A good onboarding process is crucial to retain and foster talent. Why is it so important and how can you make sure it's effective?
During those first few days and weeks, new employees are learning essential skills, making important connections, and developing their understanding of the role they will play in your organisation. This is a time when your new hire is deciding whether to buy into your company’s mission and values or to walk away and find something that is a better fit.
We conducted a LinkedIn poll on our company page to find out what matters most during this process. Most people (44%) said they valued a clear, structured schedule. While others wanted to either get to know their team (22%) or run through goal-setting and future planning (22%). Learning about the company was the least popular pick (11%).
From our poll results, we can see that employees want to have a clear, structured schedule during their onboarding process, while also planning for the future and getting to know their teams.
Why is onboarding so important?
It is important for companies to attract, win and retain talent. Employees have increasingly more say and opportunities when it comes to where they work, typically deciding within the first 6 months if they’ll stay at a company in the long term. If they don’t feel connected with their team or get a clear idea of company values and culture, they probably won’t stay.
Poorly planned and executed onboarding can give new hires the impression that the company is poorly managed and may cause them to draw premature conclusions. This sets them up for an early exit, instead of positioning them in the best possible way to succeed and develop. This turnover is expensive, with 6 out of 10 employees either resigning or quitting during their probation period due to inadequate onboarding processes in Australia.
The benefits of an effective onboarding process go beyond retention. Typically, people aren’t productive for the first 3-6 months of a new job, their salary during that time is an investment in their future productivity and return. Effective onboarding can get new hires productive quicker and accelerate your investment.
“For an onboarding program to be effective and successful, you should proactively onboard your new hires for their entire first year. A successful onboarding strategy will reduce attrition and increase employee engagement, both of which impact your customers’ satisfaction as well as your bottom line.”
- Meighan Newhouse, CEO and co-founder of Inspirant Group (Forbes)
How do you make onboarding effective?
The first thing to realise is that onboarding doesn’t begin on day one of a new job. It starts before their first day – the moment you offer them the job. This is important so that they can start their new day confidently and informed. Such as how to get to the office, when to arrive, and even where to park.
Below are some onboarding best practices:
1. Set expectations and goals: Employees should know what success looks like in their role from day one.
2. Regular check-ups: It is important to develop and maintain communication with all levels of management throughout the onboarding process and beyond. A buddy/mentor program can be created to help new hires get to know the team, different departments, and the company.
3. Connect informally with the team: Introduce them to the team in casual interactions such as coffee catchups to help them feel like they belong, gain a sense of familiarity in the office, and have ‘friends’ in the workplace.
4. About us: Let them know what your company is all about, your culture, values, goals, operations, and structure. Explain what you do and provide them with the resources and ways to learn more about the company or industry. If they can understand this, they can not only align their own beliefs and values but also see how they can contribute to the company.