Why you should customize onboarding induction for employees


There are many, many benefits to onboarding and induction. With a proper onboarding process, you can increase employee retention, satisfaction, and productivity, leading to positive outcomes for the employee and your organization.

But what should the onboarding process look like? How much should it change depending on the employee? Is it possible to have a company-wide onboarding process, or does each department need one? Do you need to customize each onboarding to each employee?

Put yourself in the shoes of someone on the first day at the job. It’s stressful. Everyone is new to you. Information is coming at you fast and furious. There are documents upon documents to be read and signed. No one really knows you.

In such an environment of change and unfamiliarity, personalized onboarding can help new hires by presenting them only with the information they need, in ways that make them more comfortable. And an employee that is more quickly comfortable in their role within your organization is one that is able to more quickly contribute to the organization’s success.

Here’s how to customize your new hires’ onboarding experience while ensuring all employees receive the same core information they need.

Personalize, personalize, personalize

The trend towards personalization is everywhere. Websites tailor pages to a user’s characteristics and preferences. Personalized learning has become a catchphrase in the classroom. Facebook curates a newsfeed specific to each user.

If your organization can administer a behavioral assessment as part of its recruitment process, it will have incredible insight into candidates’ behaviors and attitudes. You will be able to use these insights not only to inform your hiring decision but also to customize the onboarding process for your new hires.

As you prepare the onboarding process, consider how your new employee:

  • Learns. Some employees may find it boring to sit through lectures, while others will value the opportunity to ask questions of the lecturer. Others may prefer to read through materials at their own pace.
  • Manages time. Understanding whether an employee prefers to stick to a tight schedule or is more relaxed with time management will help adjust expectations and understand where the employee is coming from.
  • Approaches team and supervisory dynamics. The employee’s supervisor will be prepared for any particularities or issues that arise concerning expectations and communication.

All of this is valuable information that can be used to craft an onboarding process that works for each new hire. This, in turn, will make new employees much more likely to stay with your organization. One study found new employees who went through an onboarding process were almost 70% more likely to be with the organization three years later.

Of course, especially if onboarding numerous employees at once, it’s important to balance the needs of personalization with the realities of facilitating a group. Not every onboarding activity has to be customized to each individual’s preferences, but it nice to keep them in mind.

Use learning management software

With learning management software, employees can go through the onboarding process at their own pace in their own workspace. The content they work through can be personalized to suit their role and department. This will both make it more interesting for them, and it will avoid wasting time and energy on irrelevant information.

Learning management software makes it easy to customize the information employees see. Start with a foundation of information every employee needs, such as a module on your organization’s strategic plan and values.

Next, have a module of relevant information for each department. A new hire for the marketing department should work through the marketing module, but skip the accounting one.

Last, consider what information employees in specific roles and types of positions need to have. Is there information a middle manager needs that an intern doesn’t? Or vice versa?

In this way, new hires can work through content relevant to them at their own pace, without being forced to endure information they won’t find helpful for their role.

Offer mentoring

Mentoring develops a personal relationship that evolves to meet new hires’ needs, whatever they may be, and also helps employees perform better. Employees who receive mentoring are promoted five times more often as those who don’t. Nearly 40% of HR managers and employees say mentoring is the most important part of new hire orientation.

For these reasons, establishing mentoring relationships should be part of your onboarding process. It will help your new hires receive personalized attention they will appreciate, while also making them better at their jobs.

Start skill development

Like mentoring, developing new hire skills is a great way to maximize employee engagement.

Nearly 90% of new hires say they do not have the optimum level of knowledge and tools to do their job. By starting skill development as part of their onboarding process, they will be better prepared for their role when they begin it in earnest. Plus, they will be immediately engaged in the onboarding process – learning a skill is more engaging than reviewing endless company policies.

By offering skill development to new hires as soon as they start, you will immediately be giving them a personalized experience. The skills each new hire will learn will depend on their roles and their existing skills and experiences – no cookie cutter approach there.

Determine their individual goals, assessment criteria, and career path

Focusing on new hire goals and career path right from the start will make them feel valued and feel they have autonomy in their role. It will also let them consider what skills they want to develop to meet their goals. Further, their supervisor and mentor can help the employee understand the way decisions are made, what possibilities may be open to the employee in the future, and what other resources are available to help them get where they want to be.

By personalizing the onboarding process, you will be ahead of the curve in instilling your organization’s values and purpose in new hires, and equipping your new hires with everything they need to thrive.


About Michelle Stedman

Michelle Stedman is Vice President of Operations and Talent Management Strategist at BirdDogHR

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