Employee engagement is defined by the level of enthusiasm and commitment one has to their work and their employer. Unfortunately, this is tough to find. Recognize these warning signs and use these tips to drive employee engagement by increasing enthusiasm and commitment.

A Gallup survey in April 2016 found that 33 percent of employees consider themselves engaged. With such a staggering majority of disengaged workers, it’s time to start cultivating engagement. This starts as soon as an offer letter is signed or a contract is finalized. When candidates become employees, companies need to bring them in with a strong onboarding process.


Know What a Bad Onboarding Process Looks Like

Based on a December 2015 ADP study, 91 percent of managers, 81 percent of HR administrators, and 75 percent of employers surveyed believe their organization does not do onboarding well.

A bad onboarding process can be costly, potentially leading to poor performance and high turnover, and it may look something like this.

A new hire says hello to a confused secretary, who scrambles to find someone in the office. When they return, the HR representative rushes a handshake and brings them through the busy hallways and office space to a quiet boardroom.

He sits the new hire down and starts a slideshow, hands him a packet of paperwork, and offers a bottle of water on his way out the door. Later in the day, the new hire is moved to an empty cubicle, struggling to get ahold of the IT support team to set up his email and login information. He finishes his day frantic to find a moment to scarf his lunch before the HR representative comes by to walk him out.

The new employee feels like he’s unwelcomed since he is treated as just another item on HR’s to-do list.


Build Solutions for Improving Engagement

The onboarding process is a celebration, not a dull administrative task. The point of onboarding is to get new hires acquainted, and inform them about the company’s values, mission, vision, and history. New employees should leave their first day feeling excited about their new journey and engaged in their work.

Here are some tips on creating a meaningful employee onboarding experience:


Make Them Feel Valued

In a 2015 North American workforce report by Learnkit, 89 percent of respondents feel it is important their employers support their learning and development, and 53 percent of people admit they would like their job more if they had better training.

People value an organization willing to invest in their professional development, and onboarding is a huge step for the company to illustrate how much they care for their staff.

Trainers should demonstrate their excitement in a personable way. If employees sense that the employer doesn’t have time to train them correctly or if they feel rushed, they are turned off. The Learnkit survey states 63 percent would be more engaged if they had better training and learning opportunities.

Show how much employees are valued by giving them the time and the tools needed to succeed.


Utilize Technology

Technology plays an important role in the onboarding process since it allows the employer to communicate directly and immediately with new hires. Get them introduced before they show up for their first day with a welcome kit so they know what to expect. The welcome kit should include information about the team and give them some faces and names to reference so they know who’s who when they arrive.

It’s also important to offer interactive tools like online tutorials and to create an online portal. A platform that is optimized for mobile use puts a lot of important information directly in the hands of new hires, adding convenience to the process.

Create games and competitions like scavenger hunts and skits to make it fun and help break the ice. A lot of people are nervous and reserved when they first start, and these types of activities combat those nerves.


Assign Mentors

When introducing team members to new hires, assign mentors to each new employee or to a group of them. Mentors can provide advice to help them advance and keep them engaged in their path.

The most important thing a mentor can do is help new hires set goals and guide them. For example, if someone’s goal was to advance into management within a few years, the mentor can suggest taking online courses or appoint them to certain projects as a lead so they can develop leadership skills.

A successful onboarding process clearly communicates the roles, responsibilities, and expectations for each position, introduces new hires to relevant people, and empowers them to envision how they fit in the overall vision of the company. Most importantly, onboarding is ongoing, consistently guiding employees and teaching them to reach their full potential.

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