There is an old saying used among mountaineers and hikers: “An hour in the morning is worth two in the afternoon.” That phrase rings true in many parts of life. We have all experienced times when success was based on previously-laid foundations. It certainly holds true for new employees joining organizations. What happens during those early days of onboarding has a significant impact on their subsequent contribution.
What makes a successful onboarding process? It should help new hires ramp up to productivity fast and boost job satisfaction while maintaining a cost-effective human resources administrative overhead. Making onboarding successful is best done by providing employees with a personalized new-hire experience. Here, personalization means that new hires are presented only with targeted onboarding content which fits their particular needs: for example, materials relevant to their particular job role, department or location.
Personalization like this keeps new employees motivated and ensures that their time can be managed efficiently. It is made possible through two separate, but connected, strands of technology.
The first strand is the technology that supports the onboarding, tailoring what is presented to the employee according to their needs. For example, it would present the right options on drop-down menus for their particular circumstances and the correct documents for their current stage of progress through onboarding. The second strand, intertwined with the first, focuses on the new hire’s behavioral attributes. A candidate’s first 60 to 90 days on the job are crucial for many things, including staying motivated, reaching peak productivity sooner and staying with the company longer.
This second part of personalization relies on working with every new employee’s key behavioral strengths to ensure you meet them on common ground, where they are the most comfortable and productive. The key is to provide a behavioral assessment during the recruitment process, providing a view of their behavioral makeup which will not only feed into their assessment as a candidate but which you can also use to inform their entire career.
Here are five ways to turn that behavioral data into onboarding gold:
1. Tailor their training.
Everyone learns differently. Why hamper your new hires’ chances of success by presenting them with materials that do not fit their preferences? If they find lectures boring, allow them the choice of self-service e-learning. If they prefer to discover for themselves, let them do that with resources tailored to their role.
2. Let them find their own way.
There is always more than one way to get from A to Z, and your new employees will have a range of ways of managing their tasks. In time, you can train them in your organization’s preferred approach, but during the crucial onboarding period, use their core work behaviors to let them reach productivity quickly. Whether they prefer a rigid or a looser method, work with them in their own preferred style of task management.
3. Give them time.
As with task management, so with time management. Some employees will feel the need for tight deadlines to keep themselves on track, while others will be able to work in a more agile fashion. Again, the key in those early days is to work with the new hire’s behaviors to adjust expectations and minimize stress.
4. Understand their fit.
We all know people have different degrees of extraversion, so why do we so often insist on treating everyone the same? Even if a new hire is an individual contributor, matching his or her preferences for interaction to what the role requires can greatly reduce stress and smooth the early weeks in the new job.
5. Work with them.
The task of getting the most from a new employee often rests squarely on the shoulders of their manager. Empower your managers by helping them understand the new hire’s behavioral profile. With that information, the supervisor can work with the new hire to help him or her achieve.
It costs time and money to hire well. The new employees who join your organizations are a tremendous asset. They are also expensive to replace. Take into account their core behaviors in the morning of their careers with you, and you may well be surprised with what they can achieve later on.