February 25, 2015

Hiring new IT talent has the potential to bring an unlimited number of innovative ideas to the table. However, integrating the best of those ideas into the company can only happen after the new employee fully understands the culture and values within the organization. With your employees accounting for a high percentage of your company’s value, ensuring their integration and retention within your organization is vital to financial success. So, what role does an effective onboarding process play in engaging with and creating a positive experience for your new IT talent? Keep reading to find out!

Why is onboarding important?

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, onboarding is “the process by which new hires get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organizationAs an employer, you only get one chance to make a great first impression on your new hires. Ultimately, you want your new employee to feel like a valued, important part of your team, so this process can start before their first day of work.

Many companies have processes in place that include watching instructional videos, filling out paperwork or reading manuals/handbooks on the first day. While the video content and paperwork is sometimes necessary, employers should strive to implement a true onboarding process that is consistent with the company’s goals.

Creating a strategic onboarding experience or re-working your current process is an ambitious undertaking, but here are a few recommendations to get you started:

  1. Focus on what matters to your company

Your onboarding process should focus on teaching your new IT employees about your business model and corporate culture. Think about what your new hires really need to understand about your company to be both productive and engaged, and make those things the cornerstones of your onboarding content.

  1. Develop high quality support materials

Organizations with high employee engagement are likely to have a culture of learning and this begins with the onboarding program. The employee onboarding experience can be quite complex and uncertain, so consider the experience from the employee’s perspective. Make an effort to make it fun, interesting and as simple as possible. This will help make your new employee feel valued, welcome and excited.

  1. Garner support from hiring managers

You can have the best plan with great training materials and still have an ineffective onboarding program if the people who need to implement it do not support it. Get the hiring managers’ input during the development stage and request their feedback about the implementation and effectiveness of the program.

  1. Offer internal mentoring

Assigning an experienced mentor, preferably someone within the same area of expertise will give the newcomer a reliable contact source. This aspect of onboarding is a two-way process: the mentor provides feedback and support, and the new hire asks crucial questions about their new position. It’s also perfectly fine to hold new hires accountable for their own onboarding process; engage and empower them by providing a list of activities and action steps they need to accomplish during each phase of the program.

  1. Solicit feedback

As with any program, you willneed to evaluate whether it is meeting your goals and objectives. From this feedback, you should learn if the program is being implemented as designed, how the new employees feel about the onboarding experience, and if employees acquired the requisite knowledge. Speak with hiring managers to get their feedback about what they thought about the program and if the new employees are meeting performance goals at the expected time.

In order to retain employees and develop loyal ones, organizations have to begin expressing company values as early on as the recruiting process. Aligning these goals should begin during the onboarding process, and can result in higher performance and retention rates. An onboarding program executed effectively with proper management support is well worth the investment and can be one of the most significant contributions made towards achieving long-term organizational success.

Does your organization have an effective onboarding process? What are your tips for retaining key talent?

Posted By: Ariana Hampton-Marcell

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