Onboarding New Employees for Long-Term Success and Innovation

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Too many times, companies mistake a simple employee orientation as an appropriate onboarding process. After all, the new employees know how to sign in to their station, they know where to park, and they know what time they have to take their break. Everything else they bring from previous work experience and training. What else is there? A lot. If you want to lay the appropriate groundwork for the long-term success of your new employees and your company, you need to design and implement an appropriate onboarding process. Here’s how the right strategy for onboarding new employees can help boost morale and promote innovation in your new employees, helping your company grow and reach its full potential:

Enforce the Brand Identity and Company Vision

Onboarding new employees is not just about teaching them the skills to do the job or the practicalities of navigating the office. It should also be about acclimating them to the corporate culture and the company identity. Enforcing brand identity should be an integral part of the onboarding process, and doing so will help employees better understand your brand value and personality. That way, they will better be able to represent your company when they are interacting with customers or are at public events. Learning your brand identity better can also excite employees when they feel a kinship with your values or brand personality. They can begin to see themselves in your company long term, and they can feel more excited about the work they are going to be doing. The onboarding process should also include sharing the company vision with new employees. Doing so will give them a sense of where you are going in the future, which can get them thinking about how they fit into that vision and make them feel more excited. Employees who are excited and future-oriented are more likely to apply themselves enthusiastically to their work and to do more than what’s required. They will think outside the box to help the company grow or improve.

Get them Excited about the Possibilities Within the Job

New employees know what they signed up for when they applied for a job – but only in a general sort of way. When you are onboarding new employees, you have the chance to help them understand what their responsibilities will be in a more detailed way. In doing so, you also have the chance to get them excited about the possibilities within the job. What’s the key to doing this? Focusing on the potential for employees rather than the demands on them. Too often, onboarding focuses on what employees will have to do and what the consequences might be if they don’t (even if those consequences are just implied). Help them understand what their power will be and how they can affect change. The more autonomy and agency people feel, the more excited they will be about what they are going to be doing. Make the job seem fun and interesting, and help employees see how they can make a difference. Do that, and you’ll have a much more motivated employee who is capable of making positive changes in your organization.

Help them See the Long-Term Potential

Few people want to stay in the same place for years and years. Most people want to know that they have the opportunity to grow – to take on more responsibilities, to gain new skills, and to achieve new things. You can boost morale when onboarding new employees by helping them to see the long-term potential in their time at the company. Help them see how there are opportunities for growth, including the option to have continued professional development or to be promoted into new positions. Not only will employees know that they have the option to do more at the company, but they will know that their overall careers can benefit from such opportunities. When they feel this way, they will be more excited about their time at the company and will feel more willing to put in their full effort. Engaged employees who are excited about the future are people who will bring you great ideas and help you take your company in a new (and successful) direction.

Provide a Mentor to Help Employees Acclimate and Grow

No matter what stage in their careers employees are at when they get hired, they can always grow more. Establishing a mentor program when onboarding new employees can help them know that you are committed to their growth and are willing to do what you can to help them achieve it. Pair established professionals within your organization with new employees to provide support and wisdom. Mentors can answer questions about acclimating to the company, of course, but their greater role should be to guide new employees in their career growth and help them take advantage of (or create) new opportunities. Do not assign mentors without first asking the established employees within your organization who would like to fill that role. Otherwise, you risk assigning mentors who really don’t want to be mentors, and that can actually undermine your goals.

Explain How the Company is Planning to Expand in the Future

You may have plenty of opportunities for growth within your company, but if your employees don’t feel like your company is going places, they may not care. Who wants to be the captain of a sinking ship? Your company may not be sinking, but if it doesn’t seem like an exciting place where big things are happening, your new employees are unlikely to feel excited about their future with you. While you are onboarding new employees, make sure you spend sufficient time talking about the growth you are planning for your company’s future. Talk about any specific plans you have for expansion, as well as your more general goals for where you’d like to be, such as becoming a leader in your segment. Where possible, talk about your growth in terms that are relevant to the position of the employees going through the onboarding process. That way, they can see how they might have a specific role in the company’s growth and feel more inspired with their own ideas.
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.