Effective hiring and onboarding processes are crucial to ensuring employees feel welcome and included as they set the tone for an employee’s tenure with the company. In fact, 94% of employees say it’s somewhat or very important to them that their workplace is somewhere they feel they belong, according to research from the American Psychological Association’s 2023 Work in America survey.
The right approach can help employees feel seen and valued from day one, positively impacting recruitment, retention, engagement and productivity. So, how can you create inclusive hiring and onboarding practices? Read on to find out.
Creating Inclusive Hiring and Onboarding Practices
Some employers place a strong emphasis on preparing new hires to be productive and fail to help them settle in, which can lead to higher turnover rates. Nearly 40% of U.S. employees stated that they would switch jobs to be part of a more inclusive workplace culture, according to a survey by QuestionPro Workforce and EQ Community.
As employees’ first impressions of an organization are typically formed during their first few months, it’s vital to implement inclusive hiring and onboarding practices. Consider doing the following to get started:
- Assess job descriptions. Employers’ use of language in job descriptions can significantly impact how job candidates feel about an organization. Exclusive language can discourage talented job applicants from applying for open positions. For example, phrases like “must be a native English speaker” can discourage people who speak English as a second language from applying.
- Emphasize diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) during hiring and onboarding. Job candidates and new hires want to know what their employers value. The hiring and onboarding processes are an opportunity for employers to emphasize the importance of DE&I and share how their organization strives to create a more inclusive environment. This may include providing resources on how to get involved in workplace DE&I efforts (e.g., employee resource groups).
- Prepare the team for new hires. Adding a new employee to a team will inevitably affect team dynamics. It’s crucial that every team member understands their responsibility to create an inclusive and welcoming environment. Managers can prepare their teams for new hires by establishing clear expectations and responsibilities for existing employees. Employers can also provide new hires with a mentor or advisor to ensure they don’t feel neglected or overlooked during onboarding.
- Establish inclusive self-identification policies. Employees want to feel valued and respected as their authentic selves at work. For employers, this means respecting the way employees self-identify. Employers can create an inclusive environment for new hires by asking for their preferred pronouns, encouraging employees to use their pronouns in their email signatures and educating existing employees when needed.
- Personalize the onboarding process. While certain aspects of the onboarding process may need to remain uniform (e.g., mandatory forms and company policy), employers can help new hires feel welcome by personalizing certain aspects. Personal touches, such as introductory meetings with co-workers and managers, can help employees feel welcomed after joining an organization.
- Maintain open communication. Employers should continue to check in with recent hires after the initial orientation process. This can help relieve employee anxieties, make new hires feel welcome and provide employees with a resource for any questions or issues.
Evaluating the Hiring and Onboarding Process
Once you’ve optimized your hiring and onboarding processes, it’s important to evaluate these new practices to ensure they’re working. The following can help your organization ensure continual improvement:
- Enable individuals to report issues. Employers that allow applicants and employees to report accessibility issues with their website or job descriptions (e.g., providing a form or link) can quickly respond to improve the user experience.
- Ask for employee feedback. Employers can ask new hires to share their experiences through multiple channels (e.g., in-person or anonymously) to improve their understanding of the onboarding experience and how to improve for future hires.
- Evaluate critical metrics for success. Standard measures of positive hiring outcomes typically include employee performance, job satisfaction and organizational loyalty. Employers can assess critical metrics, such as retention rates and employee competency, to evaluate the success of inclusive hiring and onboarding practices. Employers may need to reevaluate and start again if inclusive measures don’t yield expected improvements.
Employers that make the extra effort to create inclusive hiring and onboarding practices may be more successful at creating diverse, productive and welcoming workplaces. This can boost attraction, improve workplace culture, strengthen employer branding, increase employee loyalty and ultimately positively impact an organization’s bottom line.