You’ve just hired a talented new candidate for your company. Now what? You want to ensure they feel welcome and part of the team. This is where onboarding comes in. An effective onboarding program will engage new hires, gear them towards their most productive work, and keep them with your company for longer. So how can you go about this? Let’s dive into it:
1. Onboarding vs Preboarding
Studies have revealed that companies with a strong onboarding process can improve employee retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%, so why wouldn’t you want to leverage this? Strong onboarding doesn’t just start from your new hire’s first day though. According to SmarterMedium, it should cover everything from their offer acceptance, through to their first 90 days. One of the most crucial times in this process is the period prior to their first time working in the office. This falls in to the domain of ‘preboarding’ – a subset of onboarding which is often overlooked (when it really shouldn’t be!).
Preboarding involves making the new hire feel welcome before they even step foot in the workplace. It’s about making them feel at ease, so that when they do start, they are confident in their decision to have accepted a role with your company. Preboarding is an essential part of candidate nurturing. It can be as simple as staying in contact with them before their first day and answering any questions they may have, to sending an email to everyone in the company announcing their arrival. It can also involve emailing through any relevant employee paperwork so they can complete these formalities in their own time. This means they can spend their time in the office meeting everyone and settling in – not overwhelmed by paperwork.
2. Preparation is key
It’s important to be prepared for new talent as soon as they arrive. There’s nothing worse than a new hire showing up on their first day and you’re not ready for them. You will just be frazzled and they will feel unwelcome – this is not the impression you want them to have of your company….unless you want them to be running for the door. Part of preparing for their arrival includes ensuring their desk is appropriately set up, that their login and email is established, and that an access card is prepared for them. When they arrive, you should be friendly in your welcome, and take the time to show them around and introduce them to everyone. A key element of a positive onboarding experience is that it is well thought-out, not rushed through.
3. Friends matter
An effective on-boarding program will encourage new hires to remain with your company, ultimately reducing turnover and enhancing your company’s culture and reputation. Since on-boarding extends well beyond their first day, you want to set up the foundations for a great experience right off the bat. A great idea is to set up a team lunch on your new hire’s first day, so that they can meet their new team in a more informal setting and start to form friendships. According to SHRM, a survey of 716 full-time US workers revealed that almost two-thirds of those who had 6-25 workplace friends said they loved their company. You want your new hires to feel the same way about your company, so you should facilitate these friendships from the very beginning.
4. Build in automation
Integrating automation into your onboarding process is helpful in making the entire experience much more efficient and consistent. You can cover all the formalities, like providing your new talent with the necessary paperwork and policies, without going to too much effort. You can also rest assured that all important information will be communicated. Automation also allows for the quick and effective collection of data from these hires. You can use this to create an engaging preboarding experience. For example, you can survey your new hires to learn of their favourite song, then, on their first day, send through a link of it. Little touches like this can go a long way in making your new hires feel valued, ultimately helping you to retain your top talent.
5. Establish responsibility
It’s a great idea to assign the onboarding process to one of your team members. By establishing ownership over this domain, onboarding will be given the treatment and time it requires. It won’t just be an afterthought. An established onboarding process is important if it is to be effective. You want consistency in the treatment of all new hires – by developing a process and creating accountability over it, you can ensure it will be completed properly.
6. Set expectations
Ensure your new hire knows exactly what’s expected of them by providing them with an insight to the tasks they will be working on. Do this from the beginning so they can feel as though they have a purpose and will be making a contribution to your company. No one wants to arrive at a new job and have nothing to do. They want a purpose.
Onboarding is one of the most important processes when acquiring new talent. If you want to retain strong team of talented people, then you need to ensure you take the necessary steps at this stage to make a good impression and ensure everyone feels valued. But remember, it shouldn’t stop here. You should constantly be nurturing your team and embedding this philosophy into the essence of your business. That is what makes a great company.