Few company leaders know how effective their orientation systems are. That is, until employees leave in numbers large enough to get noticed. How can you improve your new-hire orientation practices to ensure better employee retention?
Interrogate New-Hire Orientation
Think critically about how new employees view your company and their new position as they progress through orientation. Here are a few questions about orientation systems that will help you find ways to improve the employee experience.
• Who is responsible for onboarding? How does your HR department run onboarding procedures? How do they present the process to new employees, and how do those employees respond? Creating accountability is important. You can consult with a point person or team responsible for building the onboarding process and streamline the processes for assessment and revision.
• What does your onboarding process entail? Put yourself in a new hire’s shoes. Look at each component of your employee-onboarding system from an outsider’s perspective. Are things clear? Are materials, tools and answers easy to find? You might be able to find some weaknesses pretty quickly.
• How long should new-hire training and probationary periods last? Create a schedule to check on new employees throughout the training period, so they can get the support they need. When you establish a schedule, make sure it’s consistent for everyone. Many companies set up a standard onboarding schedule that integrates new employees into the company culture, but with timelines that work for them individually. This allows for both consistency and customization.
Answering these can trigger more questions. When you examine orientation processes from the employee perspective, you’ll likely find aspects that aren’t effective for everyone. These may require major overhauls or they might only need small tweaks. The key is to make changes that build toward the employee experience you want for your workers.
Digital New-Hire Solutions
One of the most common tools in new-hire processes is video communication. Orientation and training video series are a great way to keep your messaging consistent, both visually and in terms of the content. They quickly establish your internal branding and can even convey a sense of your company culture for those unfamiliar with it. What’s more, video has consistently proven to be effective at improving information retention over print-only materials.
We at Flimp Communications can help you produce animated and live-action videos to communicate training concepts, orientation information, benefits enrollment information and more. Our digital postcards provide a flexible vehicle for sharing those videos, along with other resources workers will need in their first days and weeks. Providing clear and ready access to information is a quick, easy and cost-effective way to improve the new-hire experience.