Strategic Onboarding: Are you making these common mistakes? - Alorica - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
In the customer contact business, we onboard a lot of people, all of the time. Your onboarding process should be a well-oiled, well-designed, well-executed, value-add machine. Is it?
For too many companies, the onboarding process begins with new hire orientation, and ends there as well. The new agent is thrown into the training process and onto the production floor with no continuity, and no sense that they are cared for by the organization or their direct leaders. So they do not care in return, which leads to poor performance and high levels of attrition.
Strategic Onboarding is the process of integrating new employees into the organization, preparing them to succeed at their job, and to become fully engaged, high-performing members of the organization. A great overview on Why Onboarding Matters was published by Eric Berg.
It is emphatically not new hire orientation. Some of the most common mistakes made during onboarding include:
- Big bang, one-day event: Onboarding needs to involve frequent touchpoints and a series of milestones.
- One-size-fits-all for learning: The onboarding process needs to prepare new employees through individual and targeted training that accommodates learning and integration at a different pace.
- Onboarding devoid of cultural assimilation: Onboarding needs to include opportunities to engage, socialize and understand the culture, and embrace the core values of an organization. This is one of the most important factors in why employees stay with a company.
- Forgetting to assess success with key metrics: Onboarding needs to be measured in terms of time-to-proficiency and impact on retention. If you are not measuring it, you’re not managing it.
Strategic onboarding works when it significantly reduces the new employee’s “Denial to Acceptance” curve, and accelerates integration of the employee into the organization. The new agent moves quickly from nervousness and lack of confidence on day one to being an independently productive agent, typically in less than the standard 90-day expected time frame.
What steps are involved in a Strategic Onboarding process? Typically it can be thought of as three phases: Align, Integrate and Accelerate.
- Align ensures that the agent is clear on what to expect, on day one and going forward. Surprises breed lack of confidence, so minimize them.
- Integrate focuses on training and immersion into the culture of the company and the program. This is the critical step of making the agent feel at home, feel wanted, and feel that they want to be there.
- Finally, Accelerate keeps the agent engaged with their own future through ongoing direction, support, and development activities. Achieving buy-in on a reasonable, achievable image of the future makes the success of the agent and the success of the program the same, and combines the power of “me” and the power of “we.” Each of these steps must be specifically broken down and supported, with precise 30-60-90-day touch points, strong 360 coaching, and career pathing from day one.
The effort involved to get a Strategic Onboarding program in place at your organization should pay off substantially. Agents will come up to speed sooner, re-training and attrition in training will be minimized, and overall retention will go up. Like any machine, it takes good design and care in operation, but Strategic Onboarding can add power to your contact center and drive measurable results.
Publish Date: February 5, 2016 5:00 AM
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