One Is the Loneliest Number in Onboarding

How many people does it take to onboard a new employee?

Your answer is probably something along the lines of, "One -- the onboarding manager."

While it's true that some companies (most, I'm willing to bet) take that unfortunate approach onboarding, the fact is that if you want to maximize a new employee's success and overall value to the company, you need more than an onboarding manager. You need a village.

One of the top skills employers look for in candidates is the ability to work with a team. And yet, many companies neglect to immerse new employees in the team dynamic until after they have acclimated to their roles. The intention might be to avoid overwhelming the new hire, but in reality, it's a disservice. Having the chance to jump right in with the people alongside of whom they will be working is extremely valuable -- especially during the early stages of employee onboarding.

If you follow the right steps, you can easily turn new employee onboarding into a team effort. Heck, you might even find that your employees enjoy being part of the onboarding process!

1. Give the Tour

First and foremost, new employees want a tour! This is essential for them to grow comfortable with their new surroundings and feel like they belong. To that end, the tour needs to go beyond where the bathrooms and break rooms are.

Managers should take the opportunity to show new employees where things are located and explain what the office's emergency procedures are. They should also take this tour as a chance to welcome the employee to the company in a one-on-one setting.

And, of course, managers should bring new employees to different departments and start making introductions.

Managers can collaborate with company leadership, department heads, and team members to give each new employee a warm and happy welcome. Furthermore, when facilitating introductions, managers can educate new employees with an overview of what each department does. Introductions are an important part of the onboarding process, and making the most of them can have a greater impact on employee success than you might think.

2. Assign a Buddy

When you're in a new environment, surrounded by strangers, it helps to feel like someone has your back. Your new employee feels the same way.

Now, put yourself in their shoes and imagine that the only contact you have for the first few days at work is your new manager. As accommodating and welcoming as the manager might be, you'd probably want to start building meaningful relationships with your peers. That would make much more of an impact on your -- or any employee's -- attitude and impressions of the company.

Plus, if you assign your new employees peer mentors, you can accelerate the knowledge transfer they need to get up to speed.

One way to decide who should be your new employee's "buddy" is to have a face-to-face meeting with the new employee to gauge their personality (or you can use a personality assessment). Then, find an employee who best complements the new hire's personality so that there is a natural chemistry between mentor and mentee.

3. Celebrate as a Team

Managers are often in such a hurry to get new employees up to speed that they forget to make their first weeks feel extraordinary. This is wrong. As much as 20 percent of turnover happens in the first 45 days of a new job. You only have one chance to make a first impression, so make it mean something.

Celebrating a new employee's milestones gives managers the opportunity to build on and reinforce that employee's strengths with positive feedback. It also encourages team building between the new employee and their coworkers and shows the new employee that they are not alone.

Making a great first impression on your new hires can be done many ways, but the most effective way to facilitate this team-building is to make it happen frequently. Small or large, take every chance you can to celebrate the new hire's successes.

Be the Trailblazer

Did you know that companies with standardized onboarding processes experience 50 percent greater new hire retention and 54 percent greater new hire productivity than those without? It's time to make the onboarding process something to remember for both your new employees and your current employees.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Click Boarding blog.

Christine Marino is the chief revenue officer at Click Boarding.