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on May 07, 2016 Culture Onboarding

How Company Culture is Built Through Employee Onboarding

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If you look at the market leader in your industry, more likely than not - they have an enviable company culture.

What’s less obvious is that the success and continuity of successful company culture depends heavily on the success of Human Resources teams in one thing - effective employee onboarding.

It’s no secret that your organization benefits from attracting and retaining top talent. However, onboarding is the first opportunity to build trust and alignment with new employees.

Effective employee onboarding helps new hires get warmed up and hit the ground running. They can be anxious, excited, and eager to make a difference, but without an effective onboarding program that provides the resources and tools they need to ramp-up, they can end up stagnating — failing to meet their own productivity goals in the first few months.

A company culture that supports early Employee Experience success is something that every Human Resources team would love to have - so, how do we get there?

Communicate the Mission, Vision and Values

If you want new employees to embody the company’s mission, vision and values, you have to show them what that looks like.

There is no better time to communicate these elements than during the employee onboarding process.

Netflix does a great job at this with its cultural diversity and inclusiveness resources that communicate Netflix’s values and what makes them unique.

Netflix

New employees are eager to learn and find their place within the organization. One of the things that we’ve seen most employees concerned about is clarity of the company’s long term mission.

A recent, growing trend has been through leveraging employee onboarding portals that showcase the company’s mission, vision, and values alongside welcome notes and an introduction to their future peers.

Getting this type of material in the right digestible format that can be accessed by new recruits long before they commence their work gives them time to incubate the key company messaging and grow connected to their new company.

Showcase the Culture

How do you want your employees to feel about the company culture from the get-go?

There’s no doubt that employees are more likely to invest themselves personally in a company’s success if they feel aligned with the organization, and that starts by understanding it.

You can help new hires get a clear understanding of what the company culture is by showcasing it during the employee onboarding process.

HubSpot does this by publishing its culture manifesto and board meeting notes online.

Hubspot

This practice and embodiment of transparency is paying off in employee retention and success - the San Francisco based company has a Glassdoor ranking of 4.6, a figure that is far beyond the industry average.

Give New Employees Clear Goals

Without clear and transparent goals for their role, there can be no ‘true-north’ for new employees.

In today’s fast-paced world, getting employees ramped-up and focused on their personal employee game-plan should start before the new employee’s first day. It would be best if they arrive at the office already knowing what’s happening, the names of their peers, their goals, and fully-aligned with the company’s success.

Communicating the goals of their role during the employee onboarding process will help new hires gear their efforts towards achieving them.

These insights will help them calibrate their productive efforts around the company’s core objectives even before explicit direction from management.

Most new employees tend to fear asking these questions aloud for fear of appearing as if they don’t know why they joined - dont make the onboarding mistake of making them ask the basic questions. A good onboarding program should answer most of them without ambiguity.

Engage Multiple Departments with Effective Collaboration

Employee Communication

Effective employee onboarding involves welcoming a new member into the community of employees and stakeholders.

As such, the process should bring multiple departments to work together - exemplifying the broader framework of company success with multiple teams working together.

In a bigger organization, managers and VPs should find integrated onboarding solutions that handle every aspect of the company’s HR functions - whether it’s Google Analytics access, Swipe passes, company swag, or email login credentials.

There are big easy wins with basic orientation, such as showing them organizational charts, providing company swag, writing a welcome note, and ensuring that they have the hardware they need.

Thankfully, this should be much less challenging. You can use employee onboarding portals and workflow tools to facilitate the tasks and communication between departments.

Support Them To Find Answers to All Their Questions

New employees will always bring a full gambit of new and recurring questions, and they may feel uncomfortable asking all of them - but you can create an atmosphere that encourages them to speak up, and will give you insight on how you can improve the process.

Informed employees are generally happy employees, and that is what you support when you invest the time and resources into creating the right environment of knowledge sharing and development.

It sets new employees on their path to success. Needless to say, successful employees translate to the success of the business.

Investing in Employee Compensation vs Employee Culture

Giving employees a great onboarding experience supports a culture of employees willing to offer the same courtesy to those who will come into the organization after them.

This virtuous cycle of warm, effective employee onboarding will continually encourage new hires to hit the ground running and limit anxiety, fear, and ramp-up time.

Depending on the amount of time, focus, and investment in the process, an onboarding program can make or break the company culture, and research shows that company culture is far more important than compensation. 

Importance of Culture Culture Drives Employment Brand: Source: Liz Pellet, Fellow, Johns Hopkins University

 The way 21st century organizations scale their company cultures will always depend on their foundation, which is built in the employee onboarding process.

Employee onboarding can go a long way in building the foundations for scalable employee success. Interested in learning more?

Download the Sapling Guide to Employee Onboarding Success or sign up for a free demo today.blog_banner.png

Andy Crebar

Andy Crebar is a Co-Founder of Sapling, which helps companies use Employee Onboarding to amplify their total Employee Experience (‘EX’). He is passionate about people, self awareness and self improvement.