The Truth About Employee Onboarding – And How To Maximise It

It’s widely known that a person makes a first impression – about another person, a building or a business – in 7 seconds. So when your new hires start, you want them to be greeted with the right kind of culture. Since the cost of losing an employee is estimated to be up to twice as much as their salary, retaining talent is crucial to building a successful business.

Now, whether you see a high turnover or rarely hire, you may not have invested in a sustained long-term onboarding process. Perhaps as a manager, you don’t interact much with HR. But it’s a guaranteed tool to retain talent – and avoid hiring again too soon.

To help you work out how you want to onboard your staff in a way that aligns with your company culture, we’ve come up with the three T’s of employee onboarding: time, team, training.

Time

Research by BambooHR found that around 16% of people will leave a new role within the first three months. These first 90 days are crucial in ensuring your new hire gets a feel for the company, and gets to grips with their role. So your onboarding plan needs to extend for at least 3 months – and it needs to take its time.

Rather than overwhelm an employee with a first day overload of forms, setups, meetings and mayhem, look at ways you can space out their introductory activities. Paperwork that’s needed to establish an email account or payroll could be sent out between the offer acceptance and the first day.

By engaging with employees before they arrive, you’re better able to set their expectations, and accommodate their needs. Be sure to work through a checklist of what you, as a manager, need to do to make them feel on the team. If in doubt –just ask them. Tailoring their workspace or IT equipment before they begin will certainly make them feel welcome. And that data backs it up: companies that use pre-boarding retain 81% of first-year hires

Training

One of the most cited reasons people leave new jobs is that the role wasn’t what they’d expected; 23% of early leavers told BambooHR that they had lacked clear guidelines on their responsibilities, whilst another 21% wanted better training.

Training is more than just a way to show your new employees the ropes: it’s a great way to take stock of your current team’s skills, optimize your workflows and remind everyone of expectations and objectives.

As a manager, you’re probably well briefed on the company’s values. But is that information shared with your team? Have you effectively communicated the goals you’re striving for, and the vision for the company?

71% of dissatisfied workers told Escape the City that they wanted a clear sense of purpose from their jobs. It’s your role to communicate that, and ensure everyone is on the same page from day one.

Team

So the best onboarding processes are the ones that space out necessary steps, and equip employees for success to day one. But onboarding is more than an individual process: it has an impact on the wider team, too.

The introduction of new team members can upset other workers, who may be afraid that their job is under threat. To get everyone on the same page, the entire team should be reminded and briefed on their role and responsibilities with a new hire. This lets the new hire know who they need to take their questions to – and keeps a level of transparency and accountability amongst the team.

The best people to teach a new employee about a role are those who already do it. Team-building is a given – but make sure to build a varied diet of introductory activities. Relying on post-work drinks can exclude non drinkers, or people with caring responsibilities. Team lunches can be stilted before everyone gets to know each other – so try incorporating an activity, like a trivia quiz, to get conversation flowing.

An onboarding process should also include a networking and mentoring plan. One-on-one meetings should be set up with all staff that the new hire will be interacting with – as well as other key stakeholders. Establishing an inter-departmental welcoming group across levels of management is a great way to foster internal networks and encourage informal mentoring.

While the team is an important part of making new employees feel welcome, don’t underestimate your importance as a manager. 33% of new hires wanted their own manager to tour them around and get them started, versus on 28% wanting to kick off their new roles with HR.

With these tools in your pocket, you should be off to a raring start to onboarding your employees to a successful new start.

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