New Hire Onboarding
Quickly Train Large CSR Pool on Key RegulationTo achieve time-sensitive business objectives, the call center of a large insurance company needed to train 2,700 new customer service agents at 13 separate locations on Medicare Part D. A severe shortage of instructors and classrooms compounded the challenge.
A Tailored Block-Scheduling Training ProgramTo meet the challenge, the Chatfield Group worked with site managers, team leaders, and a pool of internal and external trainers to develop a course of study that could be broken apart and delivered over 10 working days. Our instructional design team worked with representatives of governmental agencies to develop the courseware needed to explain Medicare Part D rules and regulations to the company’s customer service reps.
Improve Employee OrientationA major, multinational corporation created from the merger of two key competitors needed a fresh, more sophisticated approach to New Hire orientation. At its inception, the company’s New Hire orientation and employee onboarding processes were dated, cumbersome and labor intensive.
Streamline New Hire Orientation & Launch Comprehensive Onboarding ProgramTo revitalize and strengthen employee orientation, The Chatfield Group recommended a multi-step action plan:
- Streamline New Hire Enrollment – To provide managers with greater hiring flexibility, facilitate a “when you’re ready” start date rather than restricting managers with fixed hiring dates. Once a job offer has been accepted, send a Welcome e-mail to New Hires along with a summary of employee benefits and a website link to your annual report.
- Create New Employee Webpage – By providing New Hires with access to an onboarding website, new employees can download payroll and benefits forms so they can complete paperwork in advance or electronically. They can also gain online access to orientation presentations, your employee handbook, and other corporate, product and marketing information.
- Develop a Formal, 90-Day Onboarding Program – Onboarding is a comprehensive process designed to help new employees feel comfortable in their new work environments and become productive more quickly. The two primary objectives of an onboarding program are to 1) help new employees learn about their new organization, its culture, its customers, and the specific jobs to be performed and 2) provide supporting relationships and learning events to reinforce an employee’s decision to join the organization. In many cases, the onboarding process begins when an offer of employment is accepted and continues through the time when an employee feels “at home” and productive in a new work environment. Conclude your formal onboarding program with 90-day follow-up and review.
- Involve Hiring Managers, HR & Peer Mentors in Onboarding Process – Onboarding involves three primary players: the Hiring Manager, who takes the lead in providing the New Hire with a positive introduction to the department and the organization; Human Resources, which works with hiring managers to select peer mentors and provides program development, consultation and administration, as needed; and Peer Mentors, who perform a variety of supportive tasks to help the New Hire feel welcome and productive.
- Develop Personalized Launch for New Hires at Corporate HQ – To provide New Hires with a solid welcome to your organization, develop a comprehensive orientation program that delivers high motivational value and ensures a smooth transition to other components of your onboarding program. Feature live presentations by company leaders, if possible, and put presentation materials on your company intranet so they can be updated, archived, and accessed conveniently by presenters and other employees. Use your welcome to heighten employee appreciation for your mission, values, primary markets and key products as well as your approach to Research & Development, people development and the like. By doing so, you can generate excitement about your company, reinforce company values, reinforce an employee’s decision to join the company, and strengthen organizational relationships with new employees.
- Build a Department Orientation Template – Develop a standardized approach to departmental orientations to ensure that employees receive a solid introduction to the company and their primary operating unit. Help create customized departmental websites with checklists and guides for New Hires, hiring managers, peer mentors and administrative assistants.
- Create a Manager’s Guide to New Employee Onboarding – To optimize the success of your onboarding efforts, develop a manager’s guide to employee onboarding at your organization. Such a guide will help Hiring Managers provide a consistently high-quality orientation to their respective departments as well as monitor New Hire progress. In terms of content, consider including (1) a template for the New Hire’s first day on the job as well as an outline of activities and milestones for the New Hire’s first week, first month, and first 90 days with the organization; (2) training & development (T&D) activities scheduled to take place in the department during the New Hire’s early months of employment; and (3) questions to consider during the New Hire’s critical first 90 days of employment.
- Provide Ongoing Developmental Opportunities – To be effective long-term, an onboarding program should include a variety of continuing education opportunities for New Hires. These can range from all-employee “Lunch & Learns” and focused workshops to webinars and other types of online learning opportunities offered on a flexible basis.
Eliminate High Employee TurnoverA mid-sized technology company experiencing high turnover among its employees needed to address its turnover issues.
Use Focus Groups to Identify Reasons for High Turnover and Generate Ideas for ImprovementTo determine the root causes for the company’s high turnover, The Chatfield Group conducted a series of focus groups at the firm’s primary operating facilities. The lack of a clear chain of command and poor communications were identified as key concerns. So, too, were the needs to improve employee orientation and to provide training and development opportunities for both managers and employees. After analyzing staff feedback, The Chatfield Group teamed with company management to implement the following six-step plan to correct organizational deficiencies:
- Step 1: Expand Management Ranks – To clarify reporting relationships and improve functional management, the company created a layer of departmental management. Under the company’s revised organizational structure, Department Managers take the lead in communicating with employees on a day-to-day basis, in coaching employees on performance, and developing employee capabilities.
- Step 2: Launch Onboarding Program for New Hires – To increase retention of new employees, the company developed an onboarding program designed to make New Hires feel comfortable and productive in their new work environments from Day One. Hiring Managers developed an Onboarding Plan for each New Hire to address practical concerns of both the new employee and the Hiring Manager. Topics included 1) key people for the New Hire to know; 2) tools of the trade, such as computer log-ins and directory structures, file-naming conventions and reference materials; 3) a review of job basics, including the New Hire’s job description; 4) a “starter” assignment in which the new employee works independently to quickly add value with minimal supervision. To check on New Hire progress, Hiring Managers and HR schedule formal reviews with New Hires after they have been with the company for 90 days.
- Step 3: Strengthen Corporate Communications – A number of focus-group participants expressed the need for more frequent communications from the company. To address this issue, the company launched a company intranet designed to share lessons learned, project updates, job descriptions, job titles and contact information. It developed additional forums for discussion. And it began conducting exit interviews with departing employees to continue gathering feedback about the factors underlying its employee turnover challenges.
- Step 4: Improve Benefit Communications – In response to focus-group feedback about the need for a better understanding of employee benefits, the company benchmarked its current benefit plans with industry standards. During benefit-enrollment periods, it met with employees in small groups to provide them with an overview of company benefits and announce benefit changes. In addition to strengthening some benefit options, the company also began providing vacation accrual information on employee paychecks.
- Step 5: Introduce Performance Appraisal System – To provide greater clarity with regard to performance expectations, the company introduced a performance appraisal system that includes goal-setting, ongoing performance feedback, employee development and coaching. Training managers on setting goals and providing feedback was given high priority.
- Step 6: Provide Training & Development Opportunities – Many employee suggestions focused on the need for better management training. In response, the company developed a multifaceted T&D program that included Quarterly Workshops for Managers covering topics such as Maintaining a Strong Customer Focus, Interviewing Skills for Managers, and Coaching for High Performance. To build its management pipeline, the company introduced a Leadership Development Program. And to respond to employees’ thirst for learning opportunities, the company launched a series of “Lunch ‘n’ Learn” seminars for all employees.