6 Things Future Employees Want From Their Onboarding
By now, it’s probably old news that employees are evolving and that the future employee will differ radically from the employee of today. This of course, presents a new challenge for employers to understand how they should rethink procedures and workflows to accommodate the changing expectations and sensibilities of the future employee. At the same time however, this can also be seen as a potential opportunity – to grow with your employees and keep reinventing with changing times.
Employee onboarding is enjoying a new lease on life because it’s evident that employees are becoming particular about it and will increasingly be judging their new company based on the onboarding experience it provides them. An onboarding program that effectively builds and nurtures the employees during the initial phase of their new job will serve as a great head start for their bright future at the company. If, however, it fails to engage or motivate the new hire, it could deflate their enthusiasm and adversely affect their performance and commitment levels later.
The task at hand now is to first decode what exactly future employees will be demanding from onboarding programs and then to deliver a program designed specifically to cater to those demands.
So let’s break this down. What do future employees want from their onboarding?
1. A Great First Impression
The new employee is quick to make judgments. In this era of instant information, instant communication, instant everything, they’re also used to taking instant impressions. Their first day experience will significantly inform their first impression of your organization and the journey that lies ahead for them.
Here’s a quick checklist for ensuring you provide a memorable first day experience to your new hire:
- Provide the basic information that they’ll be needing for their first day beforehand. Don’t leave it to your new hire to figure things out for themselves. Communicate to them clearly their joining date, the time they should arrive, the location of their office, whom to report to and where to find them.
- Have everything prepared, gathered and taken care of beforehand. All the resources – their laptop, access cards, and any other items they’ll be needing as a functional employee should be handed over to them on their first day. Have their desk cleared out and decorated for a warm welcome.
- Be friendly and personable to soothe their nerves. A disarming smile and some nice gifts like chocolates, mugs, t shirts can go a long way in comforting the new hire and putting them at ease.
These are little things to be careful about but can collectively have a huge impact on what your new hire will make of you and your company.
2. Digital Solutions
This is the key to unlocking the future onboarding experience. The future employee will be gravitating toward companies that are technology- oriented. Automation is making workflows far more productive and quicker, and technological solutions such as onboarding softwares can be particularly helpful in streamlining related tasks and processes.
Here’s how onboarding softwares can, in many ways, be your one-stop solution for a more efficient onboarding program:
- A digital onboarding experience on a branded employer portal can be extremely convenient for the new hire as well as HR. Your new hire won’t have to cut through paperwork and can instead use automated dynamic forms.
- Moreover, all the reading material and documentation they’ll need for their new role can be centrally stored on the platform. The portal can further be animated with videos, pictures and formalized team introductions to furnish the company’s vision and culture.
- You can also assign training tasks to employees and ramp them up on your in-house processes & tools.
This will make the new hire’s life much easier, allowing them to access everything from one unit instead of having to keep track of several different resources on several different mediums.
3. Cultural Immersion
Employees want to see your culture shine through your onboarding program. Your employee has up till now only heard of your values. Show them these values playing out live during their onboarding. For example, if openness is one of your company’s key values, showcase it during your onboarding; Inform them in detail about all the perks and benefits they will be entitled to as an employee at the organization.
Similarly, if the culture at your workplace is casual and friendly, don’t be too formal or proper and plan out fun activities and exercises that reflect the playful spirit of your company. Basically, walk your talk!
4. Team Engagement
Another very important value for every organization is collaboration. Onboarding, contrary to common practice, should not be an HR-only domain. In fact, it should behoove every employee at the workplace to chip in and make it a team effort. The new hire’s colleagues should be warm and forthcoming and should volunteer to show the new hire around and familiarize them with the space and other routine matters.
HR could also pick a friendly mentor for the new hire so they don’t feel alienated during their first few days. Team building exercises or recreational outings can be arranged to help the new hire break the ice with their colleagues and essentially become a part of the gang! Big or small, your new hire will never forget the efforts you made to help them assimilate into the team.
5. Identity Formation
Often there is a tendency for employers to be too dictatorial during the training phase of a new hire. The emphasis is usually on hammering into them the values and practices of the company and urging them to uncompromisingly embody them. This, however, is not advisable.
A better approach is to identify their unique perspectives and strengths and to then work with them to understand how they can be utilized to further the company’s vision. Enculturation should not dwarf the unique skills and competencies that your new hire will be bringing to the mix.
Expecting your employees to unquestionably conform will impede innovation, creativity, and growth in the long run. Worse, such an atmosphere can be detrimental to the mental and psychological health of your employees. Allow them the space to cultivate an individual identity that doesn’t necessarily mimic, but instead compliments your organization’s outlook.
6. The Opportunity for Input
Mostly, HR doesn’t give employees a chance to provide any sort of feedback or input. The future employee values the freedom to express themselves and exert some degree of control in the processes they are involved in. HR should thus solicit their feedback as they move along.
Keep checking in on your new hire to see if they’re responding well to your onboarding program and whether they’d like anything tweaked. Their feedback will be valuable in helping you determine what’s working, what you could further add to your program and what you probably could do without.
The employee of the future is going to have a laser-sharp focus on what they want and how they want to achieve it. They won’t want to make compromises or settle for anything less than what they have set out for. To secure their loyalty and commitment, it’s vital, therefore, to revamp your practices in accordance with their increasingly high standards and expectations.
And where do you start? No points for guessing- not just the very first leg of your employee’s journey with you, but also arguably the most defining one- Onboarding!