The Importance of Onboarding

Cream HR is rightly proud of the great work it does helping many businesses get their recruitment right. Our processes and expertise help save time and money, but more importantly ensure that the right person is recruited for each role, every time. 

Having invested a significant amount of money in the recruitment process it is surprising how many businesses (not our clients!) we come across that fail to recognise the importance of onboarding (or inducting) new recruits into their business.

We know that statistics can be used in many different ways to support a particular argument, so we don’t want to use verbatim numbers, however, research suggests that around two thirds of employees who are onboarded well remain with that same employer after three years compared to those who weren’t and productivity for new hires who are onboarded well can be around fifty per cent higher than employees who are not.

Like anything else in life, unless you own a time machine, you only get one opportunity to make a first impression and if you consider that most of us will spend more of our waking lives at work than anywhere else that first impression of your new employer is vitally important.

We have all heard stories about people turning up for a new job and literally being told, there’s your desk, there’s your phone and there’s your computer, now get on with it (whatever it is) or even worse of people arriving at work and not being expected at all – by anyone!! Such experiences do not leave a good taste, it says we don’t really care about you, we just need someone in that seat doing that job.

So why is onboarding important and how much time is it going to take?

It is well proven that highly engaged employees deliver high performance at work and onboarding plays an important part in employee engagement. Get onboarding wrong, and you may struggle to ever get full engagement from your employees.

Like any other investment, onboarding benefits from consideration, time and planning, but unlike many aspects of effective employee engagement, it does not have to be as time consuming as you may think.

We would suggest that you start the onboarding process as soon your job offer has been accepted by your recruit. As soon as that has happened, call them and arrange to meet for a tea or coffee on a more informal basis. This helps further establish your relationship, you can go through any issues, questions or difficulties they may have and can act as a support to them as the leave their current employer, which many people find difficult. It is all about being personal and showing your recruit that you are interested in them as an individual. You can also set the scene regarding what they can expect when they start, what projects they will be working on, generally reinforcing what they heard at interview.

Before they start, build a programme for their arrival, have a plan of what they will be doing for the early part of their time with you. There are obvious and basic requirements to prepare, contracts of employment, job description (an accurate one please), handbook, health and safety, tour of the building, organisation chart, introductions to key people and departments. These should be standard in any organisation.

What really makes a difference is making the process personal. When you introduce people to your business, tell stories about your experiences, involve other employees to help them learn about key events and the company history. Reinforce the company values and set out the vision for the future. Ask your recruit(s) about their experiences and connect these to those of the company to help show what a good choice they have made in picking you, reinforcing the feeling that they’ve joined the right place!

If you can, make their first day experience special and one that they will remember positively. There are many things you can do for this – some business invest heavily in employee onboarding, with personalised packs or days away at special events in special locations. However, you can make a real difference by simply making sure they have a mug or cup with their name on, on their desk when they arrive. This lets them know that you’ve bothered and that you thought about them before they arrived.

We love working with businesses on onboarding and would be delighted to provide detailed advice or guidance to anybody who may be interested.

Join the discussion

If you have any questions or comments about the issues raised in this article, feel free to use the the fields below, our resident HR experts are on hand to help. Alternatively if you'd prefer to discuss any issue in private, call us on 01543 308642

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