We need to chat about our engagement. No, not the kind announced on Facebook. Employee engagement in the workplace.
Only about a third of American workers consider themselves engaged, according to Gallup, and an alarming number (17.5%) have decided to spend their working hours actively disengaged. That’s the bad news. The good news is these numbers have actually improved. The better news is we can continue to spark positive change, if we band together.
A major way to improve employee engagement is by vowing to wow new hires. That means focusing on providing a pleasant—dare I say, even enjoyable—onboarding experience. An employee’s initial impression ultimately influences your future together. It’s akin to how first dates can make or break a relationship.
Just like some people believe in love at first sight, some employees form opinions about employers within the first week. Thus, a great onboarding experience can mean the difference between new hires feeling like they’ve found their “career soulmate” and deciding they’re “just not that into you.”
Now, upholding this vow to wow new hires takes work. It’s a commitment. But it doesn’t have to be stressful. After all, a hallmark of workplace engagement is creating
an inviting, fun, and productive environment that people want to be a part of. So, when your new hire finally arrives:
Provide a warm welcome. Use social media to instantly connect with your newest employees. No, you don’t have to befriend them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter (that can actually come off as too creepy, and may drive new hires away). Rather, invite team members to say hello through internal social media platforms built into your company’s HCM solution.
Get to know them. As with any relationship, communication is key—and it should be a two-way street. Don’t just spend hours telling them all about yourself while they sit there, slumped over with glazed eyes or zoned out, checking their phone. Ask them open-ended questions. Learn more about their interests, hobbies, or unique skills. Have a system in place that uncovers these talents and positions them to impact projects within your organization.
Plan for the future. Employees want to know how they fit into the big picture, and they want to know you’ve envisioned a long-term path for mutual success. Involve them in the planning process. Spend some time together mapping out tasks and goals. Talk about your exciting future together. It’s never too early to create a succession plan. Indeed, nearly 50% of Millennials say they’d quit a company if they didn’t see a fulfilling career path.
Be honest. Don’t try to impress your new hire by making promises you can’t keep or by presenting a puffed-up image of yourself. Eventually, employees will see through the façade, fall out of love, and move on to a company they find more genuine. Instead, flaunt your true personality. Display your best qualities. Tell them a joke to help lighten the mood. You already know you were meant for each other, so show them they’ve found “the one.”
These are just a few ideas for creating an engaging onboarding experience, but there are plenty more to consider. I invite you to join me on Tuesday, June 9 at 2:00 P.M. for a free, live webcast. My colleague Jim Collins and I will share “10 Ways to Wow Your New Hire” and discuss the HR technology capable of implementing these actions. Spend an hour of your day with us, and you’ll learn techniques that can yield a lifetime of benefits for you and your employees.