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Steps to Creating a Welcoming Onboarding Process

March 11th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments


Onboarding new employees is an important facet of what human resource professionals do, as it is the first experience a new hire has with a company. A successful onboarding goes a long way toward reducing turnover and encouraging workers to stay with the organization.

A common misconception is that the process begins on an employee’s first day. It actually begins long before that, when an employee first learns of the company during the recruitment process.

It’s important to get the ball rolling early on creating an employer brand, so human resource experts recommend companies have plenty of information regarding their culture and workplace in the careers section of their website.

The less information a company has to throw at an employee in one sitting, the easier that employee’s early days will be. Sending legal forms, a formal offer letter and employee handbooks prior to a new hire’s starting date are also good ways to streamline that person’s first day.

Onboarding is Important to Business

A good onboarding process is just that, a process. Orientation and the first day are just events within the big picture of onboarding. The process itself can take 1-2 years, but when complete, employees tend to be happy contributors who understand the expectations placed upon them. Over that time, consistent communication, feedback and performance measurements are tools that can help a company garner loyalty and longevity from their employees.

Turnover is one of the most costly effects of a poorly laid out onboarding process. Statistics from the Society of Human Resources Management show that turnover can be as high as 50% for new hires in the first 18 months at a cost of 25% of the employee’s annual salary every time there is a need to replace someone.

Some simple steps can help in the first day such as having the employee’s work station set up and running when he or she walks in. Providing someone to act as a guide and having their supervisor present are also good initial steps.

Interviewing recently hired employees about what they wish they were told in their first few days can help uncover gaps or shortcomings in the onboarding process.

The Workplace sans an Onboarding Process

Two decades ago, the average person held six jobs in their career. Today, that number has increased to 11, making employee retention a big part of life for any human resource professional. Without a proper onboarding process in place, disengaged employees with performance issues will be a problem for the company from the time the employee starts.

When performance of certain employees is an issue, it drags down the morale of the greater group. If existing staff does not respond well to a new hire, there is an increased chance of a backlash from the new hire toward other employees. At that point, the process has failed and the situation could be irreparable.

When Onboarding Works

A good onboarding process reduces the stress for not only the new employee, but the organization as a whole. When employees can enter in a relaxed and confident state, with less uncertainty, they’re more likely to meet and interact with co-workers to become socially comfortable.

That comfort with their work and their co-workers can lead to reduced turnover, longer employee tenure, a greater sense of how they fit into the organization and higher job satisfaction. In turn, this can lower costs and improve a company’s bottom line while improving its reputation in the job marketplace

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