If your onboarding programme focuses on getting your new team member up and running as quickly as possible, you’re missing a trick. Staff are at their most motivated when starting a new job. An effective onboarding process not only helps to keep this motivation high but maintains and reinforces it.
The impressions made during the early days with your organisation also have a lasting impact on your new hire’s perception of your employer brand. So setting up a welcoming and effective induction is key to making the most of this time for your new team member and your business.
What is Onboarding?
Onboarding new employees shouldn’t be treated as a tick box exercise. It’s a valuable opportunity to show new hires that you value and respect them and to help them understand your organisational culture and how your business works. For many people, starting a new job can be a nerve-wracking time, and a simple onboarding plan can make all the difference to easing them into your organisation.
It’s also a good opportunity to set expectations on both sides: employees need to be clear on what’s expected of them and your managers need to understand what motivates their new employee so they can get the best from them.
Onboarding is also sometimes called ‘induction’ and it refers to orienting an employee with their organisation and socialising them with their new colleagues. Done well, onboarding programmes prevent employees from leaving their role early and helps them to put their best foot forward delivering return on investment more quickly.
Inductions should also extend beyond the first few days or weeks – your onboarding plan should introduce someone new to what they need to do and how they need to do it. And it also provides an opportunity to assess performance and provide feedback using a structured approach.
Who Needs an Induction Programme?
Every employee, no matter their seniority or hours, needs an induction programme. Certain groups will need different support, for example graduates will need different information than those returning from career breaks or more senior staff. One size won’t fit all so it’s worth creating a range of onboarding programmes that will meet different populations’ needs.
What Your Onboarding Programme Should Include
Before you create an onboarding plan, it’s a good idea to consider any areas other new hires have found difficult to navigate, like jargon and acronyms. Then change your programme so these issues no longer exist. Here are some ideas about what the core of an onboarding programme could look like:
- Share communications and information about events
- Provide clear instructions for their first day like the person to ask for at reception and start time
- First day:
- Warm welcome including a welcome pack
- Introduction to the team and ways of working
- Facilities and IT should be ready for the individual to use and payroll already set up
- Tour round the offices
- Clear job outline/requirements and how the role supports organisational goals
- Organisational culture and values
- Health and safety and compliance training
- First week:
- Meeting with senior key employees
- Product and services overview
- Current projects, processes and supporting technology and documents
- Review of total reward and associated policies
- Review of processes like booking holidays and claiming expenses
- Detailed expectations for the first month, quarter and (potentially) year
- First month:
- Development opportunities and career management
- Ongoing performance feedback
- First quarter:
- Probation discussion to advise on performance and confirm if probation has been passed
To carry out an effective onboarding process, managers should expect to set aside plenty of time to spend with their new team member. You can also buddy your new employee up with another experienced team member to show them the ropes and share the onboarding load.
Why Businesses Should Bother With an Induction
A well-designed onboarding programme helps employees integrate into their team and, with clarity about their role and how it links to the organisation’s objective, ensures they quickly become productive, working to their highest potential.
Employee turnover is often best avoided, but this is particularly true within the first 90 days. That’s because your organisation has invested money recruiting and training you new hire and it’s unlikely that they’ll have been able to cover these costs as they won’t have had long enough to deliver meaningful results.
A good onboarding programme helps retain staff which means organisations will:
- Support employees during this difficult period
- Save time and money on recruiting a replacement
- Reduce wasted time for the person giving the induction
- Boost morale for other staff
- Mean the unproductive early learning curve of the new hire won’t need to be repeated
- Boost their employer brand
- Reduce turnover and absenteeism
- Increase employee motivation, commitment and job satisfaction
Although it might sound like a lot of effort to create a range of effective induction programmes, retaining new hires will easily offset any cost. According to research from Oxford Economics, hiring a new employee to replace someone who’s left costs on average £30,000. Which makes an investment in your onboarding process money well spent.