How to Optimise Onboarding After the Pandemic |

In a new report, 80% of HR professionals identified hiring as a business challenge, beyond being a priority for HR alone (Lighthouse Research). With so much emphasis on recruitment in the current labour shortage, it’s surprising how little attention is paid to onboarding.

Effective onboarding is one of the keys to avoiding high churn in the first few months of employment, boosting retention by as much as 82% (Forbes). Onboarding can also increase employee performance by as much as 11% (SHRM). So, what are the keys to effective onboarding?

Alignment with line management

Research by Gallup shows that the effectiveness of an onboarding program is largely contingent on the line manager's active involvement in the process. When the manager participates in the new recruit’s onboarding, employees are 3.4 times as likely to feel the process was successful (SHRM).

You can help your managers support new starters with a Workplace Personality assessment, which measures new hires’ degree of conscientiousness, among other traits. Learning how self-motivated new recruits are to achieve goals and overcome difficulties equips managers to pitch onboarding activities at the right level to maximise employees’ natural motivation.

Effective stress management

A Totem survey of 1000 employees found that anxiety occupies much of the mental capacity of new joiners. 57% of new joiners felt anxious the day before starting their new role, rather than confident. 29% were most concerned about meeting expectations, and 22% about meeting new colleagues. Although some stress can boost performance, excessive stress negatively impacts performance and wellbeing.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) assessments will show where an individual’s stress will manifest and how they are likely to respond under pressure. Especially helpful for senior hires and high-pressure roles, Emotional Intelligence assessments can be invaluable tools for developing the self-awareness that builds resilience.

In-role autonomy

Creativity is linked with 9 of the top 10 skills that global executives say are essential for the future (World Economic Forum). 60% of respondents believe internal employees to be the most important partners in delivering people-powered innovation (PwC). Yet a Gallup survey of 16,500 employees found that just 35% of workers are given a chance to stay creative at work.

A new recruit’s integration with other team members also has a major impact on engagement. Diverse teams have been shown to be more innovative and successful than homogenous ones (HBR). A Teams audit shows the distribution of personality styles in a group, helping to bridge differences and convert them into innovations that deliver value for your business.

Psychological safety

A study of Slack engineers uncovered a need for greater psychological support among new recruits, who needed to overcome anxiety in order to be able to learn effectively and confidently take ownership of their new role. Yet despite the clear need for psychological safety among new recruits, a McKinsey survey conducted during the pandemic showed that only a handful of business leaders often demonstrate the positive behaviours that create psychological safety for their workforce.

Providing Emotional Intelligence (EI) assessments for new recruits can help to tap into the value of vulnerability by making it safe to acknowledge emotional challenge. EI assessments reflect an individual’s ability to manage the emotions of themselves and others. They can then act as a guide for improved anxiety management, helping to instil psychological safety in your organisation.

Efficient task allocation

The past few years have brought changes that were unthinkable until they disrupted business forever. Clearly, the way that we onboard employees needs to change too. Yet just as individuals have adjusted differently to the disruption, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all' approach to onboarding. Where some employees want highly structured onboarding, other roles and behavioural profiles work better within flexible, evolving processes.

At a time of acute skills shortage, you want to know which of your candidates have the potential to onboard successfully, learn the required skills quickly, and steer your organisation to greater heights. Aptitude assessments show how quickly someone can adapt to new situations, drive change and add value to your organisation. They look at speed and accuracy in areas such as problem solving, error detection and verbal reasoning, helping you allocate tasks effectively.

Appropriate incentivisation

People are motivated and incentivised by different things. Organisations and managers need to be able to harness the competitive drive of one employee, whilst helping more extroverted new hires to build rapport with colleagues, for instance. Alignment on the ‘psychological contract’ between employer and employee is as important as negotiating the right package, except that this negotiation takes place over the duration of an employee’s onboarding.

An Employee Engagement assessment can help you to understand trends and patterns of engagement, along with the spread of management styles in your organisation. This can be a useful starting point for re-evaluating employee recognition and reward schemes. Engagement assessments also identify issues that may be impacting productivity and wellbeing that could contribute to employee churn. These insights can be especially helpful for organisations looking to incentivise their people in the wake of the pandemic.

For more help optimising your company’s onboarding process, download our guide to Effective Onboarding today.