Onboarding Communications: How internal communications helps new employees thrive

nboarding Communications: How internal communications helps new employees thriveOrganizations may be dropping the ball when it comes to onboarding new employees. According to Gallup, only 12% of employees think their organization does a good job.

Companies make three big onboarding mistakes: (1) They treat onboarding as an ‘HR thing,’ (2) They make the onboarding process too short, and (3) They fail to communicate the company’s culture. If managers and colleagues pass off the onboarding process as an ‘HR thing’ — and no one else is proactively reaching out to new hires — it makes sense when some new employees remain disconnected and exit early.

With less-than-stellar onboarding reviews for 88% of companies, there’s clearly room for improvement. And that’s why internal communications must play an integral part.

How internal comms can help with employee onboarding

The purpose of onboarding is not only to process paperwork and acclimate them to their role, but it is also to integrate new employees into the company culture and provide the education and tools they need to become productive team members. Experts say that onboarding should involve regular check-in opportunities for at least the first year. When done effectively, an onboarding process will create an engaging journey for new employees.

3 ways internal comms can help employees feel welcome, informed and engaged

  1. Proactively answer FAQs on or before day one. Many new employees will have similar questions on their first day. If it’s an in-person position, they may wonder things like, “Where should I park?” “Should I bring lunch?” or “What should I wear?” If it’s a remote position, they may think, “When will my equipment arrive?” or “When will I meet my coworkers?” If you don’t have an existing FAQ resource, hiring managers and internal comms teams can brainstorm a list within an hour and quickly create a finished FAQ document.
  2. Help grow your workplace culture. Company cultures have historically spread organically as employees interact with organizational attitudes, beliefs, and values. But in today’s more remote office environment, culture is less likely to grow on its own. Whatever your arrangement, it’s always valuable to have a one-pager describing the company’s culture: organizational values, work environment and attitudes, and more about how team members are expected to interact and behave.

Creative internal comms teams can provide more thoughtful resources to bring a company culture to life. One good method to teach culture is through modeling, often using situational scenarios. These could be executed as pre-recorded videos or acted out in live role-play training. Another method is to publish brief interviews with internal mentors and leaders about what the company culture means to them; always include specific examples. Think about what makes your organization unique and how it performs best; then consider how you can show this to new employees.

  1. Communicate about your communications. Internal comms is uniquely positioned to teach new hires about communication norms. This includes not only best practices regarding which tools to use for which purpose — for example, email is for scheduling and reminders while Teams is for real-time collaboration and conversation — but how best to use (or not use each channel), and what is acceptable or not.

For example, some employers promote chat conversations to build relationships, while others eschew this and prefer employees to concentrate on accomplishing tasks. What are your norms? How do communication expectations change based on roles? When internal comms teams take the time to explain and illustrate these communication norms, they can help new employees get up to speed quickly and acclimate into their workgroups.

How internal communications help new employees thrive

Communications professionals know how to present information in an engaging way. You can empathize with new employees, make them feel welcome, and inform them while minimizing information overload. Since better employee onboarding leads to higher retention, consider how you can improve your process. Don’t leave it up to HR, collaborate with them. By proactively answering FAQs, modeling company culture, and establishing communication norms, your new hires will appreciate how you welcome them aboard.

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