Fostering Engagement with Effective Employee Onboarding

Written by Jonathan Wiersma

We all know what it feels like to be the new employee in the office: unnerving, unsettling, and uncertain. Where’s the fax machine? How do you order business cards? Where is the “Main” conference room? Data shows that the more thorough a new employee’s onboarding process, the more secure he will feel in his new role, the more comfortable he will feel with his coworkers and supervisor, and the more effective and efficient he’ll be early on. Most importantly, effective onboarding leads to job satisfaction, and ultimately, retention. What this means for human resource (HR) managers, is that the strength of your onboarding process is crucial to your goal of retaining the best talent in your community.

The Initial 90-Day Window

Experts agree that effective onboarding practices during the first 90 days after a new employee is hired are critical to helping him adjust to the expectations of his new position, and to build positive working relationships with team members and co-workers. It is the responsibility of HR managers to lead the new employee onboarding efforts in local government administrations, and to give hiring managers the tools they need to continue those efforts at the department level.

Effective Onboarding Leads to Job Satisfaction and Better Retention 30-day Checklist and eBook

The Risks

According to TLNT, one third of new hires quit their job after about six months. When new employees are not given the tools, and training they need to be successful and feel confident in their new roles, they are left feeling unsatisfied. Ultimately, new employees not properly onboarded are less successful, which puts your administration at greater risk of attrition.

Local governments, including their human resource departments, are often structured to operate with lean staffing models. One of the most common reasons that HR and department managers fail to properly onboard new employees is because of the perceived amount of time needed to do it properly. Busy, understaffed departments are more inclined to simply begin assigning tasks to the new staff member from day one, with the hope of making a dent in the team’s “to-do” pile. In these cases, busy managers feel they can’t spare time on lengthy training and team building.

For municipalities feeling pressured by time and resources, government HR software with an integrated onboarding component helps HR departments of all sizes streamline and automate key components of their new hire workflows to enable successful new hire transitions.

The Rewards

What busy HR and department managers don’t realize however, is that spending time up front with a new employee, will save them money long-term. Since employees who receive proper on-boarding are less likely to turnover, municipalities are less likely to lose money on re-hiring and re-training.

Another benefit of proper onboarding, is improved employee performance. According to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), effective onboarding increases employee performance by up to 11 percent. While managers may feel the best way to enable their new hires to be effective is to immediately begin treating them like a tenured employee, this tactic is counterproductive, and supervisors would be better served investing time initially in proper onboarding and training.

Don’t Forget About Culture

The final, often overlooked yet essential factor in proper onboarding, is the affect it can have on a new hire’s comfort in the company, socially. Employees who feel like they are part of the team and are accepted by their coworkers are also less likely to turnover. According to The Aberdeen Group, two thirds of companies with onboarding programs reported a higher rate of successful assimilation of new hires into company culture, and 54 percent reported higher employee engagement.

In addition to encouraging new employees to get to know their coworkers, HR managers should also make an effort to teach new hires about the mission, vision, and values of their community. When employees feel that their work is making a difference in their community, they are more satisfied, and less likely to start a new job search.

Remember, onboarding is not just a day-one orientation. It’s a long-term commitment to assimilate new staff over their first 30-days. To ensure you have a successful plan for days 1 through 30, download our free eBook, Engage and Retain New Hires in Your Local Government with Proper Onboarding. It includes a 30-day onboarding checklist to ensure you are taking the steps necessary to keep the best people working in your administration.

Effective Onboarding Leads to Job Satisfaction and Better Retention 30-day Checklist and eBook