Onboarding
What a relief, you’ve finally recruited the perfect candidate to fill the position you’ve been trying to fill for the past few Months You can relax now right? They’ve signed the job offer and now the hard part is over…or is it?

According to CIPD, one in four people recruited leave within the first six months. From this we can say the first hurdle may be finding a candidate, but the next hurdle, is keeping them! Even before an employee’s first day ‘on the job’, onboarding is a crucial part of both engaging and retaining your new employees.

In this week’s blog post we talk about proper onboarding and share some tips on how you can improve your onboarding process.

What is onboarding?

  • Key onboarding activities include: communicating performance expectations; providing explicit linkages to organisational mission and values; giving feedback; involving co-workers and peers; and pro­viding training.
  • The process of integrating new employees into an organisation. Preparing them to be successful at their job and to become fully engaged, productive members of the organisation.
  • It’s a way of making newcomers to the environment feel welcomed and excited. Confirming for them the reasons they joined an organisation, especially in the early days of the transition and at the onset of new challenges.

Why is onboarding important?

Let’s review some stats in the current literature today –

  • According to a study conducted by Aberdeen (2006) 90% of employees decide whether or not they will stay with the organisation within the first six months on the job; Onboarding can improve employee retention by 25%
  • Research at Corning Glass Works revealed that employees who attended a structured orientation program were 69% more likely to remain with the company after three years than those who did not go through the same program.
  • With employee turnover costs estimated to be anywhere from 50% to 150% of an employee’s annual salary (Sork Human Capital 2008), it is evident that failing to onboard new employees correctly can cost organisations a great deal of time and money.

Manager’s tips for onboarding:

1) Keep it Simple

One of the biggest mistakes when onboarding is information overload. There’s so much to learn and experience when a new employee starts that it can be very overwhelming to integrate all of the new information.  In order to make the process as easy as possible, onboarding should be planned well and tailored to suit the learning speed of each individual.

2) Give it Time

Although onboarding is often confused for orientation, it’s much more involved than that.  Most experts agree that somewhere between three months and one year of onboarding is right, according to the industry, the job description and the experience level of the employee. You can’t simply throw in new employees in with just a few hours’ worth of “training” and expect them to be successful (or even competent). Nor can you expect them to perform their best without proper acclamation to their new roles.

3) Assign a buddy / mentor

A buddy or mentor should be assigned to the new team member from day one. Organisations need to make sure they choose an appropriate buddy for the new employee – a buddy should be an experienced team member with strong knowledge of the organisation and the role which the new employee will be undertaking. The buddy system is a good way to transfer knowledge, develop new ideas and helps to reduce any anxiety the new employee may have when starting the new role.

What do you think about onboarding? Do you have any tips for ensuring your new employees get on board as smooth as possible and start off their new positions on a positive note?

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