The 4 Main Tips for Optimizing Onboarding and Employee Retention Strategies

August 11, 2023

By Aspen Christopher
There are a wide range of ways that employees might recognize each other and their efforts. These can take a variety of forms and focus on both work (e.g., appreciation for collaborative team efforts) and personal (e.g., recognizing anniversaries, birthdays, and other life moments) recognition events.

While some peer-to-peer recognition likely occurs organically in most organizations, it’s not something that should be left to chance. Being proactive in encouraging employees to recognize each other and providing them the avenues to do so easily and seamlessly can produce real benefits.

Far too many companies overlook employee onboarding. While getting your new hires started in their new positions may seem straightforward, your employee onboarding process is actually the first step in retaining your workers.

A positive onboarding experience can help new hires get off to a fast start and quickly reach high productivity levels. By making the employee onboarding process a comprehensive introduction to the company, you’re much more likely to increase your retention rates.

Of course, improving your onboarding process requires thinking about what’s most important for new hires, emphasizing how the company plans to invest in their future, and how they can best be of service to their employers. Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind during employee onboarding.

Be Ready Before Your New Hires Step into the Building

Nothing is more dispiriting as a hire than to feel like your new company has forgotten about you. As the onboarders, you should be ready to welcome your new hires and provide them with everything they need to fully function in their new workplace. In addition, you should be communicating with new hires before their first day. That way, they can fill out all required paperwork and supply you with the necessary information, before they walk through that door.

Here are some of the things you should have prepared before new workers arrive for their first day:

  • Parking passes and information
  • Security cards or badges
  • A workspace, including a computer and, if necessary, a phone
  • A clear agenda for the first day
  • A welcome message from the CEO

Of course, this is just a list of the basics. You may also have some freebies that you distribute to employees, like coffee mugs or t-shirts. A swag bag on an employee’s desk can go a long way to making them feel welcome.

Set up a Buddy System for New Hires

Few things can be as nerve-wracking as your first day at a different company. There’s a good chance that you won’t know anyone on your team, and with the rush of new information, it can be overwhelming.

There are two solutions to help calm these nerves, which can work hand-in-hand. First, try and schedule new hires to arrive in groups. By onboarding groups instead of individuals, your new hires will be able to make some new contacts and share the experience of joining the company with others.

More important, though, is the culture buddy. Every new hire should be paired with an existing employee. These process buddies can help ease the onboarding experience, provide support, and answer questions to everything, such as the company culture, employee recognition training, or even the best places to grab lunch nearby.

Introduce Employees to the Company’s Mission and Values

The simple step of ensuring that your new hire is familiar with your company’s mission and values is also one of the most underutilized. Companies simply gloss over their overall mission in many cases, assuming that employees will either read it on their own or pick it up as they go about their business.

Establishing these facets of your company early in an employee’s tenure can create a set of guiding principles. By emphasizing the company’s mission and values initially, you build a foundation for that employee’s journey with the company. That will make it much more likely that your new hires will fit within the company culture and will be less likely to seek work elsewhere.

Emphasize Professional Development Efforts

Few elements are more critical to employee retention than professional development. When you invest in an employee’s ongoing learning, you’re also showing them that you’re invested in them as well. This can go a long way to building a solid relationship between the company and the employee.

By making this point early on in the process, you can help your employees start setting their own development goals. Goal setting is a powerful tool for motivating employees, and when those goals are vested in their own personal interests, they become even more effective. And when paired with an employee recognition program, goals become one of the single most valuable tools for improving your retention rates.

Employee Recognition Training

Many factors lead employees to leave a company, but one of the most common refrains from departing workers is that they didn’t feel they received recognition for their work. This disappointment can cause employees to disengage, and disengagement is usually a first step toward looking for other work.

Employee recognition programs are excellent tools that make it convenient and straightforward to provide your employees with a feeling of appreciation and respect. The best recognition programs offer you several ways to show your employees your gratitude for their work, from a personalized message from their direct manager or the CEO to physical commemorative items, like plaques or framed certificates.

By making employee recognition training a part of your onboarding process, you not only indicate that your company has a program in place that will recognize their contributions, but you also highlight the value of recognizing the work of others, as well. Your onboarding should teach your employees how your recognition program works and how they can recognize and celebrate their peers, as well.

If your company is looking to improve its employee retention, Inspirus can help inspire your employees and reduce employee turnover with a recognition program that works!