Five Tips for Onboarding Employees Effectively

Provided by the International Finance Corporation

Onboarding is key to retention and business performance

Beyond simply orientation and training, onboarding is about immersing a new hire into the corporate culture, ensuring a smooth transition to a loyal employee, unleashing the talent and productivity for the mutual benefit of the employee, clients and company. And it pays. According to a 2007 study by the Wynhurst Group, when employees go through effective onboarding, they are 58% more likely to remain with the organization after three years.

Company culture, ability to grow and upskill, and location of work are now indeed key motivators above salary for candidates to choose and stay at their next employer. In a 2017 Korn Ferry executive study, nearly three-quarters of respondents reported that culture was the key to retaining employees and to the success of organizational financial performance.

Make your onboarding more effective with the below tips:

Tip 1: Start onboarding during hiring

Onboarding spans across your talent management processes from sourcing, selecting, orienting, assimilating, and, ultimately, to retaining new employees.

As such, as you advertise and recruit candidates, ensure that the process is aligned with and inclusive of your corporate culture to begin exposure. Some companies even invite high-potential candidates to meet existing employees or attend a company event to get a sense of the company culture. Adapt accordingly the enclosed job application form here per your needs.

For your future hires, prepare in advance an up-to-date employee handbook. Find tips here on how to create an effective handbook. In addition, have ready a structured agenda for the first week(s) orientation.

Tip 2: Respect the first 30-90 day ramp up period

Although you may be eager to get your new employees starting working from day one, allow them to acclimate and meet increasingly difficult goals as they learn their way around your business. This allows you to pace the delivery of onboarding details to avoid information overload. The first weeks and months are also an important time to receive feedback from your new employees with their fresh sets of eyes, so don’t squeeze this period!

Tip 3: Encourage social networking

Orientation should not be limited to hiring paperwork and learning job responsibilities. A large part of your employees’ on-the-job performance and loyalty comes from appreciating the company culture and the relationships formed with other workers. This is also a great informal way for new hires to get insights and information about work relationships and power structures, acronyms, and details on the company rules, principles, and values. Help your new employee network with the veteran employees who most closely understand and embrace your company culture, as they can be very influential.

Tip 4: Think mentoring beyond training

Having your new hires sit through a training or simply shadow another employee will likely not fully prepare them. Think of their onboarding, instead, as a learning journey, with clear goals, milestones and progress checks with the appropriate mentor within your organization. Complement training and mentoring with social networking and self-access to information about your company, their role, and the roles of others. All of this should help your new hires understand and appreciate your organizational culture, navigate through information and resources effectively, and build a career path for advancement from day one.

Tip 5: Ask 10 questions to assess the effectiveness of your onboarding program

Collect feedback about your onboarding process directly from new hires, mentors, and managers through surveys, focus groups, roundtable discussions, and exit surveys. Stagger the feedback loops at one week, one month and three months after start date, then monthly or quarterly depending on the volume of new hire.

Keep any feedback methods short and focused. All you want to know can be summarized in the below top 10 questions, covering the various levels of the process, from sourcing, recruiting, orientation, to assimilation:

1. Do new hires feel welcome? (on their first day and beyond)

2. Are new hires proud and enthusiastic to work here?

3. Are new hires aware of the bigger picture? (mission, vision, goals, uniqueness of the organization)

4. Do new hires receive enough detail to complete new-hire tasks?

5. Do new-hire tasks and information match with the ones provided during the hiring process?

6. Can new hires find easily the information they need?

7. Can new hire count on receiving help and support when needed? (Managers, mentors, etc.)

8. Do new hires have the tools to do their job effectively? (Including computer in a timely manner, etc.)

9. Do managers find it easy to onboard new hires?

10. Are new hires and managers able to provide constructive feedback on the onboarding process?

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