3 Expert Onboarding Strategies for Long-Term Employee Success

Boost employee retention and engagement with onboarding strategies built to elevate the process through the use of technology. Setting employees up for long-term continued success in a modern workforce starts with the right onboarding plan.

Too many companies just hand their new hires a stack of paperwork, pat them on the back, and call it onboarding. Some might include a brief company tour or point out a few key operatives, then consider the new employees ready to go. However, the truth is these practices don’t help set the new employee up for success, increasing the risk of attrition.

When done strategically, a well-crafted employee onboarding plan sets the stage for a long-term employment relationship to flourish. After moving through a robust employee onboarding process, employees are more productive and engaged, and thus more likely to succeed in their new position.

In today's distributed workforce environments, virtual onboarding strategies are as important (if not more so) as those used in person. You can ensure that your online process is compelling and engaging by leveraging digital training programs. Microlearning modules, regular assessments, and ongoing training reinforcement are just a few onboarding strategies companies can utilize in the digital space to immerse new hires in company culture and values from day one.

Here are some invaluable tips for fostering long-term employee success with comprehensive technology-driven onboarding strategies.

1. Look Ahead With a 30-60-90 Day Employee Onboarding Plan

Most people remember their first few months at a new job. The first 90 days come with excitement, nervousness, and anxiety. Thankfully, an engaging onboarding process is a great way to relieve those new-hire jitters and mold new teammates into full-fledged employees. There's a lot to learn in those first 90 days, from company technologies to navigating team dynamics.

Having a cohesive employee onboarding plan for the first 30, 60, and 90 days, paired with a multi-touch digital onboarding program, can equally benefit your new employees and the company. The best way to adapt the onboarding process for a distributed workforce is to incorporate virtual training.

Research proves how important your onboarding strategies can be when executed properly. In fact, companies with a robust onboarding process can improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by 70% or more. Those improvements begin with an actionable 30-60-90 day plan to empower new hires to embrace company culture and expectations.

At its core, a 30-60-90 day plan outlines the first 90 days for new hires. They'll become familiar with company policies, values, goals, and teams during that time. As they move through the process, new hires will learn the ins and outs of their new role and the company culture at a natural pace. By day 90, new hires should be independent of mentors and supervisors and consider themselves fully ramped.

An important aspect of the 30-60-90 day plan is for new hires to achieve a new milestone at the end of each block. With the proper onboarding strategies in place, your 30-60-90 day plan should resemble the following roadmap:

Day 1-30

During the first 30 days, new hires should be trained on all company systems, including communication technologies and task boards. They should receive extensive training on any specific tools required for their job. Additionally, they should have a firm grasp of company policies, teams, and responsibilities.

Incorporating a digital training tool that provides bite-sized bursts of learning throughout the first 30 days is a great way to get new employees comfortable with company information and foster continuous engagement.

Day 31-60

New hires should have a decent understanding of their essential responsibilities at this point. Now, it's time to put those skills to the test.

While new hires take on smaller tasks, mentors or managers can send pulse checks, microlearning activities, or quiz questions through their digital training platform to stay connected to the employee and gauge their progress. Remember, though, that this is still a learning period. Leave room for hires to make mistakes and learn from them.

Day 61-90

New hires should be mastering their skills by now. They no longer need supervision and can complete more complex tasks without error. Keep your door open for any nuanced questions that may not have come up so far, and constantly reinforce training with digital learning modules.

Bolstered by solid onboarding strategies, new hires should have a firm understanding of your company values, culture, and mission by day 91. They should understand the organization's structure, including all team members and upper management. Most importantly, they should know how to do their job and do it well. As fully onboarded employees, they have a firm grasp of project roadmaps, short-term goals, and long-term objectives.

At the end of their 90-day onboarding process, a comprehensive behavioral assessment, perhaps administered through the digital training tool, can provide insight into where employees feel confident and where they see knowledge gaps. It's also helpful to conduct these reviews at the 30-day and 60-day marks to catch issues before they become larger problems.

The benefit of conducting these assessments through a digital training tool is the ability to track growth and employee sentiment over their first 90 days. It also frees up the manager or mentor to spend one-on-one time addressing the feedback the employee gave in their digital assessment. Additionally, this review gives you insight into your onboarding strategies and if your process has room for improvement.

Employees shaking hands in front of computer

2. Optimize Employee Onboarding for Engagement

Onboarding begins the moment you send the employment offer. Your next few moves can spell the difference between an engaging onboarding experience and a monotonous first day. (The former leads to more motivated new hires, eager to contribute to their new company. The latter leads to disengagement, which is detrimental down the road.)

According to BambooHR, 31% of employees left their jobs after the first six months. And as even more people participate in the Great Resignation, strong onboarding strategies are crucial to attracting and retaining long-term employees. BambooHR survey participants cited a lack of engagement during employee onboarding as their primary reason for leaving. They felt as though upper management was absent through the process, leading them to feel unappreciated at work. Thankfully, there are many ways to optimize employee engagement—like augmenting your onboarding efforts with tailored virtual engagement tools.

Learn About Employees

It may sound obvious, but demonstrating what you’ve learned about your new hires shows them that you care. You don't have to know them inside and out; that'll come later. However, bringing up past experiences from their resume, engaging about past internships, and even just remembering their name can make them feel more appreciated, and thus more engaged.

Engage With Employees Before the First Day

Don't wait until employees log in or show up on day one to begin welcoming them. Leverage digital engagement through a microlearning platform to bring them into the fold right away.

Enroll them in a pre-onboarding program that includes space for them to give information about themselves, like their personality traits, ideal working style, or a few of their favorite things. Include short welcome videos of team members introducing themselves so new employees feel like they're getting to know their teammates before they start. Use an activity to provide your company's awesome infographic detailing the company culture, mission, and values so your new employee can spend time with that information before starting. You can even use this program to provide necessary paperwork and instructions on what to complete before their first day.  

This low-barrier engagement demonstrates a thoughtfulness that can make new employees feel more appreciated and connected, and thus more engaged.

Assign a Mentor or Office Buddy

New hires may feel anxious about reaching out to their new coworkers, especially in a hybrid workplace. A buddy can be their first workplace friend and someone they can reach out to with questions.

Microsoft demonstrated how effective the buddy system is ultimately finding that new hires who met with their buddy at least eight times during their first 90 days indicated they were 97% more productive.

Leverage Digital Technology

Hybrid and remote employees are always on their phones or around their computers. As new hires move through onboarding—organizations should send them surveys, open response questions, or self-reflections to gather feedback and collect data points. This will help companies see how onboarding strategies benefit new hires, and help spot any trends that need correcting or improvement.

Furthermore, microlearning technology allows organizations to utilize video and online learning activities to engage new hires in their training more often and in the flow of their work.

Employee training on laptop with headphones

3. Create a Roadmap For Professional Development

Another proven way to boost employee engagement is by offering a roadmap for professional growth through learning and development (L&D) programs.

Surprisingly, only 29% of companies provide clear L&D plans for their employees, according to Accenture's Learning and Skills At Work 2020 report. Furthermore, Monster polls found that 80% of employees don't think their employers provide enough growth opportunities.

Together, these stats show the imbalance between supply and demand regarding L&D plans in the workplace. Incorporating an L&D roadmap into your onboarding process allows new hires to better understand the developmental benefits of sticking with their new role. The goal is to offer L&D without detracting from your employees' day-to-day tasks. Learning and communications platforms (LCPs) provide customizable microlearning programs and detailed success metrics.

Most employees want L&D opportunities, yet many companies don't provide them. Given the benefits of advanced training and professional development grossly outweigh the cost of implementation, it’s surprising most companies neglect this area. In a rapidly changing world, the best way to train employees on emerging trends and technology is with L&D programs continuously presented as microlearning and training reinforcement. Doing so will keep your company one step ahead of the competition—especially when that competition doesn't invest in professional development.

Onboarding strategies, employee engagement, and professional development share a common goal: increasing retention rates.

According to a LinkedIn poll, 94% of employees stated they'd stay with a company longer if they provided L&D opportunities. By incorporating these practices into your onboarding process, you're establishing a culture of learning from day one and new hires can better picture themselves with the organization years down the road.

Ensure Long Term Success With Mindmarker

From day one (and even before), onboarding plays a crucial role in developing and retaining new hires. With the right onboarding strategies, you can mold your new hire into your next star employee.

It's essential to employee success to achieve tangible 30,60, and 90-day milestones while embracing company culture and leveraging L&D programs along the way. Utilizing a digital microlearning and communications platform like Mindmarker is the best way to ensure those milestones are met.

Mindmarker's LCP adapts to each employee based on their responses, identifying and bridging any learning gaps. With professional development, it's crucial that each employee progresses at their own pace.

Get in touch with Mindmarker today to learn how innovative microlearning and training reinforcement programs can bolster your current onboarding strategies.

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