Welcome to the team! Here is a pack of forms that need to be filled out (in triplicate) for Human Resources, a room full of strangers that you will need to get to know and a company handbook that you will need to familiarize yourself with! And then you need to become a contributing member of our work team and fit in flawlessly.
If this seems like a bit much for a new employee then you need to work on your onboarding strategy to make for a smooth transition for all new hires. What used to be called orientation has now evolved into the latest business buzz word “onbboarding”. The orientation process of yesteryear has now become a more thorough process of acclimating a new hire in such a way that they become a productive and satisfied members of the staff. Onboarding goes beyond the paperwork and introductions of the first few days into strategies to deal with long term training, mentoring and scheduled milestones.
Onboarding Is Not the Same as Training. A study of 264 new employees published in the Academy of Management Journal found that the first 90 days of employment (often called the probationary period) is pivotal to building rapport with the company, management and coworkers. When support levels were high from the team and leaders, new hires often had more positive attitudes about their job and worked harder. When support and direction were not offered, the inverse occurred, leading to unhappy and unproductive employees who didn’t make it much further than four months. (Forbes)
So how do companies maximize the success rate and retention rate of their new hires? Here are some tips and pointers to consider for your onboarding program.
Prior to the Start Date – There are many things that need to be done before the new employee even sets foot in the door including: creating a job description, a list of duties, setting up work area including phone, tech and email accounts, arranging for meetings with critical members of the staff, and prepare for some time with human resources.
During the First Few Days – Those first few days can be anxiety ridden with both sides asking “Is it a “good fit”? Make those first days smoother by:
- reviewing job expectations
- matching employee up with a mentor
- allow for socialization time
- tours of the business
- continuing review of job policies
- technology training
During the First Months – Many companies fall off with onboarding around this time. Unfortunately, this is a time when a new employee may need further help reaching independence and the ability to mesh with the company brand.
- Continue having regularly occurring one-on-one meetings.
- Meet for informal three-month performance check-in
- Have employee “shadow” you at meetings to get exposure to others and learn more about the department and organization.
- Continue professional training and mentoring with a “buddy” in the office.
During the First Year –
- Create an employee development plan. (Short and long term.)
- Provide formal and informal feedback on job performance.
- Recognize positive employee contributions.