Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
On-boarding new employees is a major undertaking for many organizations. In fact, for most training departments, on-boarding is most of what it does. A lot of money is invested in on-boarding new employees, but there are staggering statistics that show that all of this time, energy, and effort is largely wasted.
For example, according to the Wynhurst Group, 22% of staff turnover happens in the first 45 days of employment and the cost of losing an employee is at least three times the salary. This means that organizations are spending thousands of dollars per new employee to on-board them only to see many leave, costing the organization even more money to replace.
These statistics alone should cause business leaders to question whether their current on-boarding efforts are effective enough to reduce these numbers. The good news is that new employees who went through a structured on-boarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years.
So there is hope.
Learning Job Skills is a Limited Goal of On-boarding
The purpose of most on-boarding programs is to help new employees learn the skills they need to perform their jobs. Of course, this is important, but not enough attention is placed on other important goals of on-boarding, including socializing new employees into the culture of the organization. This limited goal of on-boarding is short-sighted because research has shown that effective on-boarding and new employee socialization can lead to positive outcomes in terms of job satisfaction, better performance, higher commitment to the organization, and reduction in intent to quit.
Therefore, if organizations can just change how they on-board new employees by thinking about socializing new employees into the organization rather than just training them, organizations can improve performance through new employees who are more satisfied at work, perform better in their jobs, are more committed to the company, and have a lower intent to quit.
So how do organizations socialize new hires instead of just training them? This is where enterprise social networks (ESNs) come into play.
Where ESNs Come In
In most cases, a new employee completes a new hire training class and then is shuffled to a desk surrounded by people in their department. Most of what a new person now learns about the company comes from their immediate surroundings, which is only a microcosm of what the company is all about.
What if a new person ends up sitting in between the two most negative people in the company? What influence do you think they will have on the new person? Enterprise social networks open up the entire company to new employees, and empowers new people to interact with anyone in the organization no matter what department they are in or where in the world they are located.
In the remainder of this post, I share four ideas for how to use enterprise social networks to more effectively on-board and socialize new employees into your organization.
Four Ideas for Implementing Effective Socialization on ESNs
1. New Employee Group: Create a group on the enterprise social network and assign all new hire employees to this group. Encourage new employees (perhaps defined as people hired within the past 0 to 12 months) to interact with each other, share stories of their on-boarding experience, and otherwise support each other.
2. Assign New Employee Community Manager: Many companies have community managers to facilitate interactions between companies and their customers. The idea is to improve customer engagement. Why not assign a community manager to improve engagement specifically among newly hired employees?
3. Encourage New Employees to Reach Out (with Direction): One of the most important benefits of enterprise social networks is that they allow employees to easily communicate with people beyond their immediate network. The new hire community manager should encourage new employees to reach out to people all over the organization, which could mean reading posts of others, finding people with expertise, asking questions of people they find interesting or commenting on the posts of others.
This reach out should be structured in order to get new hires started. One example is a scavenger hunt. All new employees could be given instructions to seek people out using the enterprise social network. Some assignments could be to 1) find three people who share a hobby or interest with you by searching employee profiles; and 2) find three people in departments or with skills and expertise you want to acquire and send them a message asking them a question about how they got started. There are many ways this can be done.
By providing structure to early activities, it reduces the anxiety of what to look for and also gives new people the confidence to continue to reach out and build their network on the enterprise social network as they progress with the company.
4. Provide Links to Resources Related to Their Job: As a learning and development professional, I can tell you that the worst thing you can do is cram everything people need to know about their new job into the new hire training. It is too much. New hires get overwhelmed and forget much of what was taught anyway. Enterprise social networks allow you to strip out much of the content from the new hire training, and provide it to your new people over time, and in the moment of need. Use enterprise social networks to post resources when needed and also allow users to share these resources with each other.
A Natural Opportunity to Improve Performance
Enterprise social networks provide a natural opportunity for vastly improving how newly hired employees are socialized into organizations. By leveraging the power of enterprise social networks, your new people can be more satisfied at work, will perform better, and will stay longer. How could you not want that? If you are not using an Enterprise Social Network yet, it’s time for you to try Zyncro for free.
The ideas above are just the beginning of what can be accomplished on enterprise social networks. How are you using enterprise social networks to on-board and socialize new employees into your organization? Share your stories in the comments below.
Bill Cushard (@billcush), a new author to our Zyncro Blog. Bill is writer, blogger and learning experience (LX) designer and facilitator. He has extensive, in-the-trenches experience in creating learning programs that incorporate semi face-to-face and social learning methods. You can follow him on Twitter or on Google+.