Monday, March 12, 2012
The Top 10 Reasons to Implement Employee Onboarding – If You Want Your Business to Provide Great Customer Service
In today's challenging economy, companies of all sizes need to stand out in order to attract new customers and retain existing customers. One way to stand apart from the competition is by providing excellent customer service. Oddly, many companies are providing poor or even horrible service these days. But one way to create quality customer service is to invest in your employees. While this is not a new idea, it is often difficult to implement on a consistent basis. The solution is to implement employee onboarding – and ten reasons are detailed below. I have provided five reasons, and Gina Abudi has provided the other five.
According to Wikipedia, “Onboarding or organizational socialization refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders. Tactics used in this process include formal meetings, lectures, videos, printed materials, or computer-based orientations to introduce newcomers to their new jobs and organizations. Research has demonstrated that these socialization techniques lead to positive outcomes for new employees such as higher job satisfaction, better job performance, greater organizational commitment, and reduction in stress and intent to quit. These outcomes are particularly important to an organization looking to retain a competitive advantage in an increasingly mobile and globalized workforce."
Allow me to introduce Gina Abudi, President of Abudi Consulting Group in New Hampshire. She has more than 20 years of experience working with organizations of all sizes from small businesses to global organizations. Gina shares her expertise about projects, processes, and people with clients and often presents at conferences, forums, and corporate events on management and project management topics. She has also written a variety of white papers and case studies, and co-wrote a book about best practices for small business. You can find Gina on Twitter, her company website, and her Blog.
Without further ado, here are my five reasons:
 Create a connection: From day one, new employees realize that they are valued because they go through the same instructional sessions as everyone else – which creates a level playing field – no one is exempt from the process.
 Explain culture: New employees learn about the company’s way of doing business, its mission, its values, and its competitive advantage. Without an explanation on day one, new employees can easily wonder why a company differs from the competition.
 Teach technology: New employees should be introduced to all technological tools that will be at their disposal, ranging from desktop computers to laptops to fax machines to printers to telephones to smartphones to tablets, etc. No new employee should be hindered from doing actual work due to technology.
 Clarify procedures: New employees need to understand how company procedures work, who reports to whom, how the chain of command works, how authority is determined, how departments work together, etc. These procedures can be outlined in organizational charts, presentations, spreadsheets, etc., but they must be explained at the outset.
 Learn from failures: New employees enter their new jobs full of energy, enthusiasm, and with an abundance of new ideas. But they need to understand why previous successes happened as well as why previous failures happened before jumping into the specifics of their positions.
And now, Gina Abudi joins the discussion. Here are her five reasons:
 Increase efficiencies and effectiveness: New employees get up-to-speed much quicker, and therefore, are productive sooner in their roles when time is invested up front in onboarding them and showing them the ropes.
 Have a buddy to lean on: New employees appreciate the opportunity to have someone they can rely on right at the start. Someone who knows the ropes, can provide guidance, introduce them around the company, have lunch with them, and to whom they can ask those “silly” questions.
 Introduce customers: If your employees are on the road – such as sales folks or customer support specialists – be sure to have them bring new employees along with them to learn the ropes. It helps the new employees to get to know the customer and provides them with an increased level of comfort when they are with someone who already knows and understands the customer.
 The unwritten rules: There are unwritten work rules in every company – such as usual hours worked in a day, how decisions get made, how much risk is tolerated, who to go to when you need some help or need to get something done, etc. Rather than letting new employees learn these unwritten rules through trial and error, give them a leg up by sharing the information up front. It increases the new employee’s chances of success within the organization.
 Relationship building: Strong working relationships are essential to every employee’s success. Give them a head start in building relationships within the organization by helping them connect with others within the business on day one through personal introductions, lunches with members from various department members, and after hour events.
I would like to thank my employee engagement colleague, Gina Abudi, for sharing her perspective. Employee engagement is a critical part of building successful long-term employees who become amazing advocates for your brand – and the best result is excellent customer service, which in turn, creates long-term satisfied customers.
So what do you think? What are some of your reasons?
Posted by Debbie Laskey, MBA