A new employee represents a clean slate – a shiny new star who is eager to put their best foot forward. That old adage about first impressions is certainly true with new hires – you have one shot at bringing them on board. Get it right, and you will be rewarded with an engaged, inspired and motivated new employee who is committed for the long-haul. Get it wrong, and you may be posting an open position sooner than you think.

Finding and interviewing qualified candidates can require a considerable amount of time, depending on who you’re looking for and how difficult that ideal person is to find. Onboarding each new employee in a brand-right, culturally appropriate way will ensure the time and money you’ve committed during the hiring process gives you maximum return. Onboarding is a smart investment, not only in the longevity of that particular employee but in the overall strength of your brand and the culture of your organization.

Two Ways Onboarding Often Fails

For many companies, on-boarding fails in one of two ways:

Focuses exclusively on the tactics of the job:  the processes, the procedures, the policies. While this information is important, the bigger contextual picture of brand and culture can be overshadowed by executional details like how to use the printers and where to find supplies.

Gets lost in the urgency of filling the void.  When an organization has been limping along with a painful vacancy, there can be a lot of pressure to have the new employee hit the ground running. While onboarding may mean it takes longer for that person to be productive, this commitment of time and energy will result in a more engaged and enrolled employee. At the end of the process, you will be rewarded with a new employee who is committed to the culture and brand of your organization and ready to generate results.

Benefits of Brand-Aligned Onboarding

Why is a branded and culturally appropriate onboarding program a good investment? Here are some of the biggest benefits:

  1. Builds brands. An onboarding experience should not only strengthen your external brand, it should reinforce the employment brand and employee value proposition. The promises you’ve been making to prospects through your employment brand should come to life in the onboarding experience.
  2. Builds culture. A new hire offers a golden opportunity to bolster your culture.  New employees are usually eager to please and can willingly commit to the culture of your organization. Take the time to present culture in a thorough and meaningful way so new employees understand the cultural expectations and accountabilities.
  3. Supports the customer experience. Front line employees who regularly connect with customers need to know far more than the tactical details of customer interactions. No matter what business you’re in, front-line employees must learn the experience you want to deliver and how it connects to your brand and mission. Even employees who don’t regularly interact with customers need to be familiar with your service model so they understand how their role contributes to and supports those who are on the front lines.
  4. Reduces turnover. Strong onboarding programs set firm expectations early in the employee experience. Employees who realize they are not the right fit are likely to opt out sooner rather than later. While this may seem like a hassle, you will save yourself in the long run by focusing on finding the right person who is a good long-term fit, rather than struggling with an unwilling and uncommitted employee.
  5. Energizes and excites new associates. Many employees walk into a new job wondering if they truly made the right decision. You can eliminate cold feet through an onboarding program that is engaging and energizing. This will also contribute to reduced turnover by reinforcing the smart decision of your new employee to join your organization.
  6. Increases productivity. While thorough onboarding requires a commitment of time, new employees can be more productive at the end of the process – ready to generate results and contribute to the success of the organization.
  7. Eases the burden on current employees. On-boarding ensures that new employees have a consistent experience as they join your organization, and it reduces the time commitment required from existing employees who may have to be involved in the training process.
  8. Strengthens connections between managers and employees. Some organizations put the onboarding accountability in the hands of human resources or the learning team. Even though this can improve the overall experience by involving qualified and seasoned trainers, managers should be involved in onboarding so that relationships with their new employees can start out on the right foot.

If your onboarding program needs a makeover, contact our team today. Kennedy Global has worked with numerous global organizations to create engaging on-boarding programs that strengthen brands and align cultures behind a powerful customer promise.

About Alice Wright

As Director of Client Services, Alice directs projects while also designing program strategy and instructional content. She has more than 22 years of experience managing integrated strategic marketing, communication and training programs for globally recognized brands. Some of her current and past clients include Nike, Sunglass Hut, Safeway, Banfield Pet Hospital, Office Depot, Unilever, LensCrafters, EMC, Intel, Microsoft, Dell, adidas, Joann Stores and others.

Alice earned her bachelor’s degree from the School of Journalism and Communication at University of Oregon. She lives with her husband and teenage son in Portland, Oregon where she loves exploring the outdoors and being a soccer/band mom.

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