Building Inclusive Onboarding Programs

Posted on August 9, 2022

According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, onboarding programs can lead to increased employee productivity, engagement, and retention. The study found that new hires who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the company after three years, compared to those who did not have such a program. In addition, the study found that new hires who participated in a structured onboarding program were 69% more likely to be productive during their first year on the job. And they were also more engaged, with 54% saying they felt a strong connection to their company. So what does this all mean for businesses? If you want to improve employee retention and engagement, a structured onboarding program is a good place to start. Not only will it help to create a more inclusive workplace, but it will also boost your bottom line in the long run.

The reason a structured onboarding program is important for creating an inclusive workplace is that it helps to ensure that everyone experiences the same level of support and guidance during their first weeks and months on the job. This can be especially important for employees who are coming from diverse backgrounds, since they may not have had the same level of exposure to your company’s culture and values.

By providing a structured onboarding program, you can help all employees feel welcome and valued from day one.

In addition to promoting inclusivity, a structured onboarding program can also help to boost employee retention rates. New hires who feel supported and engaged during their first few weeks on the job are more likely to stick around for the long haul. And since turnover can be costly for businesses, anything you can do to reduce it is worth considering.

So what makes a good onboarding program? Here are a few key elements to keep in mind:

  1. Orientation: Your orientation program should provide new hires with an overview of your company’s history, culture, and values. This is a great opportunity to get everyone on the same page from the start. Orientation can include a tour of a physical office, organizing breakfasts or lunches with direct team members, the manager, or even the CEO, and rotating presentations on the team’s culture and projects so the new employee can immerse themselves in learning all about the company, beyond their new role.
  2. Training: New employees should receive training on your company’s products or services, as well as any relevant policies and procedures. If possible, try to create a custom training plan for each new hire that takes into account their previous experience and knowledge. In addition, organizing the simple first-day and first-week activities will help the new hire make a meaningful contribution right off the bat without overwhelming them.
  3. Mentorship: Assigning a mentor to each new hire can help them feel supported as they adjust to their new role. This person can answer any questions they have and provide guidance as needed. Some companies assign “buddies”, or teammates who work closely beside the new hire during their first weeks. Buffer is a remote team that assigns three buddies — a Leader Buddy, who is very experienced and can handle tough conversations and answer difficult questions, and a Role Buddy, who is a team member who can teach the new employee about their role and how to do their work, and a Culture Buddy is a member who can help guide the new employee through the unique Buffer company culture so they feel like a great and natural fit within the team.
  4. Feedback: Encourage new hires to give feedback on the onboarding process itself. This will help you identify any areas that need improvement. Set up meetings with the new employee’s manager so they can ask how they are settling in and what questions they have.
  5. Check-ins: Finally, make sure to check in with new employees on a regular basis during their first few months on the job. This can be done individually or as part of a group. These check-ins give you an opportunity to see how the employee is doing and to address any concerns they may have.

Creating a structured onboarding program is a great way to promote inclusivity and engagement in the workplace. By taking the time to orient new employees and give them the tools they need to succeed, you can set them up for success from day one.