Proper Onboarding Can Make a Lasting Impression
By: Dean Simmons
You’ve extended a job offer to a prospective new employee. The good news is that they accepted the offer for the position, which is no small feat in today’s employment market. You think the hard part is done but it’s really only the beginning for your new hire. Now you need to onboard them, which is a process that is critical to retaining them for a long-term career with your company.
For companies fortunate enough to land a new recruit, it’s important to make a good impression during those initial days on the job. With employers across a wide range of industries looking to hire new talent either for job openings or to replace retiring workers, proper onboarding can provide a competitive edge to attract new workers.
Onboarding employees is an important part of the hiring process which begins with having an effective onboarding strategy in place. An employee who has a positive onboarding experience is far more likely to think they made the right decision and may tell others about it.
Feeling a connection to your team and the organization itself can be an exciting and rewarding time for a new hire. They get a sense that they fit into the company culture, one that aligns with their values and passion.
According to Andrew Rahaman, a Forbes magazine business council member, one of the most important roles of onboarding is to make new hires feel valued in their new position and welcomed with open arms to the company. He states, “a strong employee onboarding process can enable the employee and organization to be more productive and get new employees working more quickly and effectively.”
A key part of an onboarding strategy is fostering meaningful relationships with colleagues on day one and having senior leadership share some of their time and attention with new hires to demonstrate the importance of engagement at all levels of the company.
The Onboarding Process
Starting a new job can be both an enthusiastic and an anxious time for many people. They’re excited about the prospects of their new role and where it will take them on their career journey. But they might also be a little nervous as they meet new people, understand new systems, and get to know their way around their new organization as they settle into their new position.
As an employer, it’s important to get the simple things right for a new hire, such as having their workstation or desk ready for them, a first day orientation schedule, business cards printed, company email set up, and maybe a company branded tchotchke such as a coffee mug or work shirt. Let them know they are welcomed and that you want them to succeed.
Forbes’ Rahaman shares these benefits of a strong employee onboarding process:
- Creates meaningful connections with others who are important to this person’s role
- Increases role clarity for the employee and how they fit into the overall goals
- Provides a deeper understanding of the organization’s culture: do’s and don’ts
- Increases employee engagement
- Reduces organizational costs
You can empower new employees with the ability to think independently and offer the best way to make decisions autonomously at your company. Expose them to your culture and provide them with the knowledge and resources they need to succeed. And remember to check in with your new employee regularly to ensure they are happy, engaged, and continue to be inspired based on their onboarding experience.
Orientation as Part of Onboarding
Job orientation is generally the part of onboarding where new hires are exposed to, and learn about, company policies, benefits, and processes they’ll be following on a daily basis. The orientation process may include completing new hire HR paperwork and insurance forms, being introduced to co-workers, given the facility tour, and shown where the all-important coffee machine can be found.
Onboarding, on the other hand, is more about the process of helping new employees become acclimated to the culture of the organization. It allows new hires to gain a better perspective of their role and responsibilities, and how their contributions can make a difference to your business. And let’s not forget the investment made in time, effort, and cost with new hires. Preventing turnover protects that investment.
A company’s mission and vision statement can help new employees understand the culture. An organizational chart can show them how they fit into the company hierarchy. Sharing the business strategic plan gives them the big picture of the organization.
Job Satisfaction Leads to Job Retention
When new employees feel valued and respected, their loyalty and connection to the company can be immeasurable. Their long-term job satisfaction is largely dependent on what happens at work during the first few months in their new position, including how they can improve and grow in their role. According to a Gallup survey, employees who have enjoyed their onboarding experiences are over twice as likely to be satisfied with their workplace.
Helping new hires understand how their role at the business fits into the organizational goals goes a long way towards establishing a meaningful work environment for them. Knowing the company culture and how they can positively contribute to it not only gives them a sense of accomplishment but also a feeling that they fit right in.
New talent is hard to come by in today’s competitive employment market. Implementing an effective onboarding program helps to ensure a smooth transition, build loyalty, and retain valuable employees for the long run.