In an article posted in Harvard Business Review, it was said that to retain new hires, companies must spend more time and resources onboarding them. Consequently, it explained that if a company wants to retain the talent they spend good money to acquire, they must make sure a new hire‘s first year is meaningful and productive. Organizations with a standardized onboarding process experience 62% greater new hire productivity, along with 50% greater new hire retention. Those that invest time and effort in their new employees reap the benefits. The article suggests that if the company wants to be an employer of choice for top talent, it‘s essential to ensure the new hire‘s organizational, technical, and social needs are met.
What is an onboarding process?
The onboarding process is the systematic and purposeful transformation of ensuring promising candidates turn into top-performing employees. Companies must offer new employees the information, relationships, and tools they need to be comfortable, confident, and equipped to perform their job through well-planned onboarding steps.
Like any other complex process, successful onboarding demands well-documented and deliberate steps. An onboarding process is divided into stages so employees can adapt and learn new information in a procedural manner. When all functions of each stage are documented, it’s easier to allocate time and effort during the onboarding period. HR will manage this process based on a process and won’t miss important steps.
Recommended onboarding stages and best practices
Most HR professionals agree that corporate onboarding should last 90 or 100 days. It’s enough time for new employees to get acquainted with their key responsibilities and the company’s culture, receive sufficient job-oriented training, and be capable of doing the job independently. Companies can use these steps below as the foundation for their process. They have the opportunity to layer it with sub-steps specific to their culture to build a unique onboarding experience reflective of their personality or values.
- Pre-start date. It can be overwhelming for the new hires as the start of the new job is approaching. The new hires can still have thoughts, doubts, and concerns. The company can increase their engagement and confidence via communication, support, and managing expectations. In this phase, the company can do the basic paperwork i.e. offer letter, job description etc., provide new hires with a guide or onboarding toolkit, and set a time framework for onboarding.
- First day. The journey has started. On this day, it’s important to focus on corporate culture and help employees to feel included. Let new team members learn more about the company, team, and their roles. In this stage, the business can present a welcome package, send a greeting email and introduce them to the team. Providing your new employees with all necessary organizational information and making them feel comfortable are vital elements of this day
- Orientation. The company shows an informative presentation where it demonstrates a company’s history in a timeline format, emphasize your mission and vision, and what role of each department is in achieving the overall goals. It’s important to specify position information and expectations. Then, tell new team members about professional ethics, policies, etc. Don’t forget to arrange a personal meeting with the manager as based on a LinkedIn’s report, 72% of respondents consider one-on-one time with their direct manager is the most important part of onboarding. It’s an important time to establish a trusting relationship and discuss long-term cooperation.
- Training. Every company is interested in getting their new team members up to speed as fast as possible. Training is an essential part of the onboarding process. The main goal of this stage is to provide new employees with valuable materials and help them plug smoothly into the work processes.
- Performance. This is the final stage of the onboarding process. It means a new employee has become a full-fledged team member and is ready to work independently. And as a result, they can make meaningful contributions to the company’s workflow. In this final phase, the company must assess progress and gather feedback from the new hires.
Bonus: New Employee Onboarding Tips & Tricks
New employee onboarding is a running process primed for constant updates and improvement. Consider these suggestions as the company identifies how to add to and streamline their process.
- Carefully document the processes to define and enhance every aspect of the company’s onboarding program.
- Gather feedback from everyone involved in the onboarding process, including new hires, hiring managers, and even co-workers, to get ideas for improvement and ROI projections.
- Use emotional intelligence, in addition to more formal onboarding surveys and pulse checks, to judge how the process is going and adjust to give different employees what they need to feel welcomed.
- Rely on disciplined scheduling, especially for remote teams where the company can no longer count on interactions and relationship-building to happen by chance.
- Don’t be afraid to involve multiple stakeholders in the onboarding process. If the company knows someone who would get along well with the new hire, go ahead and introduce them.
- Make the experience personal and intentional. Listen carefully, remember key details, and be perfectly honest throughout the entire process.
- Help new remote employees understand the company culture. Share everything that you can think of: employee handbook, past presentations, company value literature, and photos and videos featuring bosses and virtual team members.
- Invite new hires to shadow people across the company to give them a big-picture view of processes and capabilities.
- Recognize new hires for accomplishments and ideas early on.
- Find out what new hires want to learn about and connect them with experts within the company or point to possible training opportunities.
In summary, a poorly planned onboarding experience can lead to early departures and high employee turnover. A positive experience can kick off long-term happiness and a win-win situation for the employee and the company. The process begins during recruitment, as candidates imagine working for the company. It accelerates upon offer acceptance and culminates during the employee’s critical first days and weeks on the job, as they build strong bonds with their new teammates and workspace. Most importantly, the onboarding experience echoes throughout an employee’s tenure at the company.