In this new era of “virtual inductions”, new joiners will likely feel “newer” for longer. Investing in the following five steps will maximize Belonging for new hires. Research shows a deep sense of Belonging increases productivity and reduces turnover by over 50%.1 A strong, effective induction program is vital for companies’ long-term retention and bottom line – in these non-typical times and beyond.
1. Get technology running smoothly before Day One
New employees must have all the technology they will need – before Day One. In our virtual reality, nothing will happen without it.
“If you’re a new joiner, technology is vital – I have to work from home, but I wasn’t supplied with a computer or a phone on my first day, which made it incredibly hard to add value or to feel valued!”
Have your systems been adapted for this purpose?
Day One will be incredibly frustrating if things don’t work and new joiners aren’t on all the relevant systems – as there is nothing else to rely on.
High goodwill is created when a new joiner has a spectacular and seamless Day One.
2. Mentors are (even more) key
We already know that mentors help build trust and psychological safety. Personal-level connections are inherent to developing senses of Belonging – and since virtual new joiners are removed, they are unable to “bump into” anyone around the office or easily establish informal networks. Now, more than ever, mentors are critical to promoting spaces for open dialogue.
“The “right” mentors for virtual joiners should have broad networks, be organizationally savvy, and be highly empathetic.
Their role in boosting the new joiners’ senses of Belonging cannot be underestimated.”
3. Create (new) virtual networks
Set your new joiners up for success – design virtual networking groups to connect and introduce new hires across the entire business (to peers, stakeholders, functional teams, etc.), mixing the “formal” with the “informal” (think: breakfast meetings and virtual happy hours). Don’t forget to connect new joiners to other new joiners – they can go through this together.
“Once I had established a network, my value was much greater. It’s like when you wear excellent skiing clothes and they make you a more confident skier.”
4. Allow (more) time
Without the opportunity to make in-person connections the Belonging timelines of new joiners are extended. You can work hard on virtual integration – but recognize and appreciate too that your new hires will need more time than “normal” to fully integrate.
Make this clear to everyone – guide both the new joiners and the team to adjust expectations. The high-performing new joiners may be disappointed by their ability to make less impact and to do so less quickly – do your part to ease this and to ensure that the team does not judge them too harshly either.
5. Be prepared, and prepare to adapt
Most organizations have a “typical” induction plan – but how will it play in today’s virtual world? Seek feedback from your new hires and adapt that plan with them.
“It is important to spend more time listening to new joiners than talking at them – induction meetings can feel like information overload when they should be as much about the organization getting to know the individual as the other way around.”
Remember: the new joiner is only having virtual contact. With this in mind, who and what needs to be added to the induction schedule (think: recorded messages, gamification, virtual “welcome” drinks, etc.)?
What parts of the traditional orientation can be left behind, at least for now?
We started our research into “belonging” – the need to be accepted and included by those around you – back in January, to support our clients in retaining their exceptional talent. High belonging has shown a massive 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days*.
* All quotes are from Hedley May’s Belonging Project: research and interviews across sectors, on the critical role of recruitment, on-boarding and induction on instilling a sense of Belonging.