Change is hard, and when it involves entering a new workplace culture, office space and team of professionals, it's really hard, even while it's exciting. This phase of an employee's life is short but crucial and often overlooked by the employers who are chasing engagement, enthusiasm and loyalty.
Emotional onboarding is the process of tapping into new employees' most primal instincts, the ones that go beyond the bottom line of pay scales and benefits, and into the corners of our minds that worry about making meaningful connections, fitting in and believing we should be where we are. According to Gallup, employees who feel emotionally supported at work are full of purpose, feel safer to unleash bold ideas and are more likely to be top performers...So, yeah, it matters.
Revamping Your Onboarding Process
For employers looking to revamp their onboarding process, think back to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - you'll remember it from psychology class. It's that triangle that demonstrates the basic needs of all humans, starting with food, water and shelter, and moves straight into emotional needs.
Here are some steps for greeting your new employee not just as a co-worker, but as a person who naturally seeks emotional security and a feeling of belonging in their new gig.
Safe and Sound
Whether your new employees is operating heavy machinery or answering phones, your commitment to safety should ring out loud and clear. He or she is entering your work domain and needs to feel safe with the surroundings.
Explain your facility security procedures, introduce them to their neighbors and go over any immediate safety precautions to be taken. Ease their mind and put this part of their needs to rest. They are physically safe - you've got them covered.
Welcome, You Belong Here
Because of our natural human longing for a circle of trusted allies, it's smart for employers to extend the natural warmth of your workplace to the new employee personally. Obviously, you have a team in place, and there's a new kid on the block.
Think of ways to bring them into the fold by including them when the team is together. This is as simple as taking snack breaks together, being added to a group chat, being invited to an after-hours get together or delivering inside tips on how to communicate with superiors or finding hidden parking spots.
Here at BirdDogHR, we invite new employees to share a photo of their dog on our Facebook page - a tradition most of us have been a part of and that stokes our company culture.
Help Them Find Their Tribe and Encourage Best Buddies
Humanity evolved in small clusters of people, and today, "finding your tribe" is the discussion in many circles, from parenting to politics. It's no different in company cultures. In one Gallup report, a workplace where two-thirds of a team's members reported they had a best friend at work saw 20 percent less accidents than a team where only one-third reported a best friend.
Another example in the same report showed that stores with a high number of friendships showed less product disappeared, because as one surveyed person said, "you don't steal from friends." You can kindle these connections by encouraging employees to show their personalities, from workspace decor to casual special interest groups. (Have you ever met a Game of Thrones fan who didn't want to talk about Westeros politics? Or a Crossfit junkie who didn't have an opinion on burpies?)
Heck Yeah, You Deserve to Be Here
The first day of a new job is just like the first day at a new school - exciting, nerve-racking and a little bit terrifying. Those stomach butterflies aren't relegated to the school cafeterias of youth, they're right here and now for new employees. Make sure your new hire knows you find them to be a great fit with all the credentials and know-how to rock their role Everyone likes a metaphorical vote of confidence. It puts them at ease and reminds them of what they already know: They belong here.
Emotional onboarding isn't about babying your new employees. It's about responding to our knee-jerk, survival instinct as a species. Having highly invested employees is in your organization's best interest; emotional onboarding is just the critical first step in that direction.
Looking for onboarding help? The BirdDogHR Employee Onboarding Software gets employees off to a great start while promoting your company culture.
See a free demo here.