May 29

Are you onboarding your new recruits in such a way as to ensure engagement from the off?

In a recent survey it was found that 19% of employees stay in their roles for less than a year. Widespread feedback from employees was:

• poor or no follow up from the organisation before the job started
• the role did not meet expectations
• unsupported and left to their own devices
• an all-round lack of information and communication.

The old adage that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression is so true when it comes to welcoming new team members to your workforce. A good staff onboarding process helps to build engagement from the outset, assists newcomers to settle in and helps them start their career journey with the best possible impression of you, their new employer.

By focusing on employee wellbeing from the moment they walk through the door, businesses can integrate new recruits quickly and align them with organisational goals. This helps ensure new team members are motivated and engaged, boosting performance and productivity.

Below are the do’s and don’t’s of properly onboarding your new recruits:

Don’t neglect onboarding’s importance

Failing to follow up successful recruitment with an efficient and engaging onboarding process can mean losing the best and brightest talent before they can add value to your business. Over a fifth of employees accept a job and then change their mind due to problems they encounter during the onboarding process.

At best it’s disappointing, at worst it’s very expensive, for businesses who have spent weeks assessing and interviewing candidates, only to have the perfect person turn them down or fail to start work.

Do review onboarding plans and processes

Encourage existing and new staff to give open and honest feedback about their initial experience and impressions of joining your organisation. Find out what problems they encountered, who they dealt with and how their experience made them feel.

One third of the UK employees polled said early or first day problems left them feeling unwelcome.

Knowing what hasn’t gone so well in your onboarding process offers a great opportunity to improve the experience for your next new hires.

Don’t wait until day one

Between a candidate being offered a role and them starting work for you, there are lots of factors that can mean they fail to become an engaged member of your workforce.

No one wants to be kept hanging around waiting for offer details and contracts, so ensure these are issued quickly and accurately. New employees can be tempted away by counter offers before they start.

Often there’s a gap between recruitment and employment, when potential recruits may have little contact with your organisation. Bridging that gap with regular communications shows that you’re already thinking of them as an employee before they arrive. This is especially important when dealing with individuals who have longer notice periods.

Engagement with the business needs to happen immediately. Not later down the line when it’s harder to gain positive engagement.

One effective method is to invite new hires with a longer notice period to social events, so that they get to meet their future colleagues in an informal setting.

Do ensure workers have everything they need on the first day

Creating a welcome experience takes planning, organisation and someone taking responsibility. Create a checklist of what needs to be in place ready for your new hire starting and communicate with all the relevant people or departments.

While not all roles require IT set up, there are other factors to consider to ensure a smooth start.

Do new employees need a uniform, or safety equipment? Do you need to make sure your new starter can access buildings and offices on their first day? Do they need to be added to internal phone or email systems? Whoever needs to be involved, make sure communications and roles are clearly understood.

Don’t presume it’s only up to the new employee to impress. Onboarding is a time when employees are forming their first impressions of your business and deciding whether or not they will commit to sticking around and offer a return on your investment in recruiting them.

Employees who are unhappy, or unsettled within their new role will quickly start to look to move on. Word soon gets around about companies who fail to live up to expectations, so a poor onboarding process could mean you encounter problems in hiring new staff in future.

When you consider the cost every time your business has to advertise, recruit and hire a new employee, making sure that you turn every offer into a productive and loyal employee offers a huge cost saving potential.

Do make use of technology to help manage onboarding

Making use of technology can help your business manage the onboarding process more efficiently and effectively.

By tracking all the tasks involved and ensuring no communications are missed along the way, technology can also help your business deliver an effective onboarding experience.

Do provide culture resources.

After your formal onboarding programmes have concluded, give employees the resources they’ll need to start practicing your culture on their own. If you give them sources to reference as they face their day-to-day work, they’re far more likely to develop culture-strengthening habits.

Make sure your employee handbook includes instructions on company culture, including mission, vision and values training.

Provide easy access to employee handbooks and any other content pieces that explain your culture.

When you assign work mentors, only consider employees who are engaged and active contributors to your company culture.

Do repeat!

Remember that the onboarding process isn’t complete until the employee is totally immersed into your culture. So, ensure ongoing training on culture to keep it top of mind for those who get it, and to educate those who don’t.

Always hold regular one-on-one meetings and use them as opportunities to discuss significant culture elements.

Use company and team meetings as opportunities to discuss your culture, specifically your values.

Do reap the benefits of a robust onboarding process.

Businesses that focus on onboarding and offer a positive experience to new employees can really differentiate themselves from the competition.

Making sure that you transform high quality recruits into productive employees is a positive approach to business success.