Receiving a much-anticipated job offer can be the greatest feeling in the world for a candidate. The individual is often flattered to have been chosen by your team and even more excited to join your company, start their new role, and dive into fresh challenges. But as a hiring manager, your job isn’t done once an offer has been extended and accepted. In order to ensure that your new employee’s enthusiasm and engagement last well beyond the hiring process and their first weeks on the job, you’ll need to provide them with a positive and effective onboarding experience.
While the Human Resources department usually runs general new hire orientation sessions that share the company’s mission, vision, values, and culture with new employees, these sessions are often not tailored to an employee’s specific role. That’s where you need to step in as a hiring manager and, in some cases, this employee’s new manager.
In a report published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation, the philanthropic arm of SHRM, and authored by Talya Bauer, PhD, a distinguished professor of management and researcher at Portland State University in Oregon who specializes in new hire onboarding, recruitment, mentoring, and related topics, Bauer wrote that successful onboarding involves proactively covering the “Four C’s”: compliance, clarification, culture, and connection. In order to ensure that your employees are onboarded efficiently and successfully, you need to go over all of the Four C’s with new hires in their first few weeks at the company.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at how to build an effective employee onboarding experience, and how each of the Four C’s can positively impact the success of your new hires — and your team as a whole. With this knowledge and information, you’ll be able to refine your onboarding and orientation program to set your next class of new hires up for success.
The Four C’s — and What They Mean for the Success of Your New Hires
Whenever you onboard a new employee, you need to inform them about any legal regulations and internal policies that are relevant to their role. This can, of course, save your company from costly fines and penalties. But it can also do much more — like reduce the likelihood of fraud, waste, abuse, and unethical activity — whether deliberate or accidental. After all, if people don't know the rules, they might break them by accident, not out of bad intentions.
Whether these policies protect the physical safety of employees or the privacy of customer data, it’s essential to not only explain what they are but also why they matter. Articulating to new hires how their actions could potentially negatively impact colleagues or clients if policies and regulations aren’t adhered to will give newly hired employees a deeply rooted understanding of why these processes need to be maintained.
Why does compliance matter?
When your employees know what they need to do to follow crucial rules and regulations and why, they’ll be empowered to make wise, sound decisions in their role. It may be daunting for new hires to think about the potential negative consequences of their actions should they deviate from prescribed rules and regulations, but it can make them better, more thoughtful employees to learn all this information up front. Not to mention, proper compliance training can result in fewer workplace accidents, security breaches, and lawsuits for your company.
Your employees can’t know what’s expected of them if you don’t tell them, so be sure to provide clarity around responsibilities and performance expectations before a new hire dives into their new role. When you clearly communicate this information, your employees know exactly what’s expected of them and where they should focus their efforts from day one.
Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your new hire within a few days of their start date to review expectations and set goals. This will give your employee well-defined targets to work toward for the quarter or year. As their manager, you can even choose to create a 30-60-90 day plan for your new direct report to help guide them through their first few weeks and months at the company and make sure they’re spending their time on the right projects. Documenting these goals and assigning attainable metrics will allow you to measure the success of their efforts and enable your new hire to better understand how their work fits into the company’s overall performance.
Why does job clarification matter?
Clarification is the key to employee retention. When employees find themselves in a new role with little guidance and training, they can quickly grow frustrated and unengaged, which can prompt them to leave. A study by HR software company BambooHR found that 31% of people have actually quit a job within the first six months of their start date, with 17% of new hires leaving a job within their first month.
By clarifying for your new hires exactly what they should be working on and helping them set clear, measurable, and attainable goals, you’ll help guide their efforts and motivate them to perform their best, while also decreasing your company’s turnover rate. Plus, these goals allow your employees to understand how their individual efforts contribute to the overall performance of your team, department, and organization, which can help them understand the meaning, scale, and impact of their work.
A critical part of new hire orientation is introducing your new hires to your workplace culture. This should involve a rundown of everything they need to know about your company, department, and team. You’ll want to explain what your team does, go over your company’s org chart, give them a tour of the workplace, get them access to any resources and platforms your team uses, show them how to view their pay stubs or request paid time off (PTO), add them to relevant Slack channels, and do any other necessary tasks that will formally or informally help them adjust to their new role.
Why does culture matter?
Your company’s culture impacts every aspect of your business — from how work gets done to how employees treat one another. Ensuring your employees understand what your organization’s culture looks like in practice is a key component of new hire orientation, but you also want to remind them that the culture is always changing. Your company culture should never push people to conform, but rather to think outside the box, be creative, and find new ways to collaborate and overcome challenges. Fostering a strong culture that values respect, inclusion, and openness can allow each of your employees to find their place within your organization and grow both personally and professionally. This kind of work environment can keep employees engaged, motivated, productive, and loyal from their first day to their last day with your company.
Lastly, you’ll need to help your new employees develop meaningful and lasting relationships within your organization. This step is arguably the hardest as it takes time and effort to form strong relationships and can be more difficult when employees are remote. To start, organize meet-and-greet meetings for your direct report and their teammates, cross-functional colleagues, and key collaborators. Have individuals introduce themselves, as well as explain their roles, how they expect to work alongside your new hire, and any resources or policies the new hire should know about. Be sure to invite your new employee to any relevant team and department meetings so they can continue to get to know their colleagues in these settings, too.
Another way to help your employee meet new people outside of your team is to find them a new hire buddy from another department in the organization, or suggest they participate in any internal mentoring programs your company offers. If your new hire is remote, have them keep an ear out for other coworkers who live in their area and encourage them to attend regional company events to meet nearby colleagues.
Why does connection matter?
Employees who feel connected to their colleagues are more engaged than those who aren’t. Gallup research published in 2018 found that women who have a best friend at work are better performers, less likely to look for a new job, and more likely to take risks that could lead to innovation than their coworkers without close work friendships.
Unfortunately, a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of asynchronous video messaging company Volley found that seven out of 10 employees feel more isolated since switching to remote work, and 63% feel less connected to their team. As a hiring manager, finding new, fun, and creative ways for your team members to come together and get to know each other — despite the limitations caused by the pandemic — is key to building a tight-knit team. Getting to know teammates can help new hires build trust with their colleagues, collaborate more effectively with their team members, and find purpose and fulfillment in their new roles.
While Bauer’s Four C’s of onboarding provides a powerful framework you can use to build an effective onboarding program, it’s important to remember that no organization is the same. Depending on your organization, team, and the new hire’s role, your onboarding process might need to look a little different.
One way to ensure that your new hire orientation covers everything your newest employees need to know is to use new hire onboarding surveys. These surveys allow you to collect feedback and suggestions from your new employees so you can build an even better onboarding program. Want to see Lattice’s onboarding surveys in action? Schedule a demo today and get one step closer to creating a better employee experience for your new hires — and a more engaged and loyal workforce for your company.