Last month’s blog was all about the intricacies and challenges of recruiting talent. This month I plan to build on that and consider the importance of onboarding – particularly when many people are continuing hybrid working or full home-working.
Why is Onboarding Important?
Research shows that the quality of onboarding experienced by new staff makes a huge difference as to:
- how well they feel engaged
- how they perform; and
- whether they are likely to become a long-standing member of an organisation.
In this blog, I will cover what employers should do to ensure that new staff feel welcome, quickly begin to fulfil their new role, and become an integral, important member of their team.
Firstly, I share three real-life experiences of how things can go wrong – I was shocked at the lack of assistance and support two have had – and how things can go right! I’ll then give tips on what an effective onboarding process should include.
What can an effective onboarding process include?
- Introductions to key staff, company culture and expectations and company processes
- Setting expectations of the individual; this will be particularly important as part of any probationary period
- Building relationships with other key staff and external contacts
- Creating trust and confidence between both parties of the contract; and
- Creating clear definitions of the role by asking the new member of the team how we can make this the best induction experience for them.
Planning early is vital – the Checklist!
- Prepare early - make sure equipment is available and in working order e.g., PC, laptop, phone, and ensure they have access to files and software.
- Office tour – show them around and make sure they know where the facilities are.
- Break times - Make sure they know what people do at break times, where they can get lunch, where the printer is etc.
- ID Verification - Ensure all the necessary employment forms are available to complete and they have provided any documents that you will need such as right to work checks, qualifications, P45, bank details, etc.
- Staff Handbook/Policies - make sure they have access to company policies and procedures and/or the company’s intranet as this is likely to be the place where they can find information on dress code and other information about the office. An organisational chart is also really useful to refer back to.
- Assign a buddy/mentor – to help them get acquainted with their role and the workplace, to ensure they feel really welcome and supported. If the two people in the case studies had received such a supportive welcome, then things might have been different.
- Introductory meetings - Organise time for key team members to spend quality time with them on their first few days ensuring that they know where things are, and who they are working with. Make sure they’re not starting when the rest of the team are out the office.
- Make it personal - provide a folder for them to store their documents, making them feel a valued member of the team. Welcome them on internal social feeds and include a summary of them in internal communications.
- Company mission - Help them to understand what the company does by giving them a snapshot of the history of the business, and tell them about your customers, products, services, and share the company’s culture and values with them. Explain their role is important and tell them how it fits in to your business.
- Setting expectations - this is really important to give the new member of the team a clear goal as to what success will look like for them in their new role. Setting clear expectations about them in their first month, then first quarter, first half year, etc will make it easier for them to understand their role and the important part they play in the company.
- Reach out often – make sure you set time to work through any questions they have. Ask the member of staff how you can help them make it the best experience for them in moving into their new role.
- Advice and support - Make sure that they know who to turn to for advice, or support. Help them to build these important relationships with other key members of the team and any external contacts they will work with. Arrange appointments for them and ensure someone buddies up with them if that is appropriate.
My top tip is to really prepare and think about this process. You’ve invested a great deal of time and energy in appointing the right person. This is the next, and probably the more important step, to ensuring they become a key part of your business. Don’t assume someone else will do this. Plan and prepare ahead.
Thank you and good luck!