Leveraging Your Onboarding Program to Create Accountability

Accountability Meets Onboarding

We’ve been orienting new hires for decades. Over time, HR Professionals have seen the value of shifting from orientation and paperwork necessities to developing a comprehensive onboarding plan that decreases the new hire learning curve and creates immediate engagement within organizations.

Strong onboarding programs include HR follow up.  We routinely meet with our new hires in the first six months to ensure the new hire has successfully acclimated to our culture, all our tools are working properly, productivity is rising, training is on track, and we have the same high level of enthusiasm we had during interview process. 

After all, the person is still with us – so what more is there to do?

Successful organizations seek out and leverage data wherever they can get it.  Onboarding programs are commonly measured through retention and turnover statistics, breaking down the data based on date of hire, department and direct manager.  With turnover we do exit interviews in the hope we can learn where we can improve with our next new hire. We also do “Stay Interviews” to help retain employees and learn what’s important to them to be sure they have everything they need. 

Turnover data, exit interviews, and stay interviews are great sources of information that help spot trends and head off broader issues in our workforce. Except when things start to fall apart, we may only hear recency concerns without realizing that it started back as early as the new hire’s first few days. If we don’t measure our onboarding program, how can we be sure we didn’t inadvertently create a negative impression in the first few weeks? 

Consider the questions we ask in our new hire check-ins. Are your questions similar to “how are things going” or do they have real substance? Have we created a dialogue about important, business-related topics so the new hire creates a connection? Did they learn and feel included from day one?

Challenge your new hires and your managers on day one.  Every new hire gets a notebook and is encouraged to take notes on everything they learn in their first 90 days. Include in the onboarding packet a meeting schedule and invite them to have an open dialogue. At each of these meetings, the new hire is required to ask:

  1. From your perspective, what makes a person successful at our company?
  2. What are your 3 favorite reasons for working here?
  3. What are the top 3 initiatives your team is working on over the next 6 months?
  4. In my role as X, what can I do to support your department’s success?

Now the hiring managers have an opportunity to start meaningful discussions with the new hire and tie back department objectives to what the new hire learned! Your new hire becomes engaged right from day one – with solid answers from these key questions that opened up a business dialogue.

Strong HR Leaders don’t settle for “it’s working okay we have other things to tackle”. There are always opportunities to up our game. Challenge your onboarding process and elevate it from good to great!