The process of onboarding new employees can be one of the most critical factors in ensuring recently hired talent are productive.
Finding the best candidates for positions in your organisation is hard, but you mustn’t sit back once this is complete. Finding the perfect candidate is only part of building an effective team.
At Guidant Global, we recognise the importance of engagement. Onboarding is a crucial part of this. It’s one of the most critical factors for ensuring recently hired talent will be productive and happy at work. It also contributes to your employer brand which can help you ensure you can attract the best talent, both now and in the future.
Onboarding vs. Orientation
Onboarding and orientation are two terms often used interchangeably however have different meanings. To create a successful onboarding process, the terms need to be correctly defined to ensure that the two processes are not conflated.
Orientation is necessary. It’s the paperwork and other routine tasks that need to be completed. It’s the process done immediately after an employee joins to make them aware of the company culture and the work they need to do. Orientation should be considered as a single, but vital part of the onboarding process.
Onboarding is a thorough process that can last up to a year. It begins when a new hire is made an offer for employment and continues until they are fully established in their new position.
Why is onboarding important?
There is no second chance for making a first impression. One in five employees leave their job during their probation period, showing just how crucial this period is.
Having a smooth onboarding process will produce more satisfied employees, reducing turnover and building loyalty. It helps boost employee engagement, while a Gallup study also indicates that there is a positive correlation between engaged employees and the company’s profitability.
Mastering the onboarding process can be tricky and time-consuming. While it takes time and patience, in today’s talent market where the candidate is increasingly being treated as the customer, having a clear plan in place means onboarding can be implemented smoothly.
The golden rules of onboarding
Planning, communication and feedback are all key aspects to long-term success in business regardless of the task, and it’s no different in the onboarding process.
Planning should be integrated into the recruitment plan. Having a detailed and outlined plan of the onboarding process means there is no confusion about what needs to be undertaken and when. While certain processes will differ from role to role, having an outlined path ensures that no stage gets missed out or overlooked.
Thorough planning ensures everything is in place for your employee’s first day at work. Done well, your employees will have a positive experience.
By creating a schedule of tasks, it helps the process be more efficient as it breaks down everything that needs to be completed, with a timeframe. This eliminates repetition and despite an initial workload, it means that you have an effective checklist to follow ensuring consistency when onboarding candidates.
The checklist: Before the first day
- Employee contract & background checks – make sure these are conducted with enough time so that you don’t delay your employee's start date. There will be different requirements dependant on the role, but every position will require even a basic background check.
- Send a welcome booklet.
- Formalities – request keys/ badges/ passes for accessing the company premises or buildings they need access to.
- Workplace – ensure that your new employee has a workplace that is fully functioning (data access, computer, chair, licenses etc.)
- Employee training – organise workplace safety training and any other training before the employee starts.
- Mentor – appoint a colleague as a mentor to assist with any questions and to support their integration throughout this early stage.
The first day
- Introduction – have colleagues in the same department introduce themselves.
- Formalities – give the new employee all the relevant passes and keys so that they have access to the areas they need.
- Company tour – give a tour of the building, so that employees have the opportunity to ask questions. It should include information about where to find the bathrooms, kitchens, stationary and any other facilities that you have onsite.
There is more to onboarding than just the first day, so it’s important to not overwhelm your new employee with too much information right away.
The first week
- Benefits – show your employee about the products and/or services and the benefits that they are entitled to.
- Team onboarding – have colleagues from their new department give overviews of their roles and tasks. This will help your employee gain a greater understanding of their role in the team, and how their work is meaningful. This improves employee engagement.
First week onward
- Initial goals – having structure and direction is important for the new generation of workers. It’s important they understand their role, when tasks need to be completed and how their work impacts the business. Having initial goals feeds into this.
- Networking – help your new employee make inter-departmental contacts through shared actives, this all adds to a sense of belonging increasing their loyalty to your company.
- Development opportunities – workplace development is a key motivator for generation Z employees. With an emphasis on professional growth, the workforce will remain more engaged and loyal to your company. Not only does this improve employee retention, but it also allows your business to harness the creative energy of a highly-skilled workforce.
Communication is key throughout the onboarding process. Open and honest communication starts the relationship off with mutual trust and respect and sets the tone for the future.
Contact should be consistent even before they join the organisation. Providing updates to your candidate about expected time frames helps ensures a positive experience and means they will feel more in control of the process. By setting expectations it eliminates or reduces the potential for uncertainty or misunderstandings.
A welcome booklet should be sent in advance of their first day, providing new employees with information about your company. It could also include FAQs or articles where your company has recently featured in the news.
While providing information, it should not include so much that it’s overwhelming. Its aim is to help remove some of the stress surrounding the first day at work.
Open communication should be maintained throughout your employees’ career. By starting the relationship with their manager in the early days of their employment it makes it easier for future conversation going forward.
This is not only beneficial in the onboarding process but also contributes to creating an open environment, helping to maintain a mentally healthy workplace.
Request onboarding feedback. Once your new employee is fully settled, it’s a good idea to send over a feedback questionnaire.
This can highlight what you have done well throughout the onboarding process, as well as areas that need to be improved. With this information you can review your onboarding process and action the areas that need improvement, ensuring an even better onboarding experience for future candidates.
Onboarding is not a one-day, one-week, or one-month event. Whilst it does require a fair amount of time and commitment when done well the rewards are plentiful.