Millennials entering the labor market have high expectations. They want to find meaning in their professional life, to be fulfilled, autonomous and responsible. Companies then, however big or small, need to think about how they can optimize the employee’s experience from day one of the hiring process, lower new hire rates and above all, focus on the integration of the new co-worker into the team. Although the coining of the word onboarding dates back to the beginning of the 1990s, this approach has never been as widespread and popular as now. We take a closer look at this practice, the new imperative in the recruitment process.
What is onboarding?
Onboarding refers to the period from the beginning of the recruiting process until the new employee or tale has fully adjusted to the new company. A term that originated in the United States, onboarding encompasses all of the HR processes that allow new recruits to become an integral part of the company. This integration phase is the decisive moment to involve every employee, generating motivation and autonomy. A successful onboarding program creates loyalty and generates opportunities for talent management, increasing the engagement of the new hire and the chance of retaining talent in the company on a more permanent basis.
The mobility of the younger generation of millennials means that HR professionals and hiring managers are increasingly compelled to redesign the way they work and the way they hire. HR departments understand that to engage and retain employees, they need to develop a plan of action, a training program and certification that work effectively over the long term, encouraging employee engagement as well as talent acquisition and retention.
How can an onboarding program be implemented?
A study published in the Academy of Management Journal, based on 264 new employees, confirms that the first 90 days are essential for successful integration. The first months are the time to “bring on board” and to train new recruits. Solid support and good practices ensure that new hires quickly get up to speed in the workplace ; so that they can be autonomous and effective even as soon as the first few weeks on the job. Pointers for successful onboarding include:
- Using reverse scheduling to prevent dashing the expectations of a newcomer. A half-finished workstation and a shortage of personnel available for welcoming or training, for example, are sources of frustration for a new recruit.
- Transmitting corporate culture is particularly important for Generation Y who expects the company culture to correspond to their personal values. Think of the practice of mentoring which facilitates the creation of an emotional bond and strengthens team spirit. Millennials are very motivated by such initiatives. Coaching goes further to transmit the methodology and the know-how of the company itself.
- Increasing the feeling of belonging in order to develop team spirit requires a great deal of commitment from the company but is essential for improving the atmosphere in the workplace. Team building is key in a firm for strengthening cohesion among colleagues.
- Starting onboarding from day one. Why wait until the new hire is officially a member of the team? Onboarding can start as early as the transition period between their old job and the new one ; increasing the motivation of the new employee to join the team and helping them to be less nervous when they arrive. Thereby facilitating their integration and allowing them to adapt with ease.
How can digital natives be successfully onboarded?
First of all, it is important to understand what millennials want. The birth of digital transformation and the use of digital tools means that digital natives need autonomy. Rather than going to a supervisor, they are used to searching on the Internet to get the information they need. If they can solve a problem by themselves, they will. Autonomy and trust are vital for the professional fulfillment of the digital native.
- Allow them to be a contributor to their own onboarding. Define tasks together and give them the freedom and the responsibility to manage their own tasks.
- Encourage knowledge-sharing and knowledge improvement. For 56 % of millennials, work should be above all “the development of knowledge and skills”.
- Think digital. The quasi-permanent use of digital technologies by digital natives has meant that companies have had to adapt to this new environment with digital transformation and digitalization. Whatever the core business of an organization ; the use of management software has become all but compulsory to be able to work with agility. Generation Y has the skills and capabilities necessary to work effectively in this environment.
- Give meaning to their place in the company. They need to know the purpose of their assignments ; the relevance of their post and the potential impact of their work.