Enhance communication and productivity for new hires? Here are 6 strategic ways you can adapt!
Employee acquisition is a long and costly process. When you finally manage to find the right fit for the role, that doesn’t mean that the new hire will become a truly productive member of your team anytime soon. At least not without proper onboarding, training, and oversight.
One of your key goals as an employer is to ensure your new hires start producing a positive ROI as quickly as possible. Whether they’re in-house or working remotely, they can only become productive team members if they understand your processes, communication hierarchy and methods, and if they use the right tools.
It’s also important to empower them to advance their skills and continue learning by using the right learning management system and supporting their professional aspirations. Otherwise, they’ll seek out intellectual and professional fulfillment somewhere else.
Elevating productivity in new hires might seem like an overwhelming task, especially when you consider what you need to do as their employer to build thriving teams. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive guide in-house and remote team productivity for new employees.
Let’s dive in.
1. Understand your applicants and their needs
You wouldn’t try to build a landing page without first analyzing your audience, building detailed customer avatars, and then optimizing the page for the unique needs of your target demographic, right? We sure hope not, because the landing page would likely fail, and the same principle applies to your onboarding strategy.
Think of it this way — you know what you need to convey and provide to new hires to turn them into productive employees, but they know the best ways to acquire and retain that knowledge.
With that in mind, it’s important that you analyze, track, and develop a deeper understanding of your applicants. Using an applicant tracking system is a good way to do this, serving as a CRM tool for your applicants and new hires.
If you’re wondering “what is an applicant tracking system”, simply put, it’s a tool that analyzes applicants and their applications to avoid accidental bias and help you make better recruiting decisions for your business. An ATS is also a good tool for applicant tracking and monitoring, allowing you to collect important data to really get to know your potential employees and their needs.
You can use their information to optimize, and more importantly, personalize the onboarding process so that every new hire becomes a productive team member quickly. But that’s just one piece of the puzzle.
To truly inspire productivity, there are a couple of more things you need to do.
2. Build a video-first onboarding process
Onboarding is the foundational pillar of employee productivity, but so many companies get stuck in outdated onboarding practices. Are you guilty of one of these?
- You don’t have a welcome package
- You dump work on new hires from day one
- You don’t have a buddy system
- You use outdated communication channels
- You don’t provide onboarding for in-house tools
- You don’t use interactive or engaging content
- You don’t personalize training and education
- You don’t think it’s important for new hires to meet the whole team
- You don’t solicit feedback from day one
Rest assured that even if you’re guilty of one of these onboarding sins, you could be setting your new hires up for failure in the long run. You need to leverage employee data to boost onboarding, acquisition, and retention.
That said, keep in mind that salary dissatisfaction is still one of the primary drivers of employee churn.
So, what can you do besides offer a competitive salary that falls on the higher end of the pay grade scale for each position?
For one, it’s important to make onboarding more interactive and to make it a visual experience. People don’t want to sift through and read boring manuals, nor are they interested in your HR’s long-winded guide to their job position.
What people want is to consume knowledge in an engaging video format. You can create videos easily online for various onboarding stages and optimize them for a specific job type and rank, but you need to be creative while doing it.
With creative onboarding videos, for example, make sure to:
- Define a friendly and welcoming tone of voice
- Write a script and cover concrete talking points
- Practice the script and adapt according to internal feedback
- Add transitions to your video segments and visual aids like infographics and pop-ups
- Eliminate the background silence by adding some light, nonintrusive music
- The music does not necessarily need to be smooth jazz, think outside the box
- Always have a summary at the end of what you have covered in the video
- Ask the employee to share their feedback, reach out if they have questions at the end of every video
Personalization is also a great tactic to use. While you don’t need to personalize every video for every new hire, you can personalize videos according to job titles, hierarchy, and specific job descriptions.
Video is also a modern communication channel that makes knowledge acquisition and retention more effective. This is especially important for new hires who may feel overwhelmed at their new job.
Lastly, use video onboarding to help newcomers meet the whole team. This can be a short “hello and welcome” video from every team member that they’ll get in their welcome package, or it can be a single video with all your team members saying hello and stating what they do.
3. Promote asynchronous learning in the workplace
Productivity is not demanded, it’s earned. You can only inspire and encourage people to be productive if you provide them with all the tools they need, but also all the opportunities to thrive professionally. That’s why it’s so important to facilitate learning in the workplace for new hires, but also your veteran employees.
People feel stuck when there are no more challenges to overcome and no goals to pursue, but that doesn’t mean that they want you to give them more work. It means that they want their employer to help them acquire new knowledge and skills.
This need has given rise to asynchronous learning in the workplace and career advancement programs that aim to keep employees engaged, but also bring value back to the company. When it comes to productivity, this type of learning and training can give your employees new skills to improve communication and collaboration, as well as their own performance.
Needless to say, education in the workplace is not something you should reserve only for your veteran employees. The sooner you involve your new hires in training and education, the sooner they’ll become productive team members while developing brand loyalty, trust, and commitment.
4. Use the buddy system to empower new hires
It’s tough starting a new job, especially as a remote employee, without anyone to hold your hand and guide you until you become an “independent contributor” in the organization. Unfortunately, employers often expect new hires to become productive team members immediately after completing their onboarding, leading to confusion, stress, and unrealistic expectations.
Fortunately, the buddy system is one of those powerful, but seldom used, tactics that can help new employees manage stress, get their bearings, and start contributing with confidence.
Succinctly, the buddy system is when you pair a new employee with an experienced member of your team. The newcomer learns from their buddy, shadows them, and asks all the relevant questions to get up to speed and master your processes.
This should be done in a specified timeframe, lasting no longer than two weeks.
Using the buddy system, you can reduce the frequency of meetings, have more productive meetings overall with the team, and ensure that the newcomer always has someone to turn to. After all, their experienced buddy will be there to guide them until they get the hang of things.
5. Define your communication hierarchy
None of the things we talked about today can produce the desired results if your new hires are not familiar with your communication hierarchy. You do have a communication hierarchy, right?
In case you don’t have one, don’t worry, let’s build one right now.
A communication hierarchy defines the horizontal and vertical communication lanes, methods, tools, and best practices in your organization. It is the blueprint that all employees can follow to achieve efficient and effective communication across your business, without creating any communication bottlenecks.
And as we all know, inefficient communication is one of the causes of poor productivity, frustration, and confusion in the workplace. It’s also one of the prerequisites to efficient and effective project meetings where communication will go vertically and horizontally. For these and any other processes to be more productive, your experienced employees and your newcomers need to follow the hierarchy.
With that in mind, make sure to:
- Use a whiteboard animation software to create a visual representation of your hierarchy
- Identify your primary and secondary communication channels (video, audio, text, or in person)
- Identify your communication methods and tools
- Specify communication and collaboration within teams and on a cross-department level
- Map out the vertical communication lanes and who reports to whom in your organization
- Map out horizontal communication and how peers should be communicate for efficiency and productivity
- Share your visual communication hierarchy with all team members
Once you have disseminated the document, you can then reach out to employees to see if it makes sense, and accept their feedback. Make sure to monitor the performance of the hierarchy in the first month, and optimize as needed.
This allows your new employees to master proper communication in your business quickly and prevent setbacks.
6. Use the right communication tools
As we’ve mentioned already, good communication is the foundational pillar of productivity and success in the modern workplace. But having a hierarchy alone won’t cut it – you also need to provide your employees with the right tools.
The tools you use should allow you to organize and conduct effective business meetings but also ensure efficient internal and external communication on a daily basis. Some of the communication tools you can consider for your team that can improve productivity include:
- A comprehensive VoIP solution. Voice over internet protocol is a method of placing and receiving calls over the internet, usually encompassing numerous video, audio, and complementary communication tools.
- Loom. This is a video-sharing platform designed to help your employees communicate internally or externally via short video clips.
- Whatsapp for business. A robust messenger app with added features to accommodate business needs like interactive messages, quick replies, team chat rooms, and more.
- Zoom. Probably the most popular video conferencing tool right now, allowing you to conduct efficient video meetings.
- Gmail. An essential tool for formal communication and some file sharing between team members.
- Slack. A communication and collaboration platform where all your teams can work in a centralized location.
- Microsoft Teams. This tool is built around collaboration, allowing team chats, video conferencing, file sharing and storage, as well as various integrations.
Keep in mind that whichever tools you end up using, you need to onboard your new employees to help them use the tools in a productive way. Combined with all the talking points we covered earlier, these tools will allow your team members to communicate and collaborate more effectively whether they’re working in-house or remotely.
Business leaders often feel like they are fighting a losing battle with new hires, simply because it’s difficult to bring new employees into your processes and organization. Your business has a unique culture, a unique brand identity, and of course, specific quality standards that can be impossible to meet without the right tools, onboarding, and management.
Use these strategies to optimize your onboarding process and adapt your approach to managing new employees while inspiring productivity, zeal, and talent retention in 2022.
About the Author
Nina Petrov is a content marketing specialist. She is passionate about graphic design and the new generation of green and social businesses. She starts the day scrolling her digest on new digital trends while sipping a cup of coffee with milk and sugar. Her white little bunny tends to reply to your emails when she is on vacation.