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Why Your Onboarding Should Be More Than a PowerPoint Presentation

employee orientationNinety days is the amount of time most new hires have to lay the foundation for success in their companies. And according to positive psychologists and neuroscientists, it’s also the number of days it takes to make a new habit a way of being. Because onboarding is the process of getting new employees integrated into your company culture, competent in their roles and consistently delivering the results you expect of them, your onboarding process should be more than a one-day orientation or even a week-long employee training program.

Here are the key reasons why your onboarding process should extend throughout your employees’ first quarter and how you can ensure that you best meet your new hires where they are, and partner with them so they get to where you need them to be.

Habits Are Created Through Daily, Intentional Practice. If you want your new employees to be peak performers, make yourself a partner in their learning and development. Give them the knowledge they need to successfully perform their work and make yourself accessible to support their growth, ideally through weekly check-in meetings. Encourage them to book time with you whenever they need it—regardless of what the issue is. If you make it easy for your new employees to come to you with questions and concerns, you can nip any issue in the bud before it becomes a real problem.

It Takes Time to Create a Culture Fit. As Zappos founder and CEO, Tony Hsieh says, “If you get the culture right then most of the other stuff will happen naturally.” Unfortunately, for a lot of new employees, the first 90 days at a new job can feel more like a dress rehearsal than a final performance. New hires don’t yet feel like they are a part of their company culture, and yet they must before they can make positive contributions to it. There are a few key tactics managers can put into practice to expedite the process:

  • Connect new hires with all the right people: Immediately introduce new employees to the colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders they will be working closely with. By facilitating these connections, you ensure that your employees have the people resources they need to be successful, and you give them a supportive community which will help them feel strong and supported.
  • Demystify company and field jargon: There is nothing worse for a new employee than to hear other people using abbreviations or industry terms that they don’t understand.  Help them become a part of your tribe by giving them the inside scoop on words and phrases they can expect to hear.
  • Hook young professionals into your company’s unique cultural features: Get your new hires excited about your team and company traditions and rituals. One of the easiest ways to get your young professionals involved in your culture is to have them share their experiences with it. Whether it’s writing testimonials for your Facebook fan page or employee blog, documenting colleagues at work (and hopefully sometimes at play!) for company events, or having them share their candid experiences with prospective new hires, when employees have the opportunity to reflect on the culture they will take more of an active role in it.

A successful onboarding process requires the support of everyone who has a stake in new hire success, e.g., hiring managers, HR, training, and a direct supervisor. It takes time and should be ongoing. In order to inspire the performance you want from your new employees, you have to invest time and energy in bringing them on board and welcoming them into your workplace family.

Alexia Vernon is an author, speaker, International Coach Federation (ICF) certified coach, trainer, and media personality who specializes in helping organizations recruit, retain, educate, and grow their young professional workforce. In her book 90 Days 90 Ways: Onboard Young Professionals to Peak Performance, Alexia demonstrates how to achieve the goal of getting new employees oriented, integrated and trained within 90 days of their employment. As a member of Gen Y and with her unique approach to talent development, Alexia has been featured in hundreds of media outlets including CNN, NBC, Wall Street Journal, CBS MoneyWatch, FOX Business News, Forbes.com, ABCNews.com, TheGlassDoor.com, and Mint.com.  To learn more visit www.AlexiaVernon.com and connect with Alexia on Twitter @AlexiaVernon.

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