If fifty is the new thirty, then onboarding is the new employee orientation. But unlike the traditional, make-the-new-kid-feel-welcome concept, it takes Talent Management to a new and improved level.
At LLoyd, we are always surprised by how much time goes into the pre-hire process, while the onboarding process has always (until lately) received far less attention. All efforts and costs related to recruitment can be lost if the onboarding process is weak. Onboarding is truly a strategic process that impacts the company’s bottom line. And while many companies plan carefully for senior management onboarding, employees at mid-level or entry-level often don’t fare as well.
Most new hires decide within the first six months if they will stay with the company, but lack of an onboarding process reduces this decision’s timeline. The rule should be to onboard early and longer to build better hires.
Onboarding is critical to employee engagement and retention so that the time between start date and employee contribution is leveraged. An engaged, motivated and satisfied workforce yields talent retention and productivity gains across the organization.
If you are a company that is new to Onboarding, or are reviewing your current program, keep the following basic guidelines in mind:
- Use onboarding as a recruitment strategy. The information available on your home page about your culture, benefits and achievements will generate excitement and help attract more and better job candidates through positive branding.
- Onboarding begins with an accepted offer. Send a welcome letter from senior leadership. If pre-hire documents can be completed outside the office, send them home to eliminate excessive first day paperwork.
- Set a tone. The new employee’s cubicle, office and work space should be prepared, stocked and well maintained with working equipment including computers, and telephone extensions prior to start.
- Welcome the whole person, not just a job title. Tell the new staff member about social activities such as sports leagues, book clubs or other after-work networking.
- Assign a buddy or mentor for a first day lunch or other questions and activities. Integrate new hires into their work groups and into the organization.
- Set a timeline for deliverables. Have the individual’s manager outline performance goals and expectations. Help him/her understand how their job contributes to the organization’s success.
- Encourage good work relationships. If the new hire is in a supervisory role, make sure she/he meets all direct reports both one-on-one and in a group within the first week.
- Plan a full schedule. This includes Pre-Start, Day 30 to Day 90 and even a one year onboarding experience.
With some effective planning for onboarding, any organization can create a fast track to employee contribution, rather than a rocky road to demotivation. Get on board!