Employee engagement is a topic that has taken center stage for today’s business leaders – partially because of its link with productivity optimization but also because low engagement levels have become an epidemic in the workplace.
According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report, only one-third of the American workforce is engaged – meaning only 33% of workers are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and their employer. This leaves 51% who are not engaged and 16% who are actively disengaged – meaning two-thirds of employees are ‘checked-out’ or undermining the work of their high-producing colleagues.
Employee engagement initiatives should be incorporated company-wide, and leadership development programs can help you create customized strategies. However, there’s an often-overlooked opportunity for improving employee engagement: the onboarding process. Here are five effective techniques for ensuring the success (and engagement) of your newest employees – right from the very start.
1. Appreciate their Presence
Newly hired employees are naturally filled with uncertainty – from whether they’ll fit into the company culture to whether they’ll be able to make meaningful contributions. Showing appreciation for your newest team members is essential for helping them overcome that uncertainty. By learning their names, positions and specific strengths, you help make these employees feel like they’re in the right place – and they’re not just a number.
2. Incorporate them into the Vision
One of the keys to building an engaged team is to ensure everyone understands how his or her role fits with the greater vision. After all, everyone wants to feel like they’re part of something bigger, and most people lose interest quickly if they start seeing their work as trivial. As you go through the onboarding process with new employees, connect the dots between their responsibilities and the future of the company.
3. Assign a Relevant Project
According to Gallup, 60% of employees feel it’s very important to be able to “do what they do best” in a new position – meaning they are able to integrate their unique talents, skills and knowledge. Therefore, it’s actually damaging for a new hire to feel unproductive (or even worse – incompetent) for any length of time. Strategically assigning a relevant project that plays to their strengths gets them involved immediately and helps to lay the groundwork for building credibility with colleagues and clients.
4. Provide an Ambassador
You know the ‘ins and outs’ of your organization, but newly hired employees certainly don’t. An ambassador is a colleague (not a boss) who enthusiastically helps the new employee get settled in. After all, it would be uncomfortable for anyone to interrupt their new boss’s train-of-thought with trivial questions like how to print, brew coffee, or access the code-locked bathrooms. When choosing an ambassador, be sure it’s someone who is actively engaged and has the bandwidth to answer questions with grace and patience.
5. Assign Onboarding Mentors
Similar to ambassadors, onboarding mentors help a new employee get settled into their new roles – but in a job-specific way. Whether they’re supervisors or co-workers in a similar position, mentors are a key to supporting employee engagement because they ensure the new hire integrates into the company quickly and learns the new skills necessary to thrive. From properly using the CRM system to navigating specific accounts, these mentor relationships help alleviate the stress associated with learning new tasks, processes and best practices.
Improve Employee Engagement with Leadership Development Programs
At FocalPoint Canada, we guide our clients in overcoming challenges and leveraging opportunities with proven processes and methodologies that have been used by thousands of successful businesses over the past two decades. Our FocalPoint business coaches use their expertise to teach our time-tested methods through individual coaching, group sessions, or trainings and workshops.
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