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Effective Employee Onboarding (The Complete Guide)

Acquiring and retaining customers for a business is difficult, but that’s never going to happen if a business can’t hold onto dedicated employees who want to be there. Imagine that your talent recruiter has spent weeks, possibly even months tracking down and interviewing the right candidates, then after they finally accept your job offer, they quit just two months later. Ouch. That’s a lot of wasted time and money.

On average, companies spend over $4,000 hiring for a new position, and without an effective employee onboarding process, that money can go to waste.

Before we dive into how to build an employee onboarding strategy that will prevent your business’ new hires from jumping ship, let’s first lay out what onboarding is. You might think it’s simply a few hours of new employee orientation, but it’s actually a lot more and should weave in the company’s values, culture, and people, along with all that new hire paperwork.

Here’s why your business should place a top priority on building effective employee onboarding and how to do so. Trust us, this will only make every aspect of your business more successful down the line.

Why an Employee Onboarding Strategy Matters

It’s a startling statistic for businesses, but one-third of new employees quit their jobs within six months of being hired. If you hire 12 new employees over the course of a year at a cost of $4k each, that’s a potential loss of $16,000!

A business that works to improve upon their employee onboarding procedure is more likely to buck that trend, meanwhile, a company that struggles with welcoming their new hires is going to take an even harder hit.

There’s more than just the cost of losing new hires that factors into why good employee retention practices are important. Think back to a job you loved and a job you hated. It probably didn’t take too long to decide whether it was a place you enjoyed working or loathed, right? Maybe a week or month at the most probably. Most people know whether or not they want to stay at a company for the long-run within the first week and this is where a good onboarding experience can make all the difference.

Nearly 50 percent of new employees want a better onboarding experience, and a positive start as a new hire makes people almost 69 percent more likely to stay with a company for three years or more.

Steps to Build into Your Employee Onboarding Process

A strong employee onboarding process is going to start before the new hire’s first day, and should really begin soon after they accept the position.

1. Make the Employee Feel Welcomed

Communication is key and the HR department should keep in regular contact with the new employee to let them know they’re being welcomed aboard early on.

One of the dreaded, but necessary parts of any onboarding process is going to be… *dun, *dun, *dun, the paperwork. Rather than welcoming a new hire on their first day by trying to bury them up to their neck in paperwork, send over as much a possible ahead of time. This not only will help the new employee to get started sooner on the job they were hired to do, but will allow them to tackle the necessary forms at their own pace.

Oh, and because we’re living in the 21st century, why is your business still using actual paper for the paperwork? A paperless onboarding system that utilizes an electronic signature not only will save money but save somebody from a sore wrist.

When that first day of work for a new employee finally rolls around, they should feel welcomed from the second they step foot in the building. Let everyone else in the office know ahead of time that a new person will be joining the team and encourage them to say hello. The last thing a new hire wants is to be wandering around the office on the first day and be met with the puzzled faces of other employees who have no idea who this new person is.

2. Prep Your Employee’s Desk

Prepping your employee’s desk before they roll in on their first day might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how many companies scramble to put a desk together while a new employee waits awkwardly. Having their workspace ready to go with the necessary items speaks volumes about an onboarding process and shows that a company takes them seriously as a new employee.

3. One-on-One Meeting with Manager

One of the most important aspects for an effective employee onboarding strategy is one-on-one time with direct managers. A recent LinkedIn survey of 14,000 professionals found that 96 percent said that spending one-on-one time with their direct manager early on was an important part of the onboarding process.((LinkedIn: 5 Things New Hires Want During Onboarding))

This dramatically shortens the learning curve of a new employee because it allows them and their managers to set expectations and goals early on. Developing a positive rapport with supervisors at the very beginning of a new employee’s time on the job results in greater job satisfaction, performance, and upward growth.

4. Help the Employee Bond Better with Others

When DFY Links’ CEO, Charles Float, started his company, he made sure to build a team where new hires were introduced and forced to collaborate with veteran employees. This strategy helps to build a tighter employee culture in the company and results in stronger business overall. It also improves knowledge sharing, which further improved productivity and scalability.

5. Clear Job Guidelines for the Employee

Every new job comes with some uncertainty for new employees and according to the LinkedIn survey, properly understanding job duties, procedures, and goals was the second most important part of the onboarding process. Developing a thorough job training platform that creates a direct path for an employee to turn to should they have questions, will lead to greater job performance.

This means not only guiding an employee on how to do their job, but teaching them of its importance and how it fits into the overall goals of the organization. This is particularly true with millennial workers; 64 percent of them said they would rather work at a job they enjoy that pays $40,000 a year than one they hate that pays $100k.

Bring your employees into the big picture and why their position matters. Introduce them to the duties of others in the organization and how the tasks they’ll be working on is related to the jobs of other employees. This sort of all-encompassing way of explaining their job duties in the onboarding process can go a long way towards making them feel they made the right choice in accepting the job offer.

6. Check-in with the Employee Regularly

An effective employee onboarding strategy doesn’t simply take place the first day or the first week, but should stretch out. New employees are bombarded with so much information during the first few days that it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. HR team members should periodically check in with them during the first month to check if they have any questions or feedback on the onboarding process itself.

Are they happy with the work and do they feel as if they’re part of the company culture? Lack of a good fit with the culture of a company results in a high overturn of new employees, so taking steps to bring them into the fold can dramatically improve employee retainment.

Final Thoughts

Take a look inward at your own business’ employee onboarding procedure and look for ways that it can be improved upon.

Not every tactic is going to be right for every business, but winning over a new hire early on will go a long way towards their success and your business’ success down the road.

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