Written by KATE SCOTT
They say you should always start as you mean to go on, and never is that more important than when welcoming a new employee to your organisation.
It’s easy to forget how daunting a new workplace can be – unfamiliar surroundings, a new boss, colleagues to get to know and systems to get to grips with.
Many businesses underestimate the importance of onboarding new employees and fail to ensure they are effectively supported from the moment they receive their job offer.
Without onboarding it can take much longer for new employees to reach their full productivity levels – meaning businesses can take a direct hit in revenue as a result.
Properly onboarded employees are more engaged with the business they work for, more productive and fit in more easily to existing teams.
Here are our five top tips for getting the most out of the onboarding process:
- Be prepared
It’s a really bad start for an employee to turn up on the first day to find they haven’t got a desk, or they can’t log in to their computer, or there isn’t a uniform or safety gear in their size. Use an internal new starter checklist to ensure everything is covered and begin onboarding before your new starter’s first day so you’re ready for them when they arrive.
- Make them feel welcome
Don’t just put your employee into a team, office or facility and expect them to get to know everyone. Make proper introductions – explain who their colleagues are, what they do and who they can go to for on-the-job advice. It may be appropriate to assign the new starter an onboarding mentor (a buddy), just to help them through those critical first days.
- Remember the informal culture
Although you’ll want to make sure your new team member knows about your company’s values, policies and procedures, remember that they will also want to get to grips with the informal side of its culture too. Where do people tend to go for lunch? Are there organised socials, or regular nights down the pub? What happens on somebody’s birthday? All this information can help people gel as a team.
- Check how they’re getting on
Onboarding is just the beginning – not the end of the process. Make a date soon after the start date to check in on how your new employee is doing – are they enjoying the work? How are they getting on with their colleagues? Do they feel they would benefit from more training, or is there anything they are struggling to understand?
Moving on, the most effective programmes involve continuous training and engagement. Following their initial probationary period, new employees will want to feel that they made the right career choice – and this is when the approach shifts from initial training to one of continuous development.
- Listen to feedback
There’s no better way to judge the effectiveness of your onboarding process than to ask someone who has just been through it. Ask for feedback and listen to it. What worked and what didn’t? How can the process be improved? What do they know now that they wish they’d known on their first day? Use the information to do an even better job next time.
I believe in many ways, an employee’s first day at work is the most important one. It’s important from an employee’s point of view that they are made to feel welcome and given all the information they need to get up to speed quickly. However, onboarding is also crucial to the success of employers, with huge positive benefits for engagement and retention. Simply put, employees who feel welcome and invested in are more likely to thrive.