Onboarding is one of the most crucial steps of the hiring process. As new hires make the transition from candidate to employee, the actions the company takes during this phase can help set the stage for a long tenure with the company. Studies show that an effective onboarding strategy leads to higher job satisfaction, organisational commitment, decreased turnover, and better performance.
Given these advantages, one may wonder why more companies don’t invest time and resources to create a robust onboarding experience. Overall, 35% of companies don’t spend anything on onboarding, missing a significant opportunity to engage their newest employees at the beginning. Another thing companies get wrong with onboarding is viewing it as a transactional, one-time event in which the new hires spend their first few days filling out forms or sitting in on training sessions. Instead, onboarding should be a months-long process whereby new hires are actively immersed in the organisation and its culture and processes. One of the best ways to do this is through the use of mentorships; by creating mentorship models through strategic scheduling, the company can pair new hires with more experienced employees, ensuring they become engaged and productive from day one.
WorkForce Software’s 2014-2015 Trend Survey showed that the use of mentorships is a leading trend in new hire best practices. This trend has grown especially in the manufacturing sector, with 75% of survey respondents from the industry reporting the use of such programmes. The healthcare and financial services industries also report strong use of the mentorship model, at 69% and 62% respectively. Not only does it help to create a more welcoming experience, but it also gives new hires the skills they need to be successful from day one, while enabling companies to pass the knowledge and expertise of their most experienced workers on to the next generation of employees.
So what benefits can your organisation expect from including mentorships as part the onboarding experience? Consider the following advantages of pairing novice employees with their more experienced colleagues:
Deliver on-the-job training
While many organisations provide employees with training and development, this is typically in the form of classroom-based courses or independent learning initiatives. While helpful, employees rarely learn everything they need for career success through these methods. On-the-job training can fill those gaps, providing new employees with the skills and knowledge they need to excel. This is especially important in industries such as manufacturing and healthcare, where even the smallest mistakes can lead to life-threatening situations. Scheduling new hires to work alongside a mentor will accelerate learning and expose those individuals to all aspects of their work, while working under a mentor who can guide them through their early days on the job.
Facilitate knowledge transfer
The most senior members of your staff have a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise. Once they leave, they bring that in-depth knowledge of the company and its processes with them. This is a pressing concern for many organisations, especially as baby boomers continue to retire in large numbers. Without a process for capturing their expertise and passing it on to the next generation, their knowledge can be lost forever. By creating a system where those experienced workers are scheduled to work with the newest hires, companies can make sure that their knowledge is transferred to future leaders.
Enhancing Safety and Security
Implementing a mentorship programme is crucial not just in helping new hires become productive from the beginning, but it can also lead to increased safety and security. When the newest members of your team are scheduled to work alongside more experienced colleagues, it will help ensure that safety procedures are given the seriousness they deserve. Rather than just reading about these policies, they can see firsthand how to comply. This is particularly important in industries like manufacturing and healthcare, where insufficient attention to safety can have drastic consequences. For other industries, such as financial services, scheduling new employees to work under the guidance of veteran colleagues will help those newer workers better understand security protocols, helping to ensure that client data is protected at all times.
A Commitment to Onboarding Success
To onboard a new hire effectively, it is important to ensure they are actively engaged from their first day and equipped with the knowledge to be productive and impactful. This entails viewing onboarding not as a checklist of forms to fill out but as a continuous process that lasts long beyond their first day. With a robust mentorship programme that partners new employees with more experienced ones, not only will they come up to speed more quickly, but they’ll also benefit from working under the guidance of a company veteran who can show them firsthand what it takes to be successful.
However, simply assigning a new hire to a more experienced colleague and expecting them to connect on their own will not work. Instead, companies must take the lead – through scheduling – to ensure that the two parties work side by side, facilitating the knowledge transfer that will transform those new hires into productive, long-term employees. To achieve this, robust scheduling technology is essential. By automating the scheduling process, the company can build a successful mentorship programme that ensures new hires work alongside their mentors, leading to a more effective and successful onboarding experience.