Smart HR: Employee On-boarding

This week, we’ve shared HR insights on motivation & morale, turnover, and interviewing for the right fit. Since 25% of the working population undergoes some type of career transition each year, you want to hold on to the superstars you hire. Let’s discuss the importance of on-boarding in employee retention and business productivity.

Set the Tone.  The better you prepare employees for their job responsibilities, the more likely you are to have a happy, productive employee for the long haul. During the first few days and weeks, employees adjust to the technical, performance and social aspects of their job. Can you help new employees scale the learning curve without affecting business operations? Evaluate your on-boarding process with 5 important considerations:

Plan Ahead. On boarding doesn’t start the day the new hire begins, it should actually begin during the recruitment process. Job expectations and roles should be set during the interview stage. You don’t want to be misleading about what role you need filled and what you will require of the new hire. If you have an employee handbook, legal documents, or other materials to share – send them ahead of time. Give your new employee time to acquaint with the company to prepare for day one. Additional things to consider sharing with employee in advance:

-Parking amenities
-Dress code
-Arrival Expectations: Where should employee report? Will someone be waiting?

Prepare the company and the workspace. Let others know about the new employee, their role, and how they will contribute to the team. Prepare the new employee’s Set-up tips:

-Will employee use computer?
-Are email accounts configured?
-Does the employee need security access?
-Business cards?

Depending on where you are in your business, you might also have some helpful intelligence documents like cheat sheets, best practices and shortcuts for performing tasks; an agenda of the week, so the employee knows what to expect; and, a formal document outlining employee objectives and job description, so there isn’t any confusion about expectations. These are things to consider.

 Supply necessary information. More than likely the new hire is going to be overwhelmed and over saturated with details. It’s best if you try to pro-actively answer questions for them. Below is a list of questions to answer as you are giving the employee a tour

-Is there a break room? Restrooms?
-Where is his or her desk?
-How do the phone systems work?
-Where’s the copy machine and how does it work?
-Who should the employee talk to if he or she has additional questions?

 Check-In. After the first few days, sit down with the employee and ask for feedback. Analyze whether or not the employee has properly assimilated into the company culture and atmosphere, and consider what factors have contributed. This is your chance to discover how your on-boarding process can be improved. Be sure to address any issues of concern, whether on the employees end, or your end. Keeping the lines of communication open will facilitate the formation of trust and reiterate that you value the new employee.

Think beyond on boarding.  Some companies provide an in-depth training; others have no formal process. Some need it. Others don’t. Figure out what works for your organization, and create a system for success. Your employee development process does not stop here. What else can you do?

-Connect new employees with a mentor and relevant professional networks.
-Invest in CEUs and other strategic training opportunities for employees.
-Use Individual Development Plans (IDPs) to document fully successful competencies for employees; meet one-on-one to create road maps for employee development.

Have you had a great (or not-so-great) on-boarding experience at a new company? Share it with us below.

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Jed Friend
Jed Friend holds a Ph.D. in the area of Industrial-Organizational psychology and works in the field of talent management. LinkedIn Profile
Jed Friend

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