A good process for onboarding new employees aids team retention
Hiring the right staff is a big part of any business; it’s an investment of your time and your funds. That’s why it’s vital when onboarding new employees to get the process right, especially when 33% of new hires look for another job within their first 6 months of working at a new place. Employment agency fees can be as high as 30% of annual salary and there is often no clawback if a new recruit leaves after three months.
But what exactly does onboarding new employees entail and how long is the process?
If you’re hiring an experienced member of staff do they still need to go through onboarding?
What does onboarding new employees mean?
According to HR Zone, onboarding is:
“the process by which new hires are emotionally, physically and professionally integrated into the established culture and operations of their new employer.”
It all sounds a bit scary doesn’t it? It’s really not.
Whether you’re joining the firm as an intern or a financial director, there should be some level of onboarding but there will be some differences in approach.
How do you ensure new recruits are committed to the business?
Starting a job at a new firm can be daunting for all of us. We’re entering the unknown and often begin to question whether we’ve made the right decision.
There are things you can do as a business to make the transition easier.
Not only is onboarding vital to ward off unwanted staff turnover, it will also aid new recruits to add value to your business more quickly.
So, listen up and remember that onboarding isn’t just about the first day or week. The process should continue for many months and perhaps even beyond the first year.
1. Don’t try to wing it when onboarding new employees!
Make sure there is a plan in place before new employees arrive. What will the onboarding process include, who do they need to meet and what do they need to know?
If you’re employing the services of professional coaches to help, get that set up first.
2. When onboarding new employees – don’t wait until their first day
The onboarding process can and should start before your new recruit has even joined.
If you have social or sports groups ask them if they would like to come along before they start. Send them links to any preferred reading materials so they can get a feel of the company values and a who’s who.
3. First impressions count
On their first day, make them feel welcome.
Try to leave your diary free so that you can spend time with them and so you won’t be stressed out.
Let other team members know you have a new employee starting on that day, so they can be ready and have time to spend with them too. You want your new recruit to be excited about working with you, not questioning whether you forgot you hired them at all. Take them out for a group lunch with the team so that they feel valued.
4. Give them the tools to do the job
We’ve all been there.
You start a new role only to find you haven’t got the necessary security tag, your mobile phone isn’t going to be ready for two weeks and someone has walked off with your chair. Have everything ready to go for your new starter and make sure someone is on hand to show them where to get stationery and make a tea.
5. Make introductions
Whether it’s through a mid-morning meeting, over coffee or a special planned lunch out, help new employees make introductions and connections so they can start to build relationships.
And don’t forget, in larger companies it can take a while to speak to everyone, so don’t forget to introduce them after the first week. You’ll need to think about how you introduce new employees to clients or suppliers as well in some cases.
6. Don’t drown them in paperwork
There is always an element of signing on the dotted line for new starters but try not to pile up the paperwork and reading material on day one. Spread it out a bit so their first day doesn’t stick in their mind for all the wrong reasons.
7. Arrange Job shadowing and buddies
Giving new employees the chance to see how other departments work and how their role will play a parthelps them to understand the business more quickly.
If they understand how different elements of the business fit together, they’ll be able to add value far quicker. Just make sure that any existing employees who are helping are fully committed and have enough time.
8. Mitigate any skills gap
For many, a new job will be a step up in terms of experience. Perhaps it’s a management role or it carries more responsibility.
Make sure any necessary training and coaching is provided. If candidates are pushed too far out of their comfort zone then the business could suffer and they are more likely to leave because they don’t feel supported.
9. Collect feedback
Don’t forget to make sure you ask new employees how the onboarding process is going.
After the first week, is there anything glaring that’s been missed? Were there people they wanted to meet and didn’t?
Then set up feedback sessions for them and their line manager for the next few months at least. It’s a chance to make sure they’re clear about their objectives and role.
Where to go if you need more help with onboarding new employees
As you can see, successful onboarding involves more than just making sure new employees have everything they need on day one.
You can find guidance online at ACAS, for example.
Another option is to employ the services of a professional executive coach. The cost of the service needs to be considered when compared to losing an employee in the first six months and having to invest more time and money in finding a suitable replacement.
Support with your growing workforce
Being in a position to hire new team members is great; it usually means that your business is growing but it will involve some payroll and tax considerations.
About Jon Pryse-Jones
Since joining THP in 1978, Jon Pryse-Jones has been hands on with every area of the business. Now specialising in strategy, business planning, and marketing, Jon remains at the forefront of the growth and development at THP.
An ideas man, Jon enjoys getting the most out of all situations, “I act as a catalyst for creative people and encourage them to think outside the box,” he says, “and I’m not afraid of being confrontational. It often leads to a better result for THP and its clients.”
Jon’s appreciation for THP extends to his fellow team members and the board. “They really know how to run a successful business,” he says. He’s keen on IT and systems development as critical to success, and he continues to guide THP to be at the cutting edge and effective.