A solid onboarding employee onboarding keeps talent, and even can help attract new quality employees. Poor employee experience is likely the root of more bad customer experiences than are measured by most organizations.  After decades in the industry, we have seen this countless times.  So, we have devoted this space to a series of articles about #EmployeeExperience – taking a deep dive into topics like tools, training, work environment, culture, and more.  This is the third in our series.  Last month, we talked about how The Right Tools are Critical to Employee Experience.

“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer.  I think you build one with your employees first.”
-Angela Ahrendts, former SVP at Apple, Inc.

The First Day of School…

Want to know what it feels like to be a new employee?  Flash back to those first days of school – elementary school, middle school, high school, college – it doesn’t matter – you know the feeling.  From wondering who you would sit with at lunch, to how you would find your next class, to whether you would be able to remember your locker combination.  There was just so much to figure out.  Imagine trying to navigate all of this within the virtual environment so many employees find themselves in today.

Getting employee onboarding right is critical to your #EmployeeExperience and to the bottom line of your business.  According to a study from the Boston Consulting Group – companies with effective onboarding strategies are 22% more profitable than their less engaged counterparts.  Further, a study done by Wynhurst Group (an HR consulting firm) found that 58% of employees who undergo a comprehensive onboarding process are more likely to work for that company for at least three years.  And, finally, research suggests 20% of new hires leave within the first 45 days of new employment.  This last statistic is probably even higher in customer-facing roles.  In the contact center, it is not uncommon to have >100% annual turnover rate.  The question is, can you afford not to provide your employees with a comprehensive onboarding program?

Employee Onboarding is More Than Paperwork

A good onboarding program helps new employees to quickly navigate through your organization, build a solid foundation, and get productive.  When you contemplate onboarding, you might picture a big stack of paperwork to complete – albeit a virtual stack.

Let’s revisit that first day of school – do you think completing any amount of paperwork would have helped to alleviate those first-day jitters?  And, if paperwork is what you pictured first, you are not alone.  58% of companies say their onboarding process is focused on processes and paperwork.  While paperwork is certainly a necessary part of the onboarding process, it’s every bit as important to address the intangibles of why employees stick around.

“Engaged employees are highly involved and enthusiastic about their work and workplace.  They are psychological ‘owners,’ drive performance and innovation, and move the organization forward.”
-Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace

Establishing Culture and Connection

The very basic intangible of an effective onboarding practice is helping new employees meet and get to know other members of the team – whether those introductions are in-person or virtual.  One of the biggest reasons people stay with an organization is because of the connections they make with their co-workers and managers.

Manager and other team leaders should make an extra effort to reach out to newbies as much as possible during the onboarding process.  A cool practice I heard of recently was “lunch roulette.”  Sound intriguing?  Employees volunteer to go to a company-sponsored lunch with a random co-worker.  After the lunch, employees share their experience with the rest of the team.  If you have a virtual team, make this an online lunch.

Your onboarding practices should quickly help new employee understand the culture and standard practices within your organization.  At the micro-level who they would talk to if they had an IT issue, or a payroll issue, or an issue with their insurance.  On a more macro level, new employees need to be informed of the goals of your organization and how their work contributes to those overall goals. You might consider pairing a new employee with a more tenured “buddy” who could answer specific questions and offer support to a new employee.

Tackling Technology

You also need to address technology with new employees early in the onboarding process.  With so many communication channels – like Slack, Microsoft Teams, sales automation software notifications, email, video conferencing, text messaging, phone calls and more, it could be easy for a new team member to get lost in a communications maze.  A friend of mine, who recently started a position at a mid-size software company, expressed how overwhelmed he felt in the first couple of weeks with all the various Slack channels he was enrolled.  It’s vitally important to establish with new hires the most appropriate and reliable communication channels for specific situations.

You also need to inform new team members about what technology will be required in their position and whether you will be providing it to them.  For example, it’s likely if you run a contact center, you will be expecting new employees to use a headset.  If this is not something you provide, you need to provide new employees with suggestions for models, features, or other requirements to purchase on their own.  The onboarding process is also a great time to identify any technology knowledge gaps a new team member may have and offer the appropriate training.

Developing Employees

A critical part of employee onboarding and continued engagement is learning and development – and this is especially true in the contact center.  There is a direct correlation between employee turnover, and lack of engagement to poor training, professional development, and coaching.

92% of employees say learning something new on the job motivates them and makes them feel more engaged in their work.  And, more than 1 in 3 employees in the U.S. also say they would leave a job if they weren’t offered training to help them.  By providing your employees with proper onboarding, professional development, and career advancement, you are ensuring both improved #EX and #CX, reduced attrition, and increased profits.  Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we will take a deeper dive into employee training.

If we haven’t yet convinced you that developing an outstanding onboarding practice keeps talent engaged as is a critical strategy, consider this statistic from Josh Bersin of Deloitte.  He believes that a lost employee can cost an organization 1.5 – 2.0 times the employee’s annual salary.  This cost is attributed to recruitment, the onboarding process, the ramp up to peak productivity, higher error rates, the impact on the organization’s culture, and the loss of engagement.  You can greatly reduce that turnover rate by simply delivering a great onboarding experience.

Have questions about onboarding employees in the contact center?  Send us a message or schedule a call.  We’d love to chat!