A stellar onboarding process does more than just show your new hire to their seat, hand them a swipe card to the bathrooms and offer them their own mug from the kitchen.
In late 2014, Roy Morgan released a report that said 28 per cent of Australian workers were considering changing jobs within the next year. With more than 11 million Aussies in the workforce, that would equate to more than 3 million onboarding processes around the country this year if all of them followed through.
The importance of onboarding
According to the Society for Human Resource Management in the US, as much as half of all new senior hires won’t last 18 months, and the same applies to hourly workers, as half of them only last four months.
A strong onboarding process may help reduce those numbers, as staff turnover can be extremely costly and inconvenient for those who have to search, interview, hire and train new skill each time.
These first few steps into the workplace help a new hire understand their own role in the company, and introduces them to the social side of the workplace from day one, allowing them to start producing effective work more quickly.
How can you create a great onboarding process?
Firstly, you need a definitive plan or checklist to go through. Without one, it’s all too easy for certain aspects to be missed or glossed over.
You should start even before your new hire comes into the office. Technically speaking, onboarding begins as soon as the individual sees your advertisement for a role. You’ll need to be thinking about how you want your brand to appear in the ad, and how it may appear in any research they do prior to applying (such as on the website). From there, your interview process should ensure each person receives the kind of treatment you would give to the successful applicant, such as a warm greeting, sufficient information on the role, and a background on non-work matters such as the social side of the workplace.
An employee’s first day on site will be one they will likely remember forever, so give them no reasons to think back on it negatively. Any information you pass on during the day (such as who to go to with certain problems) should be written down in a welcome pack, as the overload of new information can be overwhelming and tough to remember. Ensure you give the employee a number of tasks to complete, even if that’s just filling out forms and reading company policy manuals. Plus, be sure to organise a lunch, such as a one-on-one or even a team outing if possible, which will help integrate him or her into the social aspects of the workplace.
After day one, you’ll need to set up meetings for the new hire with key staff that they will be working with in future. This is also the time to cover more in-depth ground such as email policy, best practice, short- and long-term goals, and further company-specific training.
Throughout the first few months, the employee should slowly ramp up to their full work capacity. Giving them a full workload after the first couple of weeks can be detrimental to their onboarding as they will not have yet fully acclimatised to the new workplace, culture and role.
You can also talk to your other employees about their memories of their first day and following weeks to determine which aspects were the most successful, which were the least helpful, and what could have been done better. As each industry, workplace and team is different, these insights may prove invaluable for your next hire.