Beyond the first week of onboarding

Vedran Ismaili on

The hardest part is that 1st phase - getting someone acquainted, introducing them into their new work life and work-family and press all their right buttons to get them going in achieving business objectives. Or is it?

You see, creating the roadmap for someone, so they have a smoother transition, know best how to navigate their way around and hitting targets is key, and you think it’s fine to leave them to their own devices after 30 days of intensive training and being immersed. But the reality is, that complacency can kick in.

For example, not only do high-performers cost more to replace, research by SAP and Oxford Economics( 27 countries, 3,000 employees), shows that less than half of them are satisfied with their jobs, and 1 in 5 say they're likely to leave in the next six months.

So let’s say, you onboarded a new member in January and by May, they’re considered a top-performer because you’ve onboarded them so well, appropriately provided with the right tools, tricks of the trade, training etc, yet in September, they leave the company. Why was this? Were they disillusioned? Wasn’t it the right fit? Personal circumstances? An exit interview will almost always reveal this, but nonetheless, the more engaged you keep an employee throughout the LIFETIME of their employment, the less chance there is of them leaving.

This means that while a formal onboarding programme may end after 30 days, it is still critical to either have refresher onboarding or continued onboarding/engagement. Otherwise, complacency kicks in, skills become rusty, employees become disengaged and eventually performance and bottom line is impacted.

If you think about the definition of onboarding, it is the process of assimilating and training employees to become productive in the workplace. This, in actual fact, is an ongoing process. Not just a thing for new employees. Recognising that effective onboarding and its role in employee turnover or retention, is key.

What does continued onboarding look like after 30 days?

Some employers may view this as solely providing training opportunities etc for employees, but it should be fully integrated and aligned with the employee’s personal development and professional goals. It is no longer enough to send people to conferences, workshops, or 3-day certification programs. Today’s top employees demand continuous learning opportunities, delivered through innovative programmes, forward-thinking employers and strong connections.

But it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Is it tied nicely into an employee’s Personal Development Review (PDR)? The onboarding checklists you already have, you can take snippets from it and re-apply, for example, the regular check-ins on goals and objectives every 30 days, are you still having those once a month? If not, re-introduce it.

Have you ‘buddied’ them up with another team recently (even in their 4th Month) to be mentored or be a mentor themselves? This offers further collaboration, development, a chance to integrate further into the company and leadership opportunities.

Simple things like this, make your employee feel continually valued and important. Particularly in an age where people not only feel the need to reach basic security (being paid well), but have a higher meaning and purpose. If they feel like they’re contributing, that they are recognised and rewarded, they’re more likely to feel satisfied with less desire to leave. This is fulfilled with effective ongoing onboarding, training, and strong engagement integrated together.

Think of your onboarding program as a journey and if you end it after an intensive month it is like a journey comes to a sudden end. Make sure to design an onboarding program that is continuous and which stretches beyond the first 30/60/90 days and beyond. If you haven't seen our ur comprensive onboarding checklist we recommend you do, it offers a great start!

Vedran Ismaili

Co-founder & CEO - chatbot builder, optimist and rookie skateboarder.