Posted on June 25, 2015

Onboarding with a Plan

This article is adapted from a recent Paycor webinar, led by Robin Throckmorton of Strategic HR Inc. Robin’s webinar was part of Paycor’s June 18 HR & Compliance Web Summit. Click one of the tiles on this page to listen to Robin’s webinar or one of our other sessions from the Summit.

When onboarding new employees, it is important to have a plan in place so that everything goes as expected. When bringing on a new employee, whether it is a Millennial or a Baby Boomer, you should be sure that you are doing it in a way that benefits both the company and the individual.

Looking at the past trends for hiring employees, the future of companies in regard to employee retention isn’t very bright. 46% of new employees “wash out” in the first 18 months, which wastes thousands of dollars on ineffective onboarding. With these statistics, organizations are starting to fear the process of onboarding, and that’s not a good sign.

Why are these employees leaving? That’s the real question for employers to answer when they are forced to look for new hires quickly after onboarding an employee who left quickly. Employee responses to that question range from being overwhelmed, to feeling neglected, to being trained ineffectively—none of which is comforting to employers.

What this means is that there is a need for more funding and effort into recruiting, onboarding and constant contact with employees even after their first day.

Proper recruiting has become more and more tied to a company’s success. Prospective employees need to be given a realistic preview of what they will be doing on the job, a clear understanding of their role, and a manager that will assist them in engaging with the team to understand the culture of the company that they are soon to join.

Onboarding is something that needs to be done in steps. In the past, onboarding has been thought of as a one-day-only thing (or a one-month-only thing) that companies had to do to familiarize their employees with the business, but it’s a very useful tool for a number of other reasons, as well.

So, what steps should you take to more effectively onboard new employees? Read on to learn more.

Step 1: Don’t Forget the Welcome

Immediately after a new hire accepts a job offer, be sure to give them all the necessary info for where they need to be on their first day, what they should wear, whom they should report to, and what their responsibilities will be on a day-to-day basis.

An interesting and helpful touch that companies have begun to utilize over the years is to send out welcome packets to new hires. Whether it is process manuals, work tasks, a job description, or even an onboarding plan itself, letting new hires get their hands on materials prior to their first day can make the welcoming process a lot easier. By sending materials in advance, you also give new hires the chance to ask or read answers to questions they may have about the job. If unknowns are answered early on, new hires will come in on their first day fully prepared and confident about the work ahead of them.

Step 2: Focus on the First Day

For new employees any company, no matter large or small, the first day is vital. The first thing that needs to happen is that the organization’s mission, vision, and values should be made very clear to the new hire, along with an explanation of how their role at the organization will affect these things.

Additionally, something as simple as having someone to meet the new hire on their first day, welcome them, provide an office tour, and give them a familiar face to go with questions, makes an impression on a new hire. That first impression leads to comfort, and assures the employee they have made the right decision to join the company.

Step 3: Have Regular Check Ins

Within the first couple of weeks, managers should have a conversation with the new hire to check in and see how things are going. By that time, the employee should have a firm grasp on what is expected of them, and what needs to be done on a daily or weekly basis in their role. This is especially important for new hires, because it gives managers a chance early on to answer any lingering questions or to start developing certain skills.

This is also the stage where it’s important to find out if the employee has reached out and made connections within the company. If not, managers should make suggestions for new hires on how to develop professional relationships with co-workers and network within the organization. The onboarding process is all about fostering the skills and knowledge of the employee while also shaping them into the type of worker that will be most beneficial to the company as a whole.

Don’t just check in with new hires after the first few weeks or months, but make it a regular part of your interaction with new employees throughout their tenure with the organization.

Step 4: Encourage Mentoring

A mentorship program is very important to the onboarding process. Mentoring shows new hires that the company cares not just about the bottom line, but about helping all of their employees develop personally and professionally.

Companies benefit from mentoring programs because they add to the development of a well-trained and engaged workplace. Without the help of mentors, employees have to learn the ropes of the company, develop relationships, and identify skills that need to be developed all on their own, which is not an easy task. Mentoring programs lead to a decrease in employee turnover, which is crucial for employers. Having a mentor also allows employees the chance to alleviate any anger or job frustration they may have, meaning fewer problems and a happier workplace.

Step 5: Solicit Feedback

Countless studies have shown that feedback in the workplace is very beneficial. By providing this feedback, it gives a better understanding of what’s expected of employees therefore leading to a better performance in the office. Whether it’s from managers to employees or vice versa, feedback helps diagnose issues and resolve them, improve situations that need to be worked on, and ensure that employees are happy. Whether it’s positive or negative feedback, just the act of having constructive communication is important.

Conclusion

Still convinced that onboarding isn’t important? New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years. When new employee onboarding is done correctly and thoughtfully, it leads to higher job satisfaction, better performance levels, and less stress. A workplace is supposed to be a place of comfort, and with the correct onboarding process, this will be the case.

_Did you enjoy this article? Check out some of our other thought leadership in the Paycor Resource Center.