We are in the last month of the year and now seems opportune to revisit the topic of employee onboarding. There have been many hires in the year- some are still within their probation periods, while others are on their way towards finishing their first year at work. Now is the time to reflect on how your employees’ experience has been in your company so far.
The employee onboarding experience is not just an orientation program. It starts before the new staff shows up at work, and enables him to be part of the company culture the moment he is hired. It gives him access to materials, information, and tools needed to work productively towards common goals, and also improves retention rates, particularly within the crucial first 90 days of employment.
A good onboarding experience provides many benefits to both the employee and employer beyond just quickly getting the employee up to speed, whereas a bad one can leave a bad feeling in both the employer and employee. The reason we are bringing up this now is because of an article we read about a person’s terrible first day at work. It raised many red flags as to how poor his onboarding experience had been.
Now, let’s reflect on the importance of a good employee onboarding experience.
Companies often invest plenty of time and resources in recruiting new talents. However, bringing in your new hires on board is only the beginning- the next step that comes is equally, if not more, important. That is, to retain the talents that you have worked so hard to hire.
Why is onboarding so important?
Onboarding involves management and other employees and can last as long as 12 months. If done correctly, onboarding can lead to several positive outcomes for both employees and employers, such as higher job satisfaction, organizational commitment, lower turnover rates, higher productivity, career effectiveness, and lower stress levels. It can be the next talent management strategy to ensure that new hires are assimilated with all the necessary skills and knowledge, and adjust quickly to the social aspects of their new jobs.
On the flip side, the failure to onboard adequately leads to the withdrawal of potentially good employees due to confusion and anxiety, the feeling of being alienated and lack of confidence. So, now that you know the importance of effective onboarding, how do you ensure your onboarding strategy is directed towards success? You may want to consider concentrating your efforts on 4 phases:
Phase 1: Before The New Hire Starts Work
Always prepare earlier before your new hire starts work. This includes creating an agenda for your new employee’s first week at work or at least an agenda for the first day. Ensure that the workstation for the new hire is ready with a proper Internet and email connection. Fill the desk with stationery supplies needed and include important documents such as organizational charts and an employee handbook. Start a good impression and help reduce new hire’s stress by emailing to them helpful information such as dress code, parking suggestions at the new office and who to ask for on their first day at work.
Phase 2: The First Day/Week
Help new hires familiarise themselves with the office layout through an office tour. Include details such as where the washrooms and pantries are located, and where to find the printers, scanners and fax machines. Use at least the first day as a full-day orientation for your new hire. Introduce them to your other employees and allow them the opportunity to blend in before starting work.
Organize a welcome lunch for new hires or at least get their current teammates/department heads to take the new hires out for lunch. Set aside time for casual conversations and introductory meetings. Hand them an engaging Employee Handbook- Also known as the Company’s Employee Manual. This document presents the company’s stories, missions, and core values, and also establishes guidelines like dress codes, company policies, parking recommendations, employee benefits and code of conduct. This can help them feel acclimated to the company culture immediately and over time, increase employee engagement and loyalty. After the first day, sometime during the first week, plan for a manager’s meeting. Use this to share helpful information such as management style, work expectations and cover important work processes.
Phase 3: The First Few Months
Conduct a monthly check-in to ensure that the new hires are settled-in, comfortable and engaged. Communication is the key to keep them engaged and to spot any early discontentment. Always review and give thoughtful feedback to them. If the company budget allows it, invest in training your new hire. Alternatively, you can allocate a buddy or a mentor within the team to properly train your new hire. Continue your check-ins with the new hires even after three months to show that you sincerely care for them.
Phase 4: The First Year
At the end of the first year, conduct a new hire’s first performance review. By now, the new hire should be fully integrated with his or her job and into the company work culture. Identify areas of weakness and plan for continuous development. You will be able to see if he or she is productive and truly belongs to your company.
The new hire phase is a critical time for the employee and company and having a structured set of procedures will make positive impressions that stay with new employees for the duration of their careers. Companies typically have little chance to recoup their loss in investment in new hires who leave the company before the end of their first year. Therefore, it is crucial to have a properly defined onboarding strategy in place to convert new hires into effective performers and increase the retention rates, ultimately bringing a positive impact on productivity and workforce stability.
So how do you think you can better improve your organization’s Employee Onboarding Program?
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