If your New Year’s resolution is to have happier employees and more productive new hires, you’re in good company.
Even companies with the best onboarding programs are looking for new ways to make onboarding playful, practical, and original. In fact, the very nature of a good employee onboarding program is nothing like it used to be.
Today, we’re looking at 6 staff onboarding trends that have been picking up steam and will be big in 2019. We’ll also share the best practices you need to stay ahead of the pack.
These are the trends in onboarding you need to know about.
Trend #1: Preboarding
A job doesn’t start on the first day at the office. It starts the exact moment the offer is sent and accepted. And this is exactly when onboarding should begin.
Say hello to preboarding. We know it sounds like an impersonal process, but wait until it gets the popularity it deserves.
This isn’t an entirely new concept, but it’s just recently gained some attention. The reason? We’re moving to an era when employees aren’t the only ones competing with each other for a job position. Now, companies are the ones competing for the right caliber of talent.
This is why they should view new hires (or employees transferred to another department) as part of the team, even before they turn their new computers on for the first time.
While managers wait for the day new team members are coming in, they should send regular emails to check in, share company news and updates, invite them to future meetings, or send tips on their role and how they’ll contribute to the company. Managers need to act as if new hires are already part of their team.
Plus, employees who feel relaxed about blending in are bound to fit in more quickly.
Preboarding is also the time to get paperwork out of the way. Companies shouldn’t leave HR orientation and company presentations for the first day in the office. There are two benefits to including this type of admin work on this stage. First, new hires get to know more about their new company before they even start. Second, they reserve the first day for activities that help foster better relationships.
All these tips get new hires to love their company on day zero. And if they do, we’re talking about the best employee onboarding process they’ve ever experienced.
Trend #2: Personalized onboarding
Everybody wants to feel special. And it makes sense. You like it when your barista serves your coffee without you telling them whether it should be a macchiato or an Americano.
Personalized onboarding, one of the best employee induction practices right now, is based on the same philosophy.
Employees want to feel like they’re being heard. When planning a personalized onboarding experience, consider new entries’ preferences, interests, and, of course, expertise. This way, they will form a connection with their employers right from the beginning.
Here are a few tips to engage employees by bringing them on board in a more personalized way:
- Provide them with paperwork specifically designed for them.
- Select mentors that match their style and personality.
- Catch up regularly to see how they feel about their role and the company.
- Design activities around their interests.
- Welcome them with personalized messages according to their position.
- Invest in personalized eLearning strategies.
Personalization’s long been associated with productivity. So, suggesting that employees perform better when their company respects their personal interests sounds legit, right?
Trend #3: Cultural assimilation
Being heard is not the only concern for employees. They also love belonging and feeling like insiders — just like everyone else. This is exactly where cultural assimilation can help organizations achieve a perfect working environment for their staff members.
Cultural assimilation is a new entry in the new hire onboarding trends list. This is quite different from the company culture concept. We’re not talking about “mission, values, and goals,” here. We’re delving into culture much deeper than that.
Cultural assimilation is about the way people behave, talk to each other, and work in the office. One trend we see coming up in 2019 is that more and more companies will take the time to explain their business’ unwritten rules. Think special celebrations, nicknames, slang. All so that new staff will feel prepared once onboarding ends.
Including new employees in these cultural parts of your organization even before they’re ready to work automatically turns them into insiders. They’re part of your group now.
And, according to a recent survey we conducted, new hires are more concerned about culture-related issues during onboarding. For example, they’re more concerned about understanding the expectations of a manager than they are about their ability to do the work. And yet, only 39% of companies offer company culture training as part of their onboarding process.
We predict that as the importance of cultural assimilation rises in 2019, so will company culture training.
Trend #4: Automation — but take it easy
How could an industry packed with people, legal procedures, and paperwork not get involved with technology?
A few years ago, automation became one of the hottest new hire onboarding trends. In a short time, it won first place among the best online onboarding strategies. Now, it’s being worshipped like Meryl Streep in every Oscar ceremony.
But humans over-banked on machines, and we automated like crazy.
Automation is, indeed, valuable. From eLearning simulations to chatbots and AI, when it comes to onboarding and human resources, every tech tool is on the table. But there’s a significant issue. Automation is not personalized at all (remember trend #2 we talked about earlier?).
Like it or not, personalization is the only way for businesses to create a smooth transition from a great candidate experience to a great employee experience. So, when you’re using automated technology to make your life easier, think about your employees too.
The main question is not whether you should automate the onboarding experience, but which part you should automate.
Trend #5: Niche training
For a long time, multi-tasking used to be one of the most wanted employee strengths. So, when employers onboarded new members, they didn’t zoom in on any specific skills; they were trying to train everyone on everything. This staff onboarding trend created a generation of multi-taskers with no specific niche or targeted skills. But technology and work requirements have changed a lot.
Today, job positions need more attention. Now, there are new technologies, different verticals for brands to communicate with their audience, and specific requirements new job positions come with. It’s safe to say that the world is starving for specification. And this is precisely what this trend is all about.
Companies now, more than ever, need to invest in niche learning and equip their employees with the exact, essential skills needed for their actual position. Later, they can move on to other types of training, if additional skills are required.
Just one training topic at a time.
Trend #6: Microlearning
Microlearning is definitely among the current onboarding trends. But it’s not just a trend. It’s a solution.
Microlearning (or microtraining in our case) can be delivered through many different formats, but it has to be broken into many, short parts. Whether it’s a video we’re talking about, a presentation, an audio file, or even articles, the average time it should require from a learner shouldn’t exceed 5 to 10 minutes.
It’s no secret that our attention span’s getting shorter and shorter. This, logically, results in a call for more concise learning content.
So, it comes as no surprise that most trainers have stopped info-overloading their trainees. Because, naturally, they couldn’t process all this information. Companies, nowadays, need to put their learners first, focus on learning retention in the age of shortened attention spans, and help them by being transparent and inclusive.
Over to you
Which of these staff onboarding trends are you keen to try to improve your onboarding?