Tips for an amazing onboarding experience!

Onboarding. One word, too many wrong meanings! Onboarding, on the HR industry, is usually interpreted as the training that new employees need to undergo before they actually start operating efficiently on their duties.

Recent statistics show that 22% of new hires leave their position within the first 45 days. This is a truly high percentage, especially if we consider the time-to-hire and ROI towards the employment of a particular candidate. So, why does 1 out of 4 new employees quits within the first couple of months?

INCONVENIENT REALITY

During the recruitment process, you probably presented your company/team/projects in a manner that was not corresponding to the actual reality, right? Yes, you were trying to convince the candidate that your vacancy would be the best move for him/her. But do you really believe that the candidate, who is now your new employee, will not get it?

YOUR ONBOARDING SUCKS

You need to take a break and re-evaluate what onboarding is to you. What steps you need to follow at each case. Do not take the same approach for all employees. And certainly, don’t expect new employees to act as superstars from the first week!

Let’s try to reinvent the wheel…

Onboarding

First of all, we need to identify the starting point of the onboarding process. If you think that the onboarding process should start at the date that the new employee joins, you are wrong. The onboarding starts immediately after you communicate the offer! You need to make sure that everything is clear and set, either regarding the paperwork needed from the new hire’s end or by you as an employer. In addition, you need to make sure that you are providing all the necessary information regarding an easy transfer/change – i.e. if you are relocating someone, make sure you have all the answers in terms of travel, immigration processes, cost of life etc.

DAY ZERO

So, once you communicate the offer and until the new employee actually joins you, there is a specific period of time (either because of a notice period or a relocation process). If you keep quiet, you are already losing a point! You must keep in touch and re-assure that exciting things will follow! You can either send a simple email with a few info regarding the following steps or even catch up with a simple call. Or -if you have the means- send a link with the inline portal you are using, presuming that the new employee’s profile is already set. A great tool is BambooHR – these guys have created such a cool Self-Onboarding Software amongst others; check it here!

DAY 1

Once your new employee hits the ground, you will need to firstly give him/her a tour at your office. Introduce the team and other employees, inform him/her about some standard habits, i.e. lunch, smoke breaks etc. Do not hurry as the employee will not be able to accommodate all the information if your tour lasts only 5-10 minutes. At the first day, you should also send everyone a Welcome email, and of course have the new employee on ‘cc.

Thus, he/she will also have all the contact details of his/her new colleagues. During lunch time, invite the team over to get to know each other a bit better. Keep it informal and friendly, in an effort to make the new person feel more comfortable.

Important note: The IT equipment and email/software needed should be set before the joining date!

If you feel like you need to keep the first day simple, you probably need to think again! Twitter has over 75 steps for the first day, including a T-shirt and a bottle of wine waiting on your desk as well as breakfast with the CEO! Similar processes are followed by LinkedIn and Google. Have a look here to get the vibe!

INDUCTION

This is absolutely necessary, but as mentioned it is not the only thing! Create a proper induction training for the new employee and provide general information about the company. Dive into the particular job duties and set clear expectations that will allow the employee to understand what exactly a normal working day will look like as well as what his/her targets will be.

FOLLOW UP

As HR, we always need to make sure that our employees are happy and satisfied, keeping a balance between them and other team members or even their Supervisors. The onboarding process might take a different amount of time for an Accountant for example and a CFO. A Junior Systems Engineer might need much more time and effort from our end than a SW Architect, or sometimes the opposite. The seniority should not affect the perception that one might have on the need of onboarding. Though, following up with our new employees is mandatory, giving them the opportunity to express any queries, ask for assistance or even get their input on things that could be done differently. So, make sure that you follow up in set timeframes (first week, first month, first quarter).

GET SOME FEEDBACK

A new employee will most probably not share with you something that went wrong during the process however you can allow them to give you some feedback in a more productive way. Do not only concentrate on getting some input once they join but ask for it frequently and in a more indirect way. Remember that these people have a fresh perspective and can help you improve your methods. An easy way to do that is by creating an anonymous survey; Typeform or SurveyMonkey are pretty useful but you can also check whether your CRM has such a feature.

GO THE EXTRA MILE

Your new hire might need some assistance with small tasks or have questions that might seem irrelevant thus he/she would not approach you or a Supervisor to get through. Assign a Mentor or a Buddy to every new employee that would help them with small or bigger stuff on their daily routine. The Mentor or Buddy should be someone that will support the new hire and share knowledge and experience with that person.

There is a fantastic tool you can use, a workplace personality assessment – the Birkman Method, that matches your new employee with an existing one!

Having a structured onboarding process will untie your hands and make everyone’s life easier! Keep it straight and save yourself and the company time and money. If you need an additional resource, download the Sapling Onboarding Benchmark and check how your onboarding program compares with other industry benchmarks.

All aboard! Ahoy, Captain!