Employee onboarding is a strategic process in an employee’s lifecycle in a company and must be handled with absolute thought. It is a common practice for companies to consider new hire onboarding as a process only until an employee’s first day is finished. It is rightly said that the first day of an employee will define their overall stay in the company. Businesses must realize that it is a critical phase in the life of an employee and must take adequate steps to ensure the onboarding process is smooth. To put it in simple terms, spending time onboarding new employees will help companies save their crucial resources in terms of time and money. Replacing talent could not only involve financial costs of hiring employees but also lesser resources for your business, which ultimately leads to burnout of existing resources due to workload and lesser profits.
Besides the wastage of resources, it can also affect a company’s culture and overall productivity. Nobody would want to join a company with a high attrition rate. The problem of retaining employees can be overcomed if the HR departments have a formal HR onboarding process that clearly lists HR policies and procedures. Assimilating the new employees in the work culture is also important to make them feel comfortable and valued. Apart from the benefits from the employers, a good employee onboarding process can also help employees get information on everything they need to execute their duties successfully. A good human resource management system must be a vital element of any company.
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Five steps for establishing a good employee onboarding process
1. Communicate organizational knowledge
This is the first and basic step of a good employee onboarding process. As your employees would be new, they would remain clueless and look clumsy if you do not give them enough information regarding their team and company. While a formal introduction within the team is important, it is also vital to educate them about other key people, teams and their roles in the organization. Implementing a buddy or mentor system is a clever step towards that as new employees need at least one person whom they can freely ask even the silliest of the questions. It is also important for employees to understand the rules and regulations at the workplace and essential knowledge about the work practices that their team follows.
2. Integrate with company culture
While it may not happen instantly, a time period of around four to six weeks should be considered ideal by which employees would be comfortable enough to assimilate and integrate with the company culture completely. New hire orientation programs help, however, they are just for one or two days,hence, they don’t really serve the desired purpose. During inductions, sessions hastily follow one after the other and it would be a challenging task for any new employee to assimilate everything in one go. To overcome this problem, employees must be made aware of the organization, its objectives, the expectation they have from their employees, employee training programs, etc. Employee shadowing is another practice that can be a part of your onboarding checklist as it helps new employees learn the tricks and get accustomed to the business quickly.
3. Set clear expectations
No matter how experienced your new hires are, chances are they might not succeed if they are not aware of the expectations of their employees. A good amount of handholding is essential at least for the first few weeks to make them feel comfortable. Even the most seasoned professionals can become insecure if they are not made aware of their expectations. As part of the employee onboarding process, a clearly-defined job description could help them understand their role and the route to achieve their objectives. But it just doesn’t stop here. Having regular performance assessments and feedback sessions can help employees feel valued. They will naturally be more engaged, productive in their tasks and aligned with the mission and objectives of the company. The benefits of a motivated and engaged workforce cannot be stressed enough.
4. Set short-term goals
Giving short-term goals upfront to your new employees can get their motivation levels up. It shows that companies are realistic and value the growth and progress of their new employees. As the new employees settle down after the first few days in their new workplace, they can be given realistic goals. Setting up SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals can give employees a clear idea and help them move forward in the right direction. Once you see the potential, you can gradually increase the responsibilities. Remember, the employee onboarding process is the best time when employees can not only be judged for their skills but also for other important traits like team-player and leadership skills.
5. Engage them
While joining a new organization is something many people look forward to, facing people in the first few days can be an awkward experience for many. Even the most experienced employees can feel out of place if they do not interact much with the team. It can clearly push new employees towards loneliness and in many cases motivate them to leave their jobs. Employees would not want to stick to a company that does not make them feel valued and involved. Building solid working relationships with team members can help new employees feel motivated and less isolated. With increased acceptance, new employees can have a participatory approach in all aspects of the work. It is something that any employer would want from an employee, especially in the early days. As part of the employee onboarding process, motivating new employees to connect with other important people in the company should also be in the priority list. A rockstar employee will be someone who is famous among other teams and departments as well.
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Companies must take adequate measures to make the first few days and months of their employees most memorable. The benefits of a good employee onboarding process are plenty as motivated and engaged employees will stick around for a longer duration, leading to better results for the business.
Reference: To Retain New Hires, Spend More Time Onboarding Them, hbr.org, 03 Dec 2018