I know, it is an easy question to ask. The answer is somewhat complex. In short, though, the most correct answer is that the best programme is the one that is easy for the new employee to learn from, engage with, and that supports the learning progression set by the company.
So there is that. Go implement!
But wait, we are not quite finished here. Given that ‘best’ is highly subjective we must look at “best for who”.
For the company, the best solution for Onboarding of employees is in most cases equal cheap. The cheapest product, process, method. And by cheap means both price but also time and resources, which again leads to a cost.
Price is obviously an important factor for companies. Since no known companies have employee training as individual posts in the yearly financial statements. Or said in another way, companies are not openly connecting employee cost acquisition (ECA) to the cost of having an employee.
Given that recruitment is an industry in growth and more and more companies are focusing on talent attraction and retention, but still, lack in calculating ECA when it comes to Onboarding and further integration of employees. Wages, pensions and benefits are seen as a cost and as an investment in the staff.
If you ask the general CFO of a company they will often ask for an estimated ROI of investing in outside help with Onboarding or tools so you can do it yourself. The thing is that calculating an ROI is somewhat impossible without knowing the index to calculate from. So if you know to EAC in the entire Onboarding period, then you could calculate an ROI. However, knowing EAC means that you already know the cost of onboarding versus not doing anything from the first day the new employee step in through the door.
The other side
So know that we know that very few of us actually know the cost of getting the new colleague, perhaps we can talk about another kind of best.
You have probably experienced being new somewhere. I can be in a sports club, a social gathering or maybe at work. What made you feel like staying at that place longer?
People like to after-rationalise why we did what we did, so saying that you stayed because the others where excellent at tennis, the others had great conversations or the others worked so well together without involving you at all, well, that might be a common explanation. But when you think about it, the reason might as well be that you did not want to pack your stuff and leave. You did not want to be that kind of person.
Feeling included, wanted, needed, are feeling most of us have in any social relation. Even if we work alone in our cubicle a the office, we still want to feel like we are a real part of the group. We want someone to say ‘Goodmorning!’ and ‘What do you think about this solution/problem/angle/situation?’. We are social animals in other words.
If you too are one of the many company owners who does not know the cost of the interruptions, the up to 50 hours of more or less trivial questions, that a new employee asks. And if you too do not know what the cost is of having an employee quit the job within the first year. And not to forget the actual cost of the employee in the entire integration period, then this might cheer you up:
Employees feeling welcome, prepared with knowledge and insights into the process, company and co-workers, and the best possible position for thriving in the new role, tend to stay with you longer, deliver better results and become a valuable asset for your company and employees within a shorter time-frame. So, inclusion and training equal happier and more satisfied employees. And that, exactly that, is something you can see as a result on the bottom line in your yearly financial statements.
So to answer the first question: The best Onboarding programme is the one that is true ‘People first’-oriented. Do that and you will see that the positive financial results will follow.