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The Importance Of Employee Onboarding and How To Improve It

Last updated on June 14th, 2023 at 08:14 pm

Does your company understand the value of onboarding employees? In many areas, this will be your new employees’ first test of how you run the company and what it is you are all about. Poor or ineffective onboarding can lead to decreased employee satisfaction and a high turnover as people start working with you completely unequipped for the job role they have been employed to carry out.

Glassdoor suggests that improving employee onboarding can increase productivity by 70%, yet 22% of businesses in a different study didn’t have any type of formal onboarding process in place at all.

Start Before The First Day

Your onboarding process needs to begin before the new employee(s) get to the workplace for their first day. A simple welcome email or forwarding of an itinerary for their first days or week can go a long way. Details on how to fit into the company, e.g. where people eat lunches, when lunchtime is, break times, code of conduct, workplace attire and clothing standards, and the level of formality expected etc., can help new starters know what to expect and how to approach their first day with you. In this period, it can be helpful to forward any forms, questionnaires or essential documents for them to review and bring in completed to ride the paperwork load on the first day.

You should also aim to reduce the time between acceptance and starting to help get the ball rolling, meaning you need to have an effective onboarding process in place before you even interview.

The Tour

Before you jump right into what is expected of them and what their schedule and duties will look like, let them acclimate themselves to the workplace. Show them around the premises, introduce them to employees and senior management they need to know. Walk them through the toilet areas, break rooms, cafeterias etc. and make sure they feel comfortable knowing where everything is and the layout of the building.

Show them the things you wish you had known or that are common knowledge, such as who to call if they need help with certain things, how the coffee machine works, how to use printers etc. All of these will help them to get up and running quickly when they finally settle into their roles.

Be Creative

If you’re honest, the onboarding process can be a bit tedious and boring for both new hires and the staff carrying them out. Sure, the information is essential, but with so much going on, taking in so much further information can be a challenge, and people will likely forget what you have told them. Try to break it down into fun interaction sections and get new employees involved in playing games, solving challenges and doing team-building exercises to help them get the most from what you need to tell them. If the job role is information heavy, it can be an idea to have a handbook to hand out they can refer back to. Use a Perfect Binding company to help compose your manuals and make sure they are able to be used as frequently as needed without falling apart or vital pages going missing.

Don’t Rush It

As mentioned above, if there is going to be a lot to take in, you need to allocate more than one day to the onboarding process. If possible, try to spread it out over a few days; this will give new starters a chance to become acclimated to what they are expected to be doing each day. People learn at different speeds and in different ways, so being able to approach any onboarding and training in various ways can help people settle in faster and give them the tools and support they need at the beginning.

Involve Senior Management

Senior management, team leaders or the top dogs should all play a part in the onboarding process, even if it’s just popping in for a quick chat. Everyone needs to work together as a team, so introducing those who play a more significant role in the company to new starters can benefit everyone. This will remove any secrecy, confusion or mystery about who all the players are and how they will interact with them.

Reduced Workloads

Throwing new employees in at the deep end can backfire. While many companies expect a full roster of work immediately, overwhelming employees who haven’t found their feet and gained experience within the company might not work in anyone’s favour. So assign them a buddy or offer a reduced workload for a few days, gradually increasing it as they work towards their goals and become more acclimated with their job roles and the expectations held.

Expectation and Responsibility

Employees need to know precisely what is expected of them, and you need them to perform and behave on company time. Set your expectations of them and ensure everyone is on the same page. From here, you can conduct regular check-ins and approvals to ensure everything is going smoothly and nothing is being overlooked or anyone is struggling.

The clearer you make things from day one, the better it will be for everyone, as you will all be on the same page and singing to the same hymn sheet, so to speak.

Include The Company Culture

Now is the perfect time to talk to new additions to your company about your company culture. Share the company ideals, your goals, and your ethos with them. Let them know how you expect them to conduct themselves inside and outside of the workplace when representing the company, any social media policies regarding what you do and how they behave, and the level of professionalism you expect when dealing with clients and vendors etc.

Talk to your new hires about how you represent your values and how they can identify them in how you work, approach what you do, and deal with those who interact with the company in any capacity.

Conclusion

Your onboarding process must be well thought out to represent your company and inform new starters of everything they need to know without overwhelming the theme on the first day. Create a schedule for how the first few days or weeks will look for new employees and what they need to know. Then you can ensure you haven’t overlooked anything and your new team members have the best possible chance of success from day one.

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