New Rules of Engagement: Improve Employee Onboarding and Success

Written by Steve Franks

A research study done by Hewitt Associates showed that companies who focused more resources and time on their onboarding processes experienced higher levels of success with employee engagement. Many local governments know that they should be properly establishing and training their new employees, but unfortunately are understaffed and overwhelmed. As a result, instead of properly onboarding the new hire, they attempt to quickly introduce the employee to his assignments and hope he has the fortitude to be successful without extensive training or guidance.

If you want to create a cohesive team of employees with high job satisfaction, it starts from the moment the potential employee walks through the door for an interview. Here are a few ways you can improve recruiting and employee onboarding, and in turn increase employee engagement:

Establish Your Community Culture

The culture within your local government administration will impact whether the new hires feel welcome, and whether employees enjoy coming to work each day. Make sure that interview candidates and new hires feel welcome from the first moment they interact with anyone in the company. The goal is to let them know that they are a valued team member who has the power to make a difference in your community, and that you are happy to have them as part of your administrative team.

If part of your struggles involve the amount of paperwork that needs to be procured, distributed, signed, and filed with each new hire, consider a government HR software that allows for digital workflows of onboarding documentation, and automated routing. Such solutions can save human resource managers significant amounts of time, while speeding the onboarding process, and keeping personnel data secure.

For a free onboarding checklist customized for local government, click below.

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

Introduce the Team

A new employee can feel a bit awkward sitting in the office if they haven’t been introduced to the rest of the team. Take a moment to make introductions, and look for ways to involve other team members in the onboarding process. By utilizing members on their team, the new employee can develop a relationship with his new coworkers from the beginning.

It should be a high priority to integrate the new employee into the team as quickly as possible, because he will be happier and more comfortable with his job when he has made a few friends in the workplace.

Make it Easy for New Hires to Ask Questions

It is inevitable that questions will come up during the onboarding process, and you need to provide avenues for those questions to be answered. Some new hires might be too uncomfortable to speak up and ask questions, which is why you need to be proactive to let them know where to go and who they should talk to if they need help.

Tell them that managers and coworkers are always available to answer their questions. You might even assign a coworker as their mentor in the beginning, so they have a specific person they can turn to if a question arises.

Inspire Pride in Your Local Government

One of the primary reasons that individuals seek employment in public service is out of a desire to make an impact in their community. Reinforce to the new hire how his specific job function and assignments help to support the over-arching goals of your community. The best way to set this expectation is right from the beginning during the application and recruitment phase.

Rather than recruiting for open positions using job descriptions, use performance profiles. Turn Your Job Descriptions into Performance ProfilesSuch tools recruit achievement-minded candidates. Explaining how the position supports the overall community’s goals will help attract such motivated candidates. Then, when it comes time for the employee’s annual performance review, evaluate his performance based on the same criteria outlined in the performance profile for consistency, relevancy, and to foster future goal-setting and motivation.

Set Clear Expectations for Daily Tasks and Job Duties

There is nothing worse than the feeling of boredom at work, and it can quickly kill a new hire’s motivation if they sit around for the first few days waiting for a project to work on. Have activities ready for them from the beginning, and make sure that you are clear about the tasks that need to be completed each day.

Also, be sure that you have systems in place for training and skill improvement. If the employee starts into a task to find that they are missing information that is needed to be successful, where do they turn? Consider a mentorship program between new hires and tenured staff in the department. Such collaborations will foster knowledge transfers as tenured staff begin to reach the age of retirement.

Implement an Ongoing Feedback System

Once the onboarding process is complete, you need to stay proactive to help the new hire continually grow and develop within their position. Don’t neglect ongoing feedback and evaluations, because these are the moments where you can assess the person’s progress and help him feel more satisfied with his job.

Implement a specific system that can be used to monitor his progress, and work with him to set achievable goals. An employee who is making progress and growing within your local government is more likely to stick around, which increases retention and overall job satisfaction.

Click here to learn more about the CivicHR cloud-based onboarding solution, customized for local government, and how it can help you onboard new hires better, and faster, resulting in more impactful employees.