Four Ways to Accelerate a New Hire’s Onboarding
“Wow,” thought Sharon Franklin as she continued her Zoom interview of Kiara Sharma, a candidate for an outside sales / business development role with Western Industries. “She is fabulous! I can just see our customers falling in love with her. Great personality, articulate, and a great deal of maturity for someone her age.”
After several interviews with Kiara and her favorable results on background checks and pre-hire assessments, Kiara was extended an offer of employment which she was thrilled to accept.
Here are the four best practices Sharon and Western implemented to assure Kiara got off to a highly successful start in her new career.
ONE: Pre-Boarding Before Kiara Starts
Pre-boarding takes place between the moment someone accepts a job offer and his or her start date. From the day Kiara accepted her job offer until her first day on the job, Sharon and Western’s HR team created a series of affirmative contacts with Kiara, from sending a congratulations balloon bouquet to her apartment to Western’s regional president sending her a personalized video message telling Kiara how pleased he was to have her joining the team. As a result, Kiara felt wanted and valued by Western and couldn’t wait to get started.
Indeed.com recently reported that about a quarter of new hires never show up after accepting their job offer (ghosting). Pre-boarding is a top measure an employer can take to prevent ghosting, second only to hiring someone who will is a great fit for the role, team, and company.
TWO: Designing and Implementing Kiara’ Onboarding Program
Sharon wasted no time in constructing Kiara’s onboarding program. She carefully mapped out Kiara’s first 120 days on the job, including the following six areas:
- Things to be completed before Kiara starts (work area, email, phone, onboarding plan, etc.).
- First day and first week actions to be completed, both standardized (meet new team members, physical tour, contact list, review onboarding plan, etc.) and customized to Kiara’s new role.
- All meetings (touch-base one-on-one with Sharon, staff meetings, key contact meetings, etc.).
- Training curriculum – all training sessions Kiara is scheduled to complete.
- OJT Training customized to Kiara’s role (objectives, with whom, when and where, etc.).
- Milestones and objectives for Kiara’s first 120 days.
Additionally, Kiara was assigned two mentors, experienced team members at Western to whom she could turn for assistance, get answers to questions, and receive guidance, in addition to Sharon.
Upon her arrival for her first day, Kiara as given a copy of her onboarding plan, and she and Sharon met frequently to review Kiara’s progress and to update her plan.
Here are just four of the 120+ eye-popping statistics for 2022 from Shortlister citing how effective onboarding programs lead to less employee turnover, higher productivity, and longer employee tenures:
- Businesses that use organized onboarding see a 60% increase in revenue year over year.
- Employees who engage in extended onboarding programs (of up to a year) achieve full competence 34 times faster than their peers.
- A positive employee onboarding experience increases the likelihood of that person remaining by 82%.
- The cost for onboarding an employee averages about $4,000, while the costs of replacing a successful employee in the same position exceeds $25,000.
THREE: Customizing Kiara’s Initial Development Program
As part of her application process, Sharon had Kiara complete several assessments. Not only did the assessments prove highly accurate and insightful, helping Sharon to see if Kiara was a good fit for the role, they were the key to understanding exactly where Sharon would focus Kiara’s development if hired. Sharon used the TriMetrix EQ assessment for sales roles which assessed Kiara’s 12 workplace behaviors, 17 sales-specific behaviors, Kiara’s emotional intelligence, and her intrinsic motivating factors.
Here is a snip of 8 Kiara’s 17 selling behaviors, showing Sharon where Kiara will naturally perform at a superior level and those in which she needs improvement. Because most people are works-in-progress (and hiring proven superstars is incredibly expensive), almost every candidate and employee has areas of strengths and areas in which they can level up his or her skills. The role Kiara is to fill is that of new business development (an outside sales hunter, finding new prospects and persuading them to become customers). Once sold, new customers are turned over to Customer Success, where they are onboarded and served by an inside team. Without the assessment Sharon would need to guess what Kiara’s biz dev strengths and development needs are; with the assessment she knows.
Before offering her the job, Sharon noted that Kiara is a natural fit for the biz dev role with one key area of need, listening skills. As part of Kiara’s onboarding, she will be provided training and mentoring in the area of listening skills development. By helping Kiara in her top area of need, Sharon is dramatically increasing Kiara’s success in the role, and evidencing Western’s commitment to training and development.
*Natural is an individual’s natural behaviors in a job while Adapted shows an individual’s self-modification of behavior to be more effective.
FOUR: Regular Career Development Discussions
Career development discussions say more about a supervisor’s / employer’s commitment to an employee than just about anything else. They are seen as an investment of quality time in the employee’s future. And they are a key to retaining talented people after onboarding. Indeed.com found that 4 out of 5 employees would quit their job to work for an employer who provided them better career development opportunities. I have much more to say about Career Development in my recent articles.
Knowing this, Sharon scheduled Kiara’s first career development meeting for 60 days into the job. This provided an opportunity to get an early read on Kiara’s progress, to assess and update her training plan, and to have Kiara self-assess her future with Western. In addition to bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with her direct reports, each quarter Sharon holds a career development discussion in lieu of one of their one-on-one meetings.
With this level of commitment from Sharon and Western, Kiara has every opportunity to become a top performing member of the team with a fulfilling and rewarding career,
Managers and leaders who invest in and support a robust, best-practices approach to onboarding significantly outperform their peers who don’t. Their teams produce 60% more revenue and operate at a lower cost, have greater customer satisfaction with a stronger brand presence. All because they cut no corners in the hiring and onboarding process.
To find out how my team and I can do the same thing for your organization as we did for Kiara and Western, please contact me at email@example.com. Author’s note: this article was in part excerpted from the BMG Leading Through People® series, Module 5: Hiring and Onboarding.
About me: For the past 25 years I’ve worked with some of the world’s top employers by helping them get the most out of their talented people. My company’s extensive leadership development course catalog provides effective skills-building for everyone in the organization, from the new / developing leader to the seasoned C-level executive. My company’s coaching programs produce significant results in compressed periods of time. Over the last decade our B2B Sales Essentials™ program has won numerous awards. I also help job seekers, higher ed, and employment services connect people to better jobs faster. My company’s highly regarded career development tools help people navigate the ever-changing landscape of conducting a successful job search. To find out more, please visit us at www.boyermanagement.com, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 215-942-0982.