Onboarding: Five tips to get the best out of your new hires

by MPA10 Nov 2015
Recruiting is hard, but retaining talent is harder. According to research conducted by the Aberdeen Group, within the first six months in a job 86% of new hires make their decision to leave or stay. This astounding statistic should be at the front of every HR manager’s mind when they make a new hire.
 
I’ve seen some of our customers lead the way in developing effective ways to ensure a successful, long-term hire. A well-developed onboarding program is a key part of this. Onboarding is, in a nutshell, a program ensuring that new employees are equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and resources to become a valuable part of an organization. It takes into account the professional but, just as importantly, the social aspects of beginning a new job. It begins before the employee’s first day and can continue for as long as the organisation and the employee need.
 
There are five things you should keep in mind when developing a successful onboarding program.
 
1 Proceed with a plan or strategy in place
A common mistake that managers make is to wait until problems arise, then deal with them accordingly. Many managers will teach the employee on a need-to-know basis. This is known as ‘onboarding on the go’. While this may seem like the easiest option, it means that an employee does not have comprehensive onboarding knowledge, and leads to a disruptive introduction to the company. Instead, develop and implement a clear strategy, and attempt to foresee any potential problems that may arise before the new hire starts.
 
2 Talk to existing employees
Ensure that you talk to existing employees regarding areas in which your onboarding system may be lacking. Nobody knows what is needed better than an employee who has been through the system, whether it’s the newest graduate or a senior manager. It’s important to remember that onboarding is an end-to-end process. Speak to employees who have been through the system, and take their feedback on board. Ask open-ended questions about areas for improvement, and try to implement this in your onboarding programs.
 
3 Pay attention to details as well as the big picture
Take the time to organise all aspects of the onboarding process prior to the new employee’s arrival, to ensure this is as streamlined as possible. While many managers may think of the wider programs, such as setting up of email, submission of forms, and quarterly reviews, it’s vital to focus on the things that may seem trivial. Does the employee know how to contact IT? Have they been formally introduced to their co-workers? While this may sound pedantic, your employee will be much happier if you cover all bases.
 
4 Have everything ready to go on the first day
Make sure everything is ready for new employees when they start. Nothing is more disruptive for a new employee than stationery and paperwork arriving in dribs and drabs during their first few days. We recommend providing a ‘starter kit’ for employees, with everything they need, such as computer log-in, stationery and paperwork. This allows them to start personalising their workspace and to get up to speed as quickly as possible.
 
5 Use technology
Employers and HR managers should understand the value of technology during the onboarding process. This technology can range from internal communication, to automating contracts, documentation and payroll. Many managers have daily headaches over paperwork and organization of new employees’ details, when in reality this can easily be automated and streamlined.
 
By integrating systems, information gathered from the recruitment phase can be transferred to other systems that are designed to handle the administrative aspects of onboarding. This eliminates the administrative burden for you and lets you focus on the more important aspects of your job.
Technology also allows you to report on the success of your recruitment and onboarding process, as well as to respond to any issues that may arise in the future.
 
So whether you’re dealing with one new employee a month, or dozens, a well developed onboarding process will help ensure a low turnover and high satisfaction for all staff , all while saving you time, effort, and money.
 
 
 
This is a slightly amended version of an article written by Karen Evans, managing director at NGA.NET. It has been shortened to make it suitable for web publishing.

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