Employee turnover and retention is an important component of your workforce planning and strategy. In a particularly competitive climate for top talent, retaining your key performers is sound strategy number one. Onboarding is a critical component, yet for many businesses, it’s an afterthought.
WHY WORRY ABOUT ONBOARDING?
The right onboarding process sets the tone for how you expect new employees to perform and the parameters for them to perform within. It gives you an opportunity to share and explain your corporate culture, and to ease the transition from former employers and other experiences to the unique and diverse culture your company offers. For every role in your company, including IT, your employees are also brand ambassadors. They are building your product or working in teams, they’re out in the community, and they’re talking about you and how your organization works. Setting the tone for their experience with your company starts with the hiring process, but you can really make an impact on the duration of employment with proper onboarding.
DOING ONBOARDING THE RIGHT WAY.
If you’re unsure whether your onboarding is up to par, or if you’re looking for ways to improve (which we all should), here are some tips to get you on track:
- Look past paperwork. This is the case for many companies, so don’t beat yourself up if it applies to you, but filling out tax forms and other paperwork is not onboarding. Yes, it’s an important part of the process for all of us, but if you’re having your new employee sign a few forms and be on his or her way, you are missing out on tremendous opportunity to introduce that employee to your culture and give them a proper introduction to your company and how it works (and possibly setting yourself up to take a hit from that employee down the road).
- Structure is key. Onboarding really offers a unique opportunity to mold your employees’ opinions of your company and start off strong. But your onboarding process should be clearly structured so each employee has the same experience. Because onboarding is an afterthought for many businesses, it lacks formality or organization of any kind. HR and leadership should take the time to discuss what onboarding should accomplish, what kind of knowledge employees should have upon its completion and how it should impact new employee performance and perception. Then, lay out a clearly structured plan. A small investment of time up front can lead to significant results and benefit for your business.
- It should be fluid. Your HR department should be constantly assessing the effectiveness of your onboarding process, and you should be making tweaks here and there along the way to ensure it’s as effective as it can be.
- Be sure your employees are ready to go. From workplace behavior (how to treat each other, company-specific culture/values, even how to use the lunchroom) to making sure your employees have the right equipment and materials to do their jobs, onboarding should include thorough setup for each employee. At the end of the process, your employees should be confident and comfortable getting started.
It’s much more difficult to train people after they’ve gotten started, and it’s a mistake to assume that your employees will “pick up” your culture. Take the time to create a structured onboarding process and you’ll see the benefits. In fact, if you work with a staffing partner, they should be doing their part to help onboard candidates by prepping him or her in advance about your culture and company, and as many details about the job expectations and daily duties as possible. How does your business approach onboarding? What challenges have you faced? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments section!