Onboarding for New Hires: Solving the Puzzle

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What is Onboarding for New Hires?

Employee retention is important in today’s transcendent business age. Staff need a more diverse skillset than ever before, and this requires a significant investment of time and money to achieve. How would you feel if you developed a new hire and they left you in 12 months? Not only betrayed, but out of pocket too. Getting staff up-to-speed with what’s required of them is a lengthy process, so you should do everything within your power to encourage new hires to stay. Onboarding for new hires is all of the above, and more. It’s developing someone who’s happy to contribute to business goals, and whose approach to work aligns with the best interests of the company. It conveys your organization’s brands and values, and involves instilling your company’s identity on new employees. Most importantly, it’s equipping your employees with the tools they need to be successful, so they can productively contribute to your bottom line.

What’s the Difference Between Onboarding and Training?

The two aren’t interchangeable, but both depend on each other and should coexist to position employees for success. Training equips staff with the skills they need to do their job, for example teaching them how to use software and complete tasks. Onboarding on the other hand is best approached from a behavioral standpoint. It’s how you can influence the minds of new workers, targeting what they see, feel, and hear. Personalized training plays a role in this, but doesn’t tell the whole story. Onboarding for new hires can take 1-2 years, involving constant communication, feedback, and performance measurement. Though you can argue onboarding never ends, once your company’s culture is embedded in the mental make up of your new worker, you can assume the onboarding process has been a success. Continuous improvement is a philosophy for longevity, but you’ll know when a worker has transitioned from a new hire to a permanent team member. Starting a new job is an adjustment that merits due care and attention, which presents various challenges from an organizational standpoint. The needs of your new worker must be accounted for, but the key to successful onboarding for new hires is to make employees feel at ease during their first two weeks. Their first day is crucial, when it’s important their voice feels heard, and they feel valued from the offset.

What Are Some Good Onboarding Practices to Consider?

Reach Out To Employees Before They Start

If staff are left in suspense between accepting the job and starting, you’re sending a conflicted message. Whether HR sends an email, or they receive a call from management, make sure you reach out before their first day.

Make Their First Day Memorable

First impressions are everything. Imagine the bad signal it sends out if new hires are asked to fill out paperwork? Make their first impression count and aim for a positive day. Perhaps schedule a lunch and pay for it, or give them a welcome package from fellow employees.

Spread Out the Paperwork

They’ll be lots of paperwork to fill out, but as previously mentioned, don’t bombard new hires with this on their first day! Spread out the ton of paperwork that’s necessary, otherwise you’ll overwhelm your new recruit and potentially cause them to become disenchanted.

Involve the Whole Company

Onboarding for new hires requires the whole company get involved. This will help fully integrate them, and can be achieved with regular meetings, one-on-ones with senior staff, and job shadowing. When new employees observe how their role fits into the bigger picture, there is an enhanced scope for collaboration.  

What Are The Benefits of Onboarding?

Employee Retention

Retaining top talent is a major battle, but becomes more likely with great onboarding for new hires. By creating a good rapport with new talent, half the battle is won. An awesome onboarding program can build a strong foundation, which can be built upon to create a thriving company culture.

Engage Employees

Great onboarding engages employees early and often. Involving new hires with a thoughtful, educational, fun process from the beginning will maintain engagement, especially when their input is valued from the offset. With the right approach, you’ll foster engagement that can be maintained with longevity in mind.

Build Trust

Gaining an employee’s trust is everything. A good welcome program will inform new hires of organizational practices, which develops trust, especially when it’s delivered by senior management. The greater the involvement of high-ranking staff, the more you’ll develop trust.

Boost Business Growth

Good onboarding is proven to drive better business growth. This notion was supported by research from Gallup, who determined companies who were highly engaged with their employees had a 147% higher earnings per share than their rivals.

Increase Communication

Onboarding sets the tone for communication. Setting the precedent for proactive, two-way communication, you’ll implement the correct structure for company interactions. When employees are open to ask questions, their competency will naturally increase. By reinforcing consistent messages during onboarding, employees will feel comfortable with open channels of communication, and are much more likely to be in it for the long haul.
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.