Onboarding is the process of integrating new talent into an organisation. Smooth and seamless onboarding is a foolproof way of increasing retention rates and job satisfaction within the workplace. Companies aspiring to attract new hires and hold onto them shouldn’t underestimate the power of a stellar onboarding.
It’s no secret that in today’s market talent has more opportunities than ever before. Candidates hold the power which means they can be fastidious about jobs that hit their radar. So, how do you first win the candidate over? Being completely transparent is key. Prospective employees need to know what the salary bracket is, what incentives are on offer, the company’s approach to flexible working – these, along with the criteria of the role and experience required, should all be tied into an engaging job advert. When all of the above is covered, you can expect candidates to be knocking at your door. Once the chosen candidate makes that leap through the door, be sure to rule out the possibility of a sharp exit with effective onboarding.
FACT – Did you know that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if the onboarding process is great?
With this statistic in mind Sarah McKenna HR Recruitment recently caught up with Jen Tait (a specialist in new starter development) from Rise Learning Group to discuss how to give your staff all the tools they need to familiarise themselves with their role and start behaving like a company insider.
Here are 9 onboarding best practices to maximise success in your workplace.
The onboarding process should begin as soon as an employee accepts the job offer. Pre-engagement is a great way to settle an employee’s first-day nerves, plus 37% of new employees who accept a job offer change their minds due to poor early communication, so do not let the line run cold! Consider sending welcome videos to new hires so they can put names to faces before day one; meeting the team can often be the most daunting part of starting a new job so this could really prevent any unnecessary panic. Alternatively, if you’re dealing with a large cohort, a short Zoom call and a few ice breakers will help to establish a connection before new hires even step foot in the office.
TOP TIP – as an icebreaker, ask new hires what their favourite song is while on a Zoom call. Then on their first day, while they’re filling in paperwork or having an on-site tour, stream a playlist full of the cohort’s favourite songs – this is a really nice, personal touch which will show you’ve taken note and you’re doing everything you can to make staff feel at ease.
It’s important to incorporate the company’s culture and values into the onboarding process. This could be something as simple as providing a tour of the office/building, sharing reading material that outlines the company’s mission and vision, or conducting an informal chat about the organisation’s traditions and practices.
Research shows that employees prefer a blended approach to training, so with that in mind we recommend that you provide trainer-led activity through both virtual and classroom-based work. Trainers should be engaging with their delivery to really capture the attention of new hires and employees competence should be assessed throughout.
In addition to formal training, assigning a mentor with each new hire can help them feel supported during the onboarding process. Having somebody to shadow and to answer any questions will help the new starter settle into their role quicker.
Perhaps the most challenging hurdle in the onboarding process, implementation is all about getting down to the job in hand. The training period is over and the new hire will now be expected to slot into a structured timetable. Studies show that this is typically the time when new starters will abort the mission. Employees leave behind their ‘safe space’ in the training zone – a space they’ve become quite accustomed to – and now the real work begins. This is a super daunting transition which can be made far worse if the reality of the job doesn’t meet expectations.
FACT – 91% would leave within the first month due to poor management engagement and a discrepancy between expectations and reality.
Don’t overload the employee with KPIs and unattainable targets – this will induce panic. Instead, set realistic goals for the new employee – this will help the new hire feel motivated and engaged in their work. It’s also a great way to help them understand how their individual role and work contributes to the overall success of the company.
Key when it comes to onboarding best practices is offering regular feedback and conducting frequent check-ins. Staff members should be ensuring that new employees are adjusting well to their new role and should address any concerns they may have through one-to-one sessions.
Another onboarding best practice tip is to celebrate the new employee’s milestones. Has it been a month since they first started? Have they successfully completed their probation period? Celebrating the small wins will keep the new hire feeling seen and valued.
Last, but certainly not least, in our Onboarding Best Practices To Maximise Success blog is being able to provide a clear roadmap for the employee in terms of what their future looks like within the company. Post induction/probation period you can start to discuss the route to competence and explore whether the new hire is open to development opportunities that may arise.
In conclusion, considered and thorough onboarding experiences are key for wowing new hires. Well-planned processes result in happy, engaged and loyal employees who settle into their roles well and contribute to ramping up productivity. By incorporating these 9 onboarding best practices, businesses can avert high turnover levels and get the best out of their new team.
Read more Sarah McKenna HR Recruitment blog posts.