Despite the value of a good introduction to a new job, only 12% of employees felt that they had a positive experience with their organization’s onboarding process. Onboarding offers new employees a chance to learn about the structure and culture of a company.
Onboarding can consist of a couple of days of introductory activities or in some cases span several months. When carried out well, onboarding not only helps employees to quickly settle into a new job but it can also improve productivity, build loyalty and increase staff retention in the long-term.
The hospitality industry has been hard hit over the past couple of years and, like many other areas, it is still experiencing a labor shortage. The sector accounted for over 6% of the record-breaking number of resignations in September last year, and staff retention is a concerning issue.
In response, many frontline services such as hotels and retailers are prioritizing onboarding and staff training over meeting customer demand and increasing revenue. With such a high turnover of staff, onboarding is more important for essential workers, but time to undertake the process is often limited especially when they are having to step straight into an urgently needed role.
By being well prepared, employers can help to speed up the handling of necessary paperwork. In addition, time can be saved by tailoring training sessions to each individual member of staff in order to focus only on the areas where further awareness or improvement is needed.
Just as onboarding tasks and processes can be tailored to individual workers so whole packages can be customized for different sectors. An effective onboarding process is also important for supply chain workers but, as in the hospitality sector, it is often overlooked due to time constraints.
Truck drivers spend long hours alone on the road, while in a noisy warehouse, workers engage more with machinery than with their managers. This can lead to a breakdown in communication and a lack of mutual understanding of workers’ experiences. Employers try to fix scheduling issues and lack of career progression with higher wages, when workers are really looking for ways to communicate their concerns and be listened to.
Throughout the onboarding process and beyond, regularly checking in on supply workers can give them a chance to voice any concerns while at the same time providing beneficial feedback to their employers. In the long-term, this can be a more efficient and cost-effective way to retain valuable employees and prevent high rates of staff turnover.
As well as simple in person solutions for better communication, the onboarding process can also be enhanced with advanced technology. In more tech-aware companies, virtual reality (VR) is already being used as an integral part of the introductory process for new employees.
In addition to being particularly useful for virtual office tours and staff training, the technology can help to create a more exciting experience for new IT and tech recruits and demonstrate a company’s innovative approach to management. As well as helping new recruits to settle in, virtual training activities from task simulations to serious games can help employers to discover more about their workers and evaluate particular work-based skills such as communication and decision making.
While some companies may be put off by the initial outlay required for VR technology, with the creation of accessible and reusable resources and training material, the use of VR could mean businesses save money on expensive live training sessions in the long term.
Across all sectors, effective onboarding is a valuable process to introduce, train and retain new staff. However, each industry is different and, from customized training plans for hospitality workers to regular check-ins with isolated remote workers, managers can tailor their onboarding packages to address specific areas of concern for their new employees.