The foundation for creating a growing business is hiring the right people. But what comes between the handshake at the end of a successful final round of interviewing and the new employee’s first day on the job? An effective onboarding process is the first step in making sure new hires are set up for success for a long period.
Unlock Hidden Value Within Your Firm
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Although the statement may appear cruel, studies indicate that approximately 33% of employees decide whether to stay or leave a company within the first 30 days of getting hired. Given this, HR managers and their team members need to realize that creating a transitional phase is vital to building a retention policy.
Onboarding: A Process, Not an Event
Traditionally, the process of integrating employees into their new working environment has been known as ‘onboarding.’ The first phase of the process begins once the candidate has been officially hired, but before the new hire reports for duty. This moment provides an exciting opportunity for firms to reach out to the candidate and capitalize on the early enthusiasm after the deal. The second phase of onboarding starts when the employee shows up for the first day of work. This moment allows new hires to access the necessary resources to do their job and develop the interpersonal skills essential to succeed.
Getting New Hires off to a Flying Start
Depending on the growth stage of a firm and job complexity, an onboarding process lasts 18–24 months. A well-designed program enables new employees to understand the company’s policies, internal culture, or hierarchical structures. Onboarding formalities should be planned in advance and address four main areas, beginning with satisfying one of the most basic needs—belonging—and ending with fulfilling the most complex need—thriving. These needs have been referred to as the Four C’s:
- Compliance: informs new hires about written and unwritten rules that must be followed (e.g., company policies, confidentiality requirements, safety regulations, giving information about the dress code);
- Clarification: helps the new hires understand their role within the practice and sets clear expectations of performance (e.g., anticipated training, development, and assessment);
- Culture: makes new hires aware of the organizational norms (e.g., workplace tour, the “go-to” person for information about the company, defining acceptable behaviors);
- Connection: helps new hires form relationships with other colleagues.
The key to effective onboarding is to get the right formula in place:
Self-Efficacy + Role Clarity + Knowledge of Culture + Social Integration = Success
Implementing New Employee Onboarding
Although most companies will not be able to organize a long-term onboarding program due to low budget or personnel, there are several immediate measures to be taken that make new employees feel supported and at home in their new job:
- Setting up an informal mentoring or “buddy” system;
- Arranging frequent check-ins (after 30/60/90 days);
- Setting up networking opportunities;
- Implementing diverse onboarding program components, such as training activities or a cross-divisional mentoring program.
The Moral of the Story
Onboarding employees is not a waste of energy but rather a strategic process. Onboarding can help new hires meet a company’s business goals faster. In this time-intensive process, investing effort and expertise in new hires can bring about great benefits over a long period, such as improved rates of employee retention and higher levels of productivity. Reap the benefits of developing your people and your business to create the best outcomes for both.
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