At Point To Point we don’t just think about the interview process when it comes to our recruiting efforts. We look ahead at every aspect including what we do in those important first weeks after a new “Pointer” joins us.
Our goal is to not only hire the right people for the right roles, but to build a tenured team that feels valued and set up for success to do the best work of their lives.
Most companies overlook the importance of properly onboarding and integrating new team members. It’s not on purpose. It’s just easy to miss the most critical aspect of building your team. According to Click Boarding and shared by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM):
- 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding
- Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50 percent greater new-hire productivity
Approaches to onboarding and engaging from day one
Our leadership team continuously reviews how we can best onboard new Pointers. Even now with enhanced safety protocols we’ve adjusted our approach to work through the nuance and provide new team members with a great start at Point To Point.
We break down onboarding into three main categories - organization, training and engagement.
Organization - It all starts with the organization itself. What is your company’s mission? What are your core values? What are your organizational goals for the year? It’s critical that new employees understand what your company is about from the very start. It’s really difficult for employees to get behind an organization when they don’t know what the goal is.
From past surveys, Point To Point learned that our employees weren’t clear on the company’s mission. As a result, our CEO now meets one-on-one with every new hire within their first week. It’s really helped provide clarity and establish a common understanding across existing and new team members that allows everyone to be on the same page working towards the same goal.
One of the most significant areas you can spend time with new employees is around your company’s core values. They’re a great way of establishing expectations to build a strong culture of how you expect every employee to live every day. Core values are also a great way to evaluate potential candidates during the interview process to make sure they are a good fit with your company culture.
Training - Starting off on the right foot means that you have tools and resources in place to help new teammates succeed in their new role. Look at training as more than sitting them at the computer and reviewing your website. Give them the foundation to engage earlier.
When Pointers start, they meet with team members across various departments. This allows them to learn about Point To Point from different perspectives as well as to start building relationships with their new co-workers.
At Point To Point, we focus initial training in three areas.
- Tooling: What are the steps for getting started with the technical platforms that everyone uses daily? It’s obvious that you need to train on the platforms they need to do the job.
Give access to the training tools right away, schedule multiple sessions and allow them to use the office hours needed to train so they become efficient and confident.
It’s not one size training either. If we have someone who needs to use HubSpot, we direct them to the right training sites, materials, contacts and support channels. We put it in writing. By being patient, we actually speed up the time it takes for the team member to be a full contributor.
- Process: The “how-to” functionality of the company. Everyone needs to learn who they talk to if they have a computer issue or how to find files and documents?
A new person working on the client side also needs to learn additional processes. How do they submit client hours? Who can answer a question about a client? How do they submit work briefs?
Remember to teach, not preach. Use multiple meetings/sessions and answer new questions that come from them experiencing the platforms. Assign a willing team peer to help train and be a sounding board.
- Clients: What do you have in place to teach new team members about your clients’ businesses? What business teams work on what projects? Who are the clients’ customers?
Our leadership team is hands-on in all aspects of the client work. Discovery is an ongoing process so share client business goals, successes and yes, even failures with the team.
Allow time in meetings for questions about clients. We have channels in our chat platform where team members are strongly encouraged to share client and agency news, trends, products, analytics, etc. with everyone. We ask new team members to contribute right away as they’re learning about our markets and clients with fresh eyes.
Engagement - Leaders are responsible for company culture. Don’t take engagement lightly. How you engage a new employee and make them feel welcome and part of the team can have a significant impact on the success of their onboarding. First impressions matter.
At Point To Point, we begin the engagement process even before a new employee’s first day. Once someone accepts a position, we get to work. A computer with appropriate applications is shipped out ahead of time to make sure everything is working on day one. We create a personalized Welcome Email where they provide information and photos that gets sent out to the team on their first day. We send a Welcome package to let them know how excited we are that they are a Pointer. We assign a buddy co-worker they can go to for questions – someone that can show them the ropes.
We also have a biography book that profiles everyone individually. New Pointers learn what others’ pet peeves are, what pets they have and whether they prefer Taco Tuesday or Thirsty Thursday. It includes each person’s meeting times and work style preferences and how they like to communicate. This book has received such positive feedback from new employees as it gives them a face and a head start before actually meeting new team members.
These are just a few of the ways that we engage our new hires. There’s so much that you can do. And it’s important to recognize engagement doesn’t stop with onboarding. Consider ongoing activities such as recognition programs, group activities and upskill training. Be creative, make it fun, and you’ll find ways that work for your company.
As with all things, be open to improving your onboarding process. Solicit and encourage honest feedback, often. If you learn from the experiences of new team members, you’ll have more satisfied employees and retain the amazing talent you worked so hard to find.
Point To Point is a creative agency and without the right onboarding we can’t perform the best work of our lives … for us or for our clients.
If you would like to share insights from your onboarding experiences, please share with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.