Onboarding employees is an extremely important and often neglected practice.
All too often employers simply show new team members where the paper clips are and how to use the computer system, but they don’t show them the organization’s service standards or how to treat customers.
The first days on the job are often no different than the employee’s total experience, a lack of training lies at the heart of many challenges they face. Onboarding a new employee should represent a microcosm of everything you want from not only your relationships with your employees but also their relationships with your customers.
How much you care about your employees will be demonstrated by how much you care to give them the tools to succeed when they join your team.
How much your employees care about your customers will be reflected by the cultural values you instill in them from the start.
Onboarding Employees and Culture
Too often, an organization’s approach to onboarding reflects the organization’s priorities.
- If the organization is under-resourced (time or capital), onboarding will be given short shrift.
- If the organization is more concerned metrics than customers, onboarding will be as quick and cursory as possible.
- And if the organization is not focused on creating a customer-centric organization and culture, onboarding will focus on only the basic operational necessities and will not include thorough customer service training.
As a small business owner, I’ve succeeded at onboarding, and I’ve failed at onboarding.
In retail, sometimes you’re down multiple shifts, and you need to get bodies on the floor. It happens.
However, over time, I came to realize that effective, complete onboarding always paid dividends far in excess of the investment made.
Sure, on occasion you will have to make concessions to dire circumstances, but even if it is painful in the moment, going out of your way to give employees the cultural education and service tools they need to create great customer experiences always pays off in the long run.
For a few extra thoughts on onboarding employees, check out this video shot at Medallia’s Experience 2017 conference (to which I was given a ticket).