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June 16, 2020

Inclusive Onboarding: How The Right Onboarding Team Can Help You Retain Top Talent

inclusive onboarding

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Try to remember what that was like: you’ve made it through the interview process, gave all the right answers and even asked a few insightful questions. And now you’re hired! You are ready to start your new job, but is your new company ready for you? 

We can sometimes forget what a daunting task it is to start a new job at a brand-new company. But it’s imperative that you empathize with your newest hires who may feel out of place. 

Can you imagine arriving at the front desk only to be greeted with “Oh, hello...I forgot you were coming today”? 

It may be comical to some, and we might think something like that couldn’t possibly happen—but the reality is, it happens often.

Whether it’s forgotten paperwork, technology, or even an arrival, what happens in these situations is demoralizing. Our onboarding process is directly tied to our company’s culture, and it all starts with the first impression.

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Not only is company culture affected, but productivity takes a big hit. 

Nearly one-third of new hires become dissatisfied with their job and will begin to seek new employment within the first six months of a job, according to a study by Gartner. They also report that those who stay, take an average of eight months to reach acceptable productivity levels.

Our first impressions are the ground floor from which the culture of our company rises, and the onboarding process plays a large role.

Your onboarding process should be technical. It is how new hires learn the company—the ins and outs, the organizational chart, acronyms, and the lingo used around the office. It should also include specifics on important clients, so they are up to speed and can hit the ground running. 

Pinterest is a company that does the technical aspect well. During their week-long orientation they schedule time for company leadership talks, IT setup, and other essential needs for success—which should be the goal of every onboarding process: getting the newest hire to the greatest level of success as quickly as possible. 

Your onboarding process should be relational. 

At Zappos, through their month-long onboarding process, they focus on growing their culture, building a stronger team, and creating lasting relationships throughout the entire company. 

Creating a team tasked with answering questions, guiding the new hires around the office, and even showing them where to go for after-work activities, prevents a single individual from becoming overwhelmed and offers choice for the new-hire.

I gave this solution in one of my virtual courses on diversity recruiting: 

Create an onboarding team. 

Don’t just provide them with a single mentor. 

Creating a team of people solves a couple of problems. It gives the new employee choices. They can choose to ask a female team member about where to get their hair done, they can choose to ask a Muslim team member about the location of the nearest mosque and they can ask someone with functional knowledge about the lingo being used on a current project. 

This solution prevents a sticky situation that can occur if the new employee and the mentor assigned to them aren’t compatible with one another. 

They also don’t bear the brunt of constantly being available to the new employee and the new employee doesn’t feel like a burden with all of their questions.

If you take these steps to onboarding, it will drastically affect your company’s culture in a positive way. 

You’ll begin to see working relationships evolve and people will feel comfortable working in proximity to one other, not as individuals who are fending for themselves but as a team working for a common goal. 

By striving to create a great place to work for your employees through your culture, all employees, not just diverse employees, will want to be a part of the culture they’ve worked to create. When morale is up and your employees are happy, retention is an easy outcome.

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Author Bio:

Leading at the intersection of diversity, inclusion, and workplace culture, Stacey focuses on recruitment and career development initiatives. She is CEO of Rework Work, where she delivers keynote speeches, consults with organizations, and develops educational content that engages professionals globally, both in-person and in a virtual environment. She focuses on reworking how companies work; including how they inclusively recruit, hire and engage employees, effectively creating inclusion and belonging for all.