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Effective Employee Onboarding (The Complete Guide)

Effective Employee Onboarding (The Complete Guide)
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Acquiring and retaining customers for a business is difficult, but that’s never going to happen if a business can’t hold onto dedicated employees who want to be there. Imagine that your talent recruiter has spent weeks, possibly even months tracking down and interviewing the right candidates, then after they finally accept your job offer, they quit just two months later. Ouch. That’s a lot of wasted time and money.

On average, companies spend over $4,000 hiring for a new position, and without an effective employee onboarding process, that money can go to waste.

Before we dive into how to build an employee onboarding strategy that will prevent your business’ new hires from jumping ship, let’s first lay out what onboarding is. You might think it’s simply a few hours of new employee orientation, but it’s actually a lot more and should weave in the company’s values, culture, and people, along with all that new hire paperwork.

Here’s why your business should place a top priority on building effective employee onboarding and how to do so. Trust us, this will only make every aspect of your business more successful down the line.

Why an Employee Onboarding Strategy Matters

It’s a startling statistic for businesses, but one-third of new employees quit their jobs within six months of being hired. If you hire 12 new employees over the course of a year at a cost of $4k each, that’s a potential loss of $16,000!

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A business that works to improve upon their employee onboarding procedure is more likely to buck that trend, meanwhile, a company that struggles with welcoming their new hires is going to take an even harder hit.

There’s more than just the cost of losing new hires that factors into why good employee retention practices are important. Think back to a job you loved and a job you hated. It probably didn’t take too long to decide whether it was a place you enjoyed working or loathed, right? Maybe a week or month at the most probably. Most people know whether or not they want to stay at a company for the long-run within the first week and this is where a good onboarding experience can make all the difference.

Nearly 50 percent of new employees want a better onboarding experience, and a positive start as a new hire makes people almost 69 percent more likely to stay with a company for three years or more.

Steps to Build into Your Employee Onboarding Process

A strong employee onboarding process is going to start before the new hire’s first day, and should really begin soon after they accept the position.

1. Make the Employee Feel Welcomed

Communication is key and the HR department should keep in regular contact with the new employee to let them know they’re being welcomed aboard early on.

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One of the dreaded, but necessary parts of any onboarding process is going to be… *dun, *dun, *dun, the paperwork. Rather than welcoming a new hire on their first day by trying to bury them up to their neck in paperwork, send over as much a possible ahead of time. This not only will help the new employee to get started sooner on the job they were hired to do, but will allow them to tackle the necessary forms at their own pace.

Oh, and because we’re living in the 21st century, why is your business still using actual paper for the paperwork? A paperless onboarding system that utilizes an electronic signature not only will save money but save somebody from a sore wrist.

When that first day of work for a new employee finally rolls around, they should feel welcomed from the second they step foot in the building. Let everyone else in the office know ahead of time that a new person will be joining the team and encourage them to say hello. The last thing a new hire wants is to be wandering around the office on the first day and be met with the puzzled faces of other employees who have no idea who this new person is.

2. Prep Your Employee’s Desk

Prepping your employee’s desk before they roll in on their first day might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how many companies scramble to put a desk together while a new employee waits awkwardly. Having their workspace ready to go with the necessary items speaks volumes about an onboarding process and shows that a company takes them seriously as a new employee.

3. One-on-One Meeting with Manager

One of the most important aspects for an effective employee onboarding strategy is one-on-one time with direct managers. A recent LinkedIn survey of 14,000 professionals found that 96 percent said that spending one-on-one time with their direct manager early on was an important part of the onboarding process.[1]

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This dramatically shortens the learning curve of a new employee because it allows them and their managers to set expectations and goals early on. Developing a positive rapport with supervisors at the very beginning of a new employee’s time on the job results in greater job satisfaction, performance, and upward growth.

4. Help the Employee Bond Better with Others

When DFY Links’ CEO, Charles Float, started his company, he made sure to build a team where new hires were introduced and forced to collaborate with veteran employees. This strategy helps to build a tighter employee culture in the company and results in stronger business overall. It also improves knowledge sharing, which further improved productivity and scalability.

5. Clear Job Guidelines for the Employee

Every new job comes with some uncertainty for new employees and according to the LinkedIn survey, properly understanding job duties, procedures, and goals was the second most important part of the onboarding process. Developing a thorough job training platform that creates a direct path for an employee to turn to should they have questions, will lead to greater job performance.

This means not only guiding an employee on how to do their job, but teaching them of its importance and how it fits into the overall goals of the organization. This is particularly true with millennial workers; 64 percent of them said they would rather work at a job they enjoy that pays $40,000 a year than one they hate that pays $100k.

Bring your employees into the big picture and why their position matters. Introduce them to the duties of others in the organization and how the tasks they’ll be working on is related to the jobs of other employees. This sort of all-encompassing way of explaining their job duties in the onboarding process can go a long way towards making them feel they made the right choice in accepting the job offer.

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6. Check-in with the Employee Regularly

An effective employee onboarding strategy doesn’t simply take place the first day or the first week, but should stretch out. New employees are bombarded with so much information during the first few days that it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. HR team members should periodically check in with them during the first month to check if they have any questions or feedback on the onboarding process itself.

Are they happy with the work and do they feel as if they’re part of the company culture? Lack of a good fit with the culture of a company results in a high overturn of new employees, so taking steps to bring them into the fold can dramatically improve employee retainment.

Final Thoughts

Take a look inward at your own business’ employee onboarding procedure and look for ways that it can be improved upon.

Not every tactic is going to be right for every business, but winning over a new hire early on will go a long way towards their success and your business’ success down the road.

More About Team Management

Featured photo credit: You X Ventures via unsplash.com

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Reference

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Chris Porteous

The CEO of Grey Smoke Media / My SEO Sucks, helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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