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The Importance of Onboarding

September 29, 2019

Having invested a significant amount of time and money in your recruitment process (and hopefully having used Cream HR to support this activity!) it is surprising how many businesses we come across that fail to recognise the importance of properly Onboarding (or inducting) your new recruits into your business.

We know that statistics can be used in many different ways to support a particular argument, so we don’t want to use verbatim numbers, however, research suggests that around 2/3's of employees who are Onboarded well remain with that same employer after three years compared to those who weren’t and productivity for new hires who are Onboarded well can be around 50% higher than employees who are not.

Like anything else in life,unless you own a time machine, you only get one opportunity to make a first impression and if you consider that most of us will spend more of our waking lives at work than anywhere else that first impression of your new employer is vitally important.

We have all heard stories about people turning up for a new job and literally being told, there’s your desk,there’s your phone and there’s your computer, now get on with it (whatever it is!) Even worse we know of people arriving at work and not being expected at all – by anyone!! Such experiences do not leave a good taste, it says we don’t care about you, we just need someone in that seat doing that job.

So why is Onboarding important and isn’t it going to take loads of time?

It is well proven that highly engaged employees deliver high performance at work and Onboarding plays an important part in employee engagement. Get Onboarding wrong, and you may struggle to ever get full engagement from your employees.

Like any other investment, Onboarding benefits from consideration, time and planning, but unlike many aspects of effective employee engagement, it does not have to be as time consuming as you may think.

We would suggest that you start the Onboarding process as soon your job offer has been accepted by your recruit. As soon as that has happened, call them and arrange to meet for a tea or coffee on a more informal basis. This helps further establish your relationship, you can go through any issues, questions or difficulties they may have and can act as a support to them as the leave their current employer, (which many people find very difficult). It is all about being personal and showing your new recruit that you are genuinely interested in them as a person. You can also set the scene regarding what they can expect when they start, what projects they will be working on, generally reinforcing what they heard at interview.

Before they start, build a programme for their arrival, have a plan of what they will be doing for the early part of their time with you. There are obvious and basic requirements to prepare, contracts of employment, job description (an accurate one please), handbook, health and safety, tour of the building, organisation chart, introductions to key people and departments. These should be standard in any organisation.

What really makes a difference is making the process personal. Tell stories about your experiences with the business, involve other employees to help them learn about key events and the company history. Reinforce the company values and set out the vision for the future. Ask your recruit(s) about their experiences and connect these to those of the company to help show what a good choice they have made in picking you. It reinforces the feeling that they’ve joined the right place!

Make their first day experience special and one that they will remember in a positive way. There are many things you can do for this – some business invest heavily in employee Onboarding, with perosnalised packs or days away at special events in special locations. However, you can make a real difference by simply making sure they know they were expected. Have a mug or cup with their name on, on their desk when they arrive sounds cheesy and it is, but it makes a difference. There are many different ways to let them know that they were expected and to show them that you thought about them before they arrived.

We love working with businesses to help effective Onboarding and would be delighted to provide detailed advice or guidance to anybody who may be interested.

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