Neglecting the onboarding process for new hires could be costing your company thousands of dollars each year. By offering new employees the right support and training, you can reduce turnover in your organization and save the money you would otherwise spend finding replacement workers.
Every new job comes with an adjustment period for both employer and employee. New recruits often have difficulty fitting into an established workplace with long-standing patterns, work arrangements, and relationships.
Investing in a strong, well-rounded employee onboarding process is one of the best things you can do to set your new hires up for success. It can also drastically reduce the cost of turnover in your organization. Today, we’ll discuss what onboarding is, why you should care about it, and what effects you can expect from any investments you make in this critical process.
What Is Employee Onboarding ?
Employee onboarding is the process of helping a new hire or newly promoted employee settle into their role at your organization. It is considered to be distinct from orientation, which focuses more on the paperwork and logistical processes required to set up an employee’s pay and benefits and give them access to your systems.
Onboarding Process Steps
During onboarding for a given role, you might :
- Establish your expectations for the role.
- Set long- and short-term goals for the employee.
- Check in to ensure the employee is engaged and confident in their new position.
- Offer additional support if needed.
Since the goal is to keep your new employee happy, onboarding cannot be thought of as a one-and-done event. Good onboarding processes can take up to a year to complete and necessitate frequent check-ins with employees to see how they are progressing in their new position.
It is also important to make sure that you and your staff maintain a genuinely positive and welcoming environment throughout this process. New recruits must never get the sense that you view onboarding as an obligation or an unnecessary expense. If they ever feel that your organization does not truly support them, they will not respond to your onboarding strategies the way you intend for them to.
Why Strong Onboarding Means Better Business Outcomes
Onboarding is not just a matter of common courtesy. If an employee does not begin to feel that they are part of the team shortly after they arrive, they may leave. 31% of people have left a job in the first 6 months because they didn’t feel it was a good fit for them.
Turnover like this is bad for both workers and the companies who hire them. Estimates from Employee Benefit News suggest that it costs 33% of a given worker’s salary to replace that worker when they leave. The higher their pay, the more it costs to find a new recruit to take their place.
A thorough onboarding process provides the support that employees need when adjusting to their new role. It gives them the chance to clarify any aspects of their job that they don’t understand yet, instilling confidence in their work performance. It also helps them form bonds within your team and develop the professional skills needed to take on different kinds of work. This creates a positive environment that boosts both motivation and employee retention.
The Importance of Onboarding for the Next Generation
Onboarding is especially critical for companies who want to shore up their future workforce by attracting a healthy base of young trainable workers. Gen Y and Millennial employees are known to crave individual support in the workplace and prioritize job satisfaction above most other criteria in a job search.
Good employees are hard to find on short notice. Establishing a strong young workforce ensures that your company will be able to continue to operate seamlessly even as older employees retire. For this reason, you should consider employee onboarding an investment in your company’s future as well as its present. It’s a proactive way to approach your talent acquisition efforts that is sure to pay off in the years to come.
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Perfecting Your Onboarding Process Steps
Having an established process for integrating new hires into the team ensures that every newcomer gets the support they need. Every time you welcome a new employee into your ranks, you should :
1. Break the Ice Over Email
A welcome email is a great place to start your onboarding process. You can use this point of contact to send your new hire information about the company’s dress code, business hours, and other relevant employee policies. You should also include contact information for the employee’s direct supervisor in case they have any questions for that person.
2. Prepare Your Team for the New Arrival
Integrating a new hire into the social fabric of your workplace is key to developing trust and confidence within your team. Start by sending a group email to your team introducing the new employee with a bit of information about their background. On the day your new hire arrives, take them on a tour of the office and introduce everyone in person. You should also consider assigning your employee a mentor among your staff. This way, they can learn by example and build a particularly strong bond of respect and trust with at least one of their colleagues.
3. Conduct Regular Meetings
Regular meetings help you to keep an eye on your new employee and observe their development over time. It’s a good idea to set up some initial meetings with a few of the higher-ups with whom they will be working most closely. Your new hire should then meet with their direct supervisor on a routine basis to discuss any issues they might be having. Weekly discussions work well to start because there is sure to be more feedback to deliver during these early stages. After some time has passed, you can switch to monthly meetings instead.
4. Offer Onboarding Training as Needed
Including corporate training during your onboarding process can help new employees figure out how they fit into your organization. Training courses on topics like MBTI and DISC show employees where their strengths lie and help them figure out how best to apply their unique skills. Many also teach soft skills like time management that will serve workers well in any role. Best of all, they are available in convenient digital learning formats that make it easy for workers to fit them in around the other tasks that are assigned to them.
If the employee is taking on a managerial role, coaching can help them acquire critical competencies like communication, empathy, and relational skills. You can also offer this type of coaching to workers who you feel will become good candidates for management in the near future. This signals to high potential employees that you recognize their abilities and are prepared to confidently support their professional development and career mobility.
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