Onboarding employees is an important part of the hiring process. When you’re hiring a new employee for your business, you might think that finding the right person is the hardest part. But in reality, recruitment is half the battle. Once you’ve found that person and got them on board, your biggest challenge is going to be keeping them there.
According to researchers, half of all workers will leave a new job within the first 120 days, and half of all external senior position hires will leave within the first 18 months.
Hiring new employees is expensive, and the time and energy you spend training them is wasted if they leave after a few months. So, how do you make sure your new employees stay with you for the long term? The trick is an effective onboarding process.
What Is Employee Onboarding?
Onboarding is the process of bringing a new employee into the workplace. It covers getting them settled in on their first day, training them and integrating them into the daily routine of your business.
Many business owners look at this and think that employee onboarding can be done in a day – get them set up and started, job done. But that’s not the case. The onboarding process is more than just new hire orientation. It covers how you welcome your new hires, the support network you put in place for them, how you train them, management, and mentorship in those crucial 100 first days, how you communicate and measure performance, and how you engage them in the values of your business and their work.
In other words, effective employee onboarding is an ongoing process and something that needs your care and attention at every stage. The average onboarding process is between 3 and 6 months, and at the end, your new employee will be completely settled and working as part of the well-oiled machine of your business. At this point, you can transition them seamlessly into the performance management cycle.
Why Is New Starter Onboarding Important?
In a word? Retention. Employers who engage in onboarding and develop a process for not only bringing new employees into the business but supporting them as they settle in as well will see:
- 53% of their new hires will stay with them for at least 3 years.
- Significantly reducing employee turnover.
- An effective onboarding process also results in happier employees who feel more secure in their role, understand what is expected of them quickly and perform better than those who aren’t onboarded properly.
So if you want better performing, happier employees who stay with you for longer, you need to be looking at your onboarding system, or creating it if you don’t have one.
Our Top Employee Onboarding Best Practices
Get The Basics Ready Before They Start. No one likes walking into a brand-new job and finding that nothing is ready for them. It gives a bad impression of the business and makes them feel like a spare part as people rush around to try and get things together, or worse just ignore them entirely.
Once you know you’ve hired someone, get everything they will need for their role ready for them. Have a workspace ready to use, emails and any other equipment they will need set up, and if you can, an employee packet with all the important information they will need (HR policies and procedures, an employee handbook, training schedule etc.). You can get creative with this if you want, but it’s important to make sure the basics are ready for their first day.
Assign A Mentor. Starting in a new company can be daunting. As a manager, you might not be able to dedicate 100% of your time to taking care of your new hire. This is where a buddy or mentor can help. This is someone on the same level or slightly senior to the new hire who can show them the ropes, answer questions and generally keep an eye on them to make sure they’re settling in okay. This buddy or mentor should actively support your new hire through the first 12 weeks of their employment as needed.
Have Regular Check-Ins. Don’t leave your new hire with no direction. Even if you’re busy, try and have regular check-ins to answer questions, address concerns and see how they are settling in. These might be as often as once a day at first, then move down to once a week and then eventually once a month, as your new hire’s confidence and skills increase.
Don’t Make Them Learn ‘The Hard Way’. We mean this in every sense of the phrase. Every workplace comes with its own set of rules and regulations, benefits, and bonuses, nuances, and traditions. Don’t make your new employees learn these new things the hard way. If your company observes a ‘casual Friday’ rule, make sure all new employees know about this before they turn up at the office on their first Friday in a pressed suit.
Have A Defined HR Approved Process. Onboarding shouldn’t be something you cobble together as you go. Businesses who work with experienced HR professionals can develop a consistent onboarding plan and checklist for their business, that details each step, what needs to be done and who handles it.
That way, you can repeat it across all new hires. And if that isn’t enough reason, remember that with a structured onboarding process, employees are 58% more likely to remain with your business for over 3 years.
If you would like to find out more about how to onboard your new employees more effectively or want to chat about your own processes, we would be happy to help.
We even have a free onboarding checklist, which you can request by emailing us here. Or if you just have a question about how to improve the onboarding process, just drop us a line to book your free, no-obligation consultation.