Ideas to Engage Employees Beyond New Hire Onboarding Orientation Blog Feature
Dan Fisher

By: Dan Fisher on February 19th, 2016

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Ideas to Engage Employees Beyond New Hire Onboarding Orientation

Employee Training

If your new hire orientation is confined to asking your new hires to read an outdated three ring “company overview”training_binder.jpeg binder followed by a few hours of “shadow training” than you might want to continue reading this article.  

According to the Wynhurst Group, the cost of losing an employee in the first year is estimated to be at least three times their salary.  What’s more, 22% of staff turnover occurs in the first forty-five days of employment. For any business, training is an investment in your time, money and resources. If your training isn’t engaging, it will have a detrimental impact on your business leading to lower employee productivity, high turnover, and customer churn. Coming up with new and creative new hire orientation training ideas are essential to driving employee engagement and cultivating long term employees. 

Once first day impressions have come and gone however, what is next? What methods can IT staffing firms deploy to drive employee engagement beyond the initial new hire orientation?  What are some of the best practices and who else and what else in the organization can be leveraged to drive employee engagement?

Let’s start off by taking a look at the new hire orientation map provided by my friends and technology partner, Mindtickle.

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You see, when new hires are brought into any company their experience is highly influenced by those around them including their peers, manager, subordinates, HR and the executive leadership team including the CEO. These are the various touch points that a typical new hire “touches” when going through orientation. When it comes to crafting your new hire orientation training program you should take into consideration all of these touch points and how each can make the new hire orientation process that much more engaging.

New Hire Orientation Best Practices

While the focus of your new hire training is to get your new hire acclimated with your company and services offering, you should still be open to and seeking out information and ideas from your new hires.  As they experience the “new hire journey” you should be asking for their feedback and ideas on how to improve the overall experience. Companies like Google and Zappos for example have employees on their staff where their primary function is to gather thoughts and ideas from their new hires on their experience assimilating into their new role and company. These companies also incorporate executive leadership into this exercise.  Think about it. This sends a strong message to the new hire that executive leadership values the feedback of their employees, even their new hires!  This in turn plays a big role retaining employees because they feel comfortable and confident that they can speak open and freely with senior management.

Integrate feedback sessions throughout your new hire orientation.  Share the responsibility by empowering HR, peers, managers and executives the opportunity to host feedback sessions throughout and after the orientation has concluded.

Other ideas to consider…

  • Engage your new hires early and often in peer events and activities. This of course needs to be mapped out and planned in advanced. Going out to lunch on their first day of employment is a nice gesture (keep doing this) but what is your plan for the rest of the week and the following 12 weeks?  Remember the high cost of turnover not to mention that investment of your own personal time and resources to recruit and hire your new hire.  Employers need to nurture their new asset.
  • Schedule activities with executive leadership to gain feedback and also gauge your new hire’s level of engagement. Here executives should be on the look-out for “up and coming” leaders, the future leaders of the company
  • Organize team building events with peers and managers and HR

Leverage Blended Learning

We can’t expect to a put new hire, whether it is a fresh college graduate or an experienced employee in a one day or multi-day workshop and/or ask them to read that outdated company overview three ring binder and expect them to “ramped up” and ready to be productive.  For new hire training to be impactful it must incorporate blended learning.

First, there is what we call informal learning where new hires are able to learn through observation.  For example, if you just hired a new sales rep, he or she could observe your morning role play session with your sales team or your morning req. meeting.  Regardless, you want to create scenarios where your new hire is able to learn through observations and by participating in group discussion with peers and managers.

Second, while instructor led training is great-and it should be a part of your orientation-you must provide your new hires with access to various online resources so that they can learn at their own pace.  The key point here, managers need to provide their new hires with enough “space” to learn at their own pace. Learning is a process and the speed at which one learns can’t be forced.

Finally, be sure to incorporate technology into your new hire training orientation.  Given the attention span of today’s younger workforce, an innovative approach to learning is a must. A recent study conducted by Gap Gemini tells us that enterprise gamification is emerging as a leader for onboarding activities and employee engagement. Cap Gemini’s enterprise gamification consulting paper highlighted the InMobi case study in which the MindTickle Gamified social learning platform was used for new hire onboarding.

Organizational Socialization

A study by SHRM titled Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success refers to organizational socialization as one of the approaches to new hire onboarding.  According to this study

“Every organization has its own version of the complex process through which new hires can learn attitudes, knowledge, skills, culture and behaviors”.

Researches refer to as “organizational socialization.” The basic idea is to ensure that the new hires feel welcome and are prepared enough to make contributions in earnest. Today’s leading employers have recognized and are taking advantage of the role of peers, managers and top management in helping new hires contribute to company’s growth through organizational socialization.  Now you can make it a part of your process.

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About Dan Fisher

Dan Fisher is founder and owner of Menemsha Group, a provider of sales enablement solutions dedicated to helping IT staffing firms improve win rates, shorten their sales cycle, and increase revenue per sales rep. Since launching Menemsha Group in 2008, Dan has consulted with over 200 IT staffing firms and has invested over 5000 hours coaching IT staffing sales reps. He’s authored is his own proprietary sales methodology and has previously spoken at Staffing World, TechServe Alliance and Bullhorn Live 2012. Prior to launching Menemsha Group, Dan spent 16 years in the IT industry running local, regional and national sales teams. Dan worked for Kelly Services, Oracle Corporation and Alliance Consulting. Dan currently resides in Boston, Ma.

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