Onboarding: Why is it important and what are the best practices?

Companies often invest a great deal of time and resources in their recruitment efforts. While hiring is important, the next step that comes thereafter is equally, if not more, important to retain the talents that you have worked so hard to hire after weeks of recruitment campaign. Onboarding is the next talent management strategy used by recruiters to ensure that new hires are assimilated with all the necessary skills and knowledge, and adjust quickly to the social aspects of their new jobs.

Onboarding is not to be confused with orientation. Orientations can be as short as one day, however onboarding is a comprehensive process that involves management and other employees, and can last as long as 12 months. If done correctly, onboarding is proven to lead several positive outcomes for both employees and employers such as higher job satisfaction, organisational commitment, lower turnover, higher performance levels, career effectiveness and lower stress levels.

So how do you ensure your onboarding strategy is directed towards success?

Before the new hire starts work

  • Always prepare earlier before your new hire starts work. This includes creating an agenda for your new employee’s fist week at work or at least an agenda for the first day.
  • Ensure that the workstation for the new hire is ready with a proper internet and email connection. Fill the desk with stationery supplies needed and include important documents like the organization and employee handbook.
  • Start a good impression and help reduce new hire’s stress by emailing to hem helpful information such as dress code, parking suggestion, and who to look for on their first day at work.

The first day/week

  • Help new hires familiarise themselves with the office layout through an office tour. Include details such as where the washrooms and pantries are located, and where to find the printers, scanners, and fax machines,
  • Use at least the first day as a full-day orientation for your new hire and try not to give them work immediately. Introduce them to your other employees and allow them the opportunity to blend in before starting work.
  • Organize a welcome lunch for new hires with their current teammates or department heads. Set aside time for casual conversation and introductory meetings.
  • After the first day, sometime during the first week, plan for a manager’s meeting. Use this to share helpful information such as management style, work expectations and cover important work processes.

The first few months

  • Conduct a monthly check-in to ensure that the new hires are settled-in, comfortable and engaged, communication is the key to keep them engaged and spot any early disengagement. Always review and give thoughtful feedbacks to them.
  • A new hire’s first 30-90 days are usually seen as their initial training period. If the company budget allows it, invest in training your new hire. You can also allocate a buddy or a mentor within the team to properly train your new hire.

The first year

  • At the end of the first year, conduct new hire’s first performance review. By now, the new hire should be fully integrated with his or her job and into the company work culture.
  • Identify areas of weakness and plan for continuous development. You will be able to see if he or she is productive and truly belongs to your company.

The cost of new hire turnover are often immediate and impact employers in many ways. Companies typically have little chance to recoup their investment in new hires who leave the company voluntarily or involuntarily before the end of their first year.

Therefore, it is crucial to have a properly defined onboarding strategy in place to convert new hires into effective performers and increase the retention rates, ultimately bringing a positive impact on [productivity and workforce stability.


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