Importance of effective employee onboarding

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After multiple rounds of application processing, phone calls and interviews, you find the perfect candidate. You send them the job offer and, maybe after some negotiation, they finally accept the role. With a big sigh of relief, you deactivate the job advert: mission accomplished. Or is it?

This is just the start for you and your newly acquired employee, literally.

The next vital stage is onboarding, the process where new hires are introduced into the company, the workplace and their responsibilities.

With everything else that’s going on, ensuring a smooth transition from offer to employment is a step that is easy to overlook, but can end up costing a lot of time and money. In a survey by Cezanne HR in 2018, nearly two thirds of HR managers said they’d had new joiners quit before they even started and reported that 1 in 5 of those who actually joined didn’t even make it through to their first-year anniversary.

Here are a few reasons why an effective onboarding program should be a high priority for every organisation.

Builds trust

How would you feel if you turned up on your first day and your job or the company was different to what you’d been sold in the interview? If your new hire’s expectations are not aligned with the reality of their role, they will feel like they’ve been misled and are bound to question whether they should trust you or stay with the business. In fact, in another Cezanne HR survey targeted towards employees, half of the respondents who quit in the first six months said that their reason for leaving was because the job wasn’t what they expected. A well-planned onboarding process should start at the point you write the job description – that way you’ll ensure clarity and transparency from the very beginning.

Engages employees early on

Just because they’ve accepted your job offer doesn’t mean your new employee will arrive fully engaged and raring to go. Even if it was the case, this positive attitude might not last long if you don’t follow through. You need to reassure new hires they’ve made the right decision in choosing your company to work for. Staying in touch after you’ve made the job offer and sharing information about what to expect when they start, establishes a good relationship with the new hire from the get-go. Not only does this ease the stress and nervousness many new hires feel starting out, but it also increases their productivity when they know what they’ll be doing over the first few following weeks.

Promotes company values

In talent retention expert Carly Guthrie’s words, “Sloppy onboarding turns into sloppy culture”. Not having an effective onboarding process sends the message that you can’t be bothered – which can negatively affect your company culture, and the reputation of your organisation. If you say you value your employees (and who doesn’t) – now is the time to demonstrate it. It’s also important to remember that new hires are in a period of transition, they’ve joined because they want to do a good job, and they want to learn. Onboarding is a great opportunity to ensure they understand – and hopefully buy into your company values, goals and vision.

Time-efficient

An effective onboarding programme means new hires can hit the ground running from their first day. Not only does it make chasing up documentation and ensuring you’re legally compliant a less painful experience, but you can also get employees up to speed on their responsibilities quickly and let them know about any training they may need to have. Using an online HR system to manage your onboarding process means you can streamline a lot of the administrative tasks; for example, to prompt new hires to provide the information you need and allocate tasks to others in the organisation – perhaps to order a new laptop or set up an induction meeting. You can then easily track progress, removing the hassle of trying to remember what needs to be done and chasing them up on it.

Improves retention rate

According to culture-building company O.C. Tanner, 69% of employees are more likely to stay for at least three years with a company that has a great onboarding experience. That’s a significant cost-saving for any organisation – not just in terms of recruitment fees but in the added-value that more experienced employees bring to your business.

Everyone wants to feel cared for and attended to, particularly when we’re feeling most nervous and excited about starting a new job. When new employees feel welcomed, well-informed and are smoothly transitioned into their new workplace, they are more likely to stick around for longer and do a great job.

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