Recruiting, inducting and onboarding new staff is a huge investment for any workplace.
Let’s be honest, it’s something we need to get right because the process costs us lots of money. It costs us in terms of staff hours devoted to recruitment, onboarding, and induction training, and it costs us in reduced productivity as our new employees get used to their work and are supported by others to learn what to do. Frighteningly it can then go on to cost us double or triple that amount (or more) if the process is unsuccessful and new employees are deemed unsuitable or choose not to stay very long.
We know it is critical to get the onboarding process right, so what do we need to do?
It really doesn’t matter what type of workplace or environment we work in, onboarding processes follow a similar basic format. There are 3 essential steps:
Step 1 = recruitment
Step 2 = induction
Step 3 = commencing work
Some organisations really nail these steps and others don’t. Some spend a lot of money on complex pathways and measures to achieve amazing results.
But one simple thing that doesn’t cost a lot of money to achieve and is often overlooked at each point is “clarity”.
I was reminded of this today as I read an article about someone who was told at work, “You are not a cultural fit”.
I’m sure you have heard this phrase before, or even used it yourself occasionally. Indeed, perhaps this person was not a cultural fit. The feedback could have been entirely warranted, but my point here is he still didn’t know why. And this may not be a reflection on him. If expectations were not clear to him, he would have been guessing what they were based on his own assumptions. He couldn’t possibly have known how or why he wasn’t meeting the mark if he was meeting his own interpretation of the mark. Do you agree?
Let’s consider workplace values when it comes to clarity.
Misunderstandings or misinterpretations can happen easily when our organisational standards and values are not defined.
For instance, here is a list of common values:
- Being honest
- Customer service excellence
These are all worthy values. They will however be open to wide and varied interpretation unless clear examples are given.
If you choose just one value, and you think about what it means for all the different people you know, you will realise there is no one clear interpretation.
We need to make it easy for our new employees to succeed. When it comes to values in the workplace it is helpful to first provide context about why those values were chosen in the first place. This sets the meaning and expectation for everyone. Then defining the meaning by providing real examples or case studies of how values are applied in the workplace comes next. Those examples can be referred to and used as a tangible benchmark for workplace expectations. They can also be referred to if any issues arise. Then the most critical factor in ensuring expectations are truly understood is to allow employees to explore real (or hypothetical) situations for themselves and to make their own decisions under guidance. Induction is a great time to do this.
When values and any other workplace expectations are made clear and applied fairly and consistently employees become empowered.
Needless to say, expectations are much more likely to be met when everyone knows specifically what they are meant to do and how they are meant to do it.
As you begin your next recruitment campaign consider how your staff onboarding process stacks up.
Do values and expectations feature in your induction program?
Are you providing clarity at each of the three steps (recruitment, induction training, commencing work)?
Do you use real examples and case studies? Do you give meaningful and specific feedback to guide new employees to make decisions in alignment with your expectations? Do you provide new employees opportunities to try out their ability to meet expectations in a controlled environment without fear of failure?
Do you continue to support employees to meet expectations throughout their beginning weeks and months?
If you want to see tangible improvements to new employee experiences and outputs, you can make a great start by thoroughly clarifying your workplace expectations.
For more information on how to do this, or to find out what else you can do to improve workplace induction training at your organisation contact us at LB Learning Solutions.