Translation missing: en.sections.article_template.title: Onboarding is a Marathon not a Sprint
Onboarding—the way in which business owners, HR pros and managers welcome and get a just-hired, squeaky-clean employee prepped for their new job.
Although the numbers show us the significance of thorough onboarding, we still tend to treat it like a sprint—spend a few hours in a stuffy, poorly-lit conference room “learning the ropes,” thumbing through a ten-pound employee manual, and off they go!
When onboarding is done in a healthy, productive way, it’s never a 100-yard dash. It’s more like a marathon on steroids—hundreds of miles wrapped up in genuine, continuous gratitude—with no clear finish line. In this case, you shouldn’t have any interest in ending your run because you know you’re doing what’s necessary to retain your best and brightest employees.
We know. A marathon sounds exhausting. But once you’ve warmed-up and created some muscle memory, you’ll see the benefits far outweigh time invested. Reframe the challenge if you need to—do you want to onboard someone new because you didn’t engage with the last hire enough?
Keep in mind that competition is fierce, and onboarding is a key retention strategy. According to an article by Oak Engage, “New employees with good onboarding experience are 18x more committed to their employer.” Your onboarding commitment translates directly to their ongoing commitment.
Three Simple Phases
To simplify things, let’s build a scenario and break onboarding down into three phases: Preboarding, New Hire, and The Long Haul.
Scenario: A position opens. You compile a job description and get a posting out. You receive 20 apps, filter through them, and narrow the call backs to a few elite stars. Here come the phases…
Preboarding: The moment they accept your interview invitation, the starting line is drawn—you’re pumped, carbed up, and ready to pound some pavement.
Once interview dates are on the calendar, send them a genuine and meaningful gesture that embodies what you believe in; the quintessential thing that, right off the mark, says, “We value you.” In other words, a connection, not just a gift.
New Hire: Congrats! The perfect person accepted and the race begins. They, and you, feel like you could run forever. Cue endorphins, steady breathing and rock-solid calves.
Now’s the time to ask this question from staffing and HR experts, SHRM: “What impression do you want new hires to walk away with at the end of the first day?”
Something with big impact, right? Lots of wow? Then surprise them with a unique sign of appreciation. We suggest something perfectly curated that celebrates the moment with joy.
Try something like this!
How welcome they feel that first day, and how quickly they settle in, will resonate throughout their work career. Keep a comprehensive onboarding checklist close at hand to ensure you’ve covered all your bases.
The Long-Haul: Here lies the most arduous stretch, but don’t lag behind. Keep up that steady pace!
Get important milestones and anniversaries on your calendar, follow up, and do monthly check-ins. Adam Grant, organizational psychologist and bestselling author, recommends the “stay interview” where employees can voice concerns, challenges, and accomplishments. Keep a consistent supply of incentives and appreciation going.
Never fear though—rewards and ongoing recognition need not break the bank. It’s more important to make a lasting impression. Even small things at the right price can deliver all the big feels and multiply an employee’s willingness to work hard and stay put.
Proper onboarding sets your new hire—and you—up for multiple victory laps. Their wins, in turn, are your wins.
Your team is your fuel and fire, alighting your goals, setting things in motion, moving you forward on the path to success. So queue up the Chariots of Fire soundtrack and keep that onboarding marathon mentality alive!
We have all the gifts that get it right every time. You choose, we deliver. Simple as that. It’s time to gift—delightfully.