Successful employee onboarding

First impressions are important – not only for the candidate during the interview process, but also for the organisation in retaining talent in the hiring process and the initial stages of employment.

Employee onboarding at its most basic can be defined as the induction of new talent into the organisation. However, we argue that onboarding done right is the process of turning fresh hires into productive employees as quickly as possible. Successful management of the initial onboarding process is essential for the business as employees who are assimilated into their role and the wider organisational culture will be more engaged and less likely to quit; saving the organisation time, money and resources on re-hiring or having to re-train employees further down the line.

Research has found that employees prefer a more structured onboarding process to instil confidence in the business and their ability in the role. Keeping this in mind, Mason and Dale have put together three key tips to develop your organisation’s onboarding strategy to successfully engage and retain employees.           

  1. Go beyond the first day.

Show commitment to creating a great onboarding process by starting before the employee’s first day of employment. This can be an extremely nerve-wracking process for the new hire, so releasing a clear itinerary of the first few days can help alleviate the fear of the unknown and shows commitment to investing in the person.

Similarly, this process does not have to just be cramming everything into one first day – give employers enough time to understand and immerse themselves in their new environment. Rushing the process to save costs can be more expensive further down the line if you have to re-hire.

  1. Socialise with your new hire.

Socialisation is extremely important not only for making the working environment enjoyable, but for communication organisation culture and company values. Be present as a manager to regularly check in with your new hire both formally and informally and ensure there is ample opportunity for the team to get to know one another.

One tactic that many companies utilise is planning social events to welcome new employees. This will go a long way in making your worker feel valued and settle in as part of the team. Companies could also develop a mentoring or buddy system to so new employees have a point of contact they are comfortable reaching out to for any queries; and who knows, the ‘buddy’ could be flattered by this additional responsibility and trust!

  1. Clearly communicate role expectations.

Before the new hire starts, a thorough job analysis should be conducted to identify:

What will their duties be?

What skills or softwares will they need to learn to work effectively?

What wider policies and procedures need to be communicated to the employee?

Employees should be given training packets that identify what development programmes are required, how these will be conducted (e.g. online or classroom-based) and the timeline for doing so. Having formal training sessions conducted by experts with frequent feedback will do wonders for ensuring employees fully understand the expectations set for them and prevent future clashes.

You could even take this one step further into your recruitment practices: having a comprehensive job description that accurately describes the role will do wonders for attracting the right employees even before onboarding.

The key theme in each of these is the employer appearing on the one hand welcoming and approachable, but also professional and prepared for the new employee. This will go a long way of helping employees settle in with the team, the duties and align themselves with the wider culture of the organisation.

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