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10 Best Practices for Successful Onboarding

Posted: 06/07/2021 | Author: Jim Lochner for Creatives On Call | Tags: Thought Leadership

10 Best Practices for Successful Onboarding

Each year in the US, more than 25% of the workforce experiences career transitions. Even with all that upheaval, 90% of employees decide whether to stay with a company within the first six months of starting a new job. The cost of employee turnover is more than just replacing a body. It includes monetary and non-monetary costs, such as lost productivity, time, and role expertise. That’s why onboarding is so important. 

67% of high-performing companies like LinkedIn and Google have a structured new-hire onboarding process. Twitter has an elaborate 75-step process just for the first day, while L’Oreal’s onboarding lasts two years. You may not want to go those extremes, but a well-thought-out onboarding plan should be a part of every new hire.

BENEFITS OF ONBOARDING

Implementing an effective new hire onboarding process can have a huge positive impact on company success and long-term employee engagement, retention, and productivity. Some of the benefits include:

  • Maximize retention and loyalty. 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experience great onboarding.
  • Strengthen company culture. Effective onboarding helps new team members understand the company’s vision, mission, and values, and reinforces the culture’s behaviors and attitudes. 
  • Foster belonging and inclusion. Onboarding can dramatically reduce anxiety and increase a new employee’s sense of belonging.
  • Maximize productivity. Strong onboarding and outlining clear job and organizational expectations can improve productivity by more than 70%.
  • Reduce costs of turnover. The average cost-per-hire in the US is $4,129 and takes 42 days to fill a position. Onboarding can help reduce your turnover rate.

ONBOARDING BEST PRACTICES

Onboarding will look different for every business. But by adhering to some common best practices, you’ll make the new-hire transition much smoother and long-lasting.

1. Start onboarding before day one

Don’t wait until the new employee’s first day of work to start orientation and onboarding. There may be a delay of days, weeks, or even months in between receiving a job offer and when your new hire starts their new job. During that time, build excitement, help them feel welcome, and begin the steady stream of paperwork to sign and information they will need to get up to speed quickly.

2. Create welcoming welcome practices

Few new hires think a company mug or a list of company policies is particularly welcoming. Consider something more personal like a call and welcome email or sending them a welcome package. Make sure their workstation is set up and all technology, logins, passwords, etc. are in working order when they arrive.

3. Involve senior leaders 

The entire organization—team members, managers, and senior leaders—should help with executing onboarding activities. They can help new employees understand the company culture, educate them on the company history, and explain company values and expected behaviors. This can be accomplished through more formal presentations or training, or through informal activities like a tour of the office or building or taking the new team member out for coffee or lunch.

4. Regularly conduct one-on-one meetings 

Regular one-on-one meetings should become a habit of a new employee’s normal work routine as soon as possible, even on their first day. Having a one-on-one early helps build a great relationship between the new hire and their boss and gives them a chance to discuss goals and career plans. 

5. Provide opportunities to connect with co-workers 

It can be tough to be the new kid on the block. Help new employees connect with their new teammates and be included by scheduling short introductory meetings with co-workers, hosting an informal team lunch or team-building event, or sharing a welcome video introducing the members of their new team.

6. Assign a mentor

Ever felt adrift during the first few weeks of a new job? Same. Assigning a mentor or work buddy can help ease the new employee into their role and the company’s work culture. This will help them quickly get up to speed on the nuts and bolts of the organization and become more invested in its values.

7. Keep their schedule tightly structured (at least at the start)

The first few weeks of any new job can be overwhelming. By scheduling the first week or two, your new hire will have a clearcut idea of what to do next. Even more important, you’re instilling trust in their new company and team, setting them up for success when they ramp up and start working at their own pace.

8. Start with small, manageable tasks first

Don’t expect new hires to hit the ground running, no matter how often they (or you) trumpeted it in the hiring process. Rather than piling big, complicated assignments on their desk on Day One, give them a chance to ease into their new role and build their confidence with smaller, less complicated tasks.

9. Let the team know about their new team member

There’s nothing worse than turning up on your first day to meet people who don’t even know why you’re there. Successful onboarding includes getting the newbie incorporated into a team as quickly as possible. It’s nice to meet people who already know your name and are ready to welcome you to the team. It’s a simple gesture that can go a long way.

10. Don’t forget your remote workers

Remote workers will continue to be a much bigger part of the workforce post-pandemic. Many of these best practices are just as important for a new remote employee to ease them into their new role and make them feel like they’re a part of the company culture. Through proper onboarding, remote workers can quickly become part of the team and have the same tools for success as their in-office counterparts.

* * *

During and after onboarding, continue to touch base with new hires often. Whether those check-ins are formal or informal will depend on your company’s onboarding process. Making your HR team (or others) available for guidance or assistance will help your new employees feel looked after. 

And don’t forget onboarding during your offboarding and exit interviews. An effective onboarding process maximizes employee retention and loyalty. So it’s critical to understand why an employee is leaving and what could have been improved in the onboarding process to prevent that from happening.

Do unto your new hires as you would like to have it done unto you, and you’ll have happier, more productive employees from Day One.

 

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