The key to effective onboarding? Going back to your roots.

Over time, it has become clear that hiring for skills alone will not always yield the results everyone would like. Of course, skills are important but they can be taught - values, however, can’t be easily taught, so it’s important to be hiring for skills and values together. The good news is that plenty of managers have already made this shift in the hiring process. The bad news is that too many employers are forgetting to really solidify these values during the onboarding process?

Where do values fit in?

Every organisation has a set of core values, usually relating to these four main areas of business:

  • People
  • Customers
  • Products
  • Processes

These values are the deciding factors behind what happens in the everyday interactions of your organisation and they are a huge influence behind your workplace culture. Throughout recent years, there has been a huge importance placed on ‘culture’, but it’s far from a vague millennial idea of an interesting workplace. If your organisation doesn’t have a positive, inclusive culture you are giving your new employees a reason to leave, before they’ve even begun.

The simple fact of the matter is that culture has a huge impact on retention. A research report by TinyPulse found that employees in a positive work environment are 40% less likely to think about getting a new job while those employees who feel as though they don’t fit into the culture are 12% less likely to see themselves staying in the organisation for the long term. It’s clear that your culture matters and your values shape your culture - so it’s important to really hone in on those things throughout the onboarding process.

Is your culture based on your values?

The great thing about culture is that if you are intentional in letting your values play out, your culture should accurately reflect them. If you’re not sure where your organisation is at, then it might be time to take a close look at both your culture and your values to see how you’re tracking. We’ve included three examples of how you can use your values to create culture and how to use them both as you are training new employees and completing the onboarding process.

  1. Is one of your core values sustainability? Sustainability looks different in every business, but perhaps for yours it means no single-use plastic and easily accessible recycling bins in the office. If those things aren’t around or employees are blatantly going against these core values by never using the correct bin or bringing in takeaway coffee cups every morning, it stands to reason that a newcomer could question how important sustainability really is to your organisation.

    During the onboarding process, you can make these values clear by letting your new hire know where all the recycling bins are and making them aware that there are mugs available for use.
  2. Is one of your core values accountability? If it is, then your employees would regularly be sharing their progress on certain projects and would all have at least one person they can report to to ensure they stay accountable throughout the process. If this isn’t happening, it can be hard to instill the importance of accountability to a new employee.During the onboarding process, it would be beneficial to tell your new hire who they can report to and make it clear that sharing their progress is encouraged.
  3. Is one of your core values safety? There is no doubt that the safety of your employees and of your customers is high up on your list of values. Safety looks different in every workplace. If you have power cords running along the floor or employees wearing unsuitable footwear, any new employees may think that this is the norm, potentially putting themselves in danger.


During the onboarding process, give your new employee a safety manual so they can get to grips with the procedures of the office so that they are safety

These are three simple examples that show the interplay of culture and values and how important they are to onboarding your employees and retaining them for the long haul.

Get your values in check to get your culture positive and your employees through the onboarding process effectively. Employees use their integration into your organisation’s culture as a thermometer for how long they will stay with you, so make sure you put in effort to make it an engaging, inclusive and values-based workplace.

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Greg Weiss is one of Australia’s most renowned career coaches. He is the author of “So You Got A Job, WTF Is Next”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7 step guideline for new employees so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at https://www.wtfisnext.wtf/

He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.

Greg also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365.