Why and How to On-Board New Employees

The definition of on-boarding is “the action or process of integrating a new employee into an organization or familiarizing a new customer or client with one’s products or services.”

If done right, new employee on-boarding can increase productivity and enhance retention. Done incorrectly or not at all, can lead to the opposite – frustrated, under-performing employees who look for other jobs.

In a February 2014 survey by BambooHR, 23 percent of respondents who left a job within the first six months said “receiving clear guidelines to what my responsibilities were” would have helped them stay on the job. Twenty-one percent said they wanted “more effective training,” 17 percent said “a friendly smile or helpful co-worker would have made all the difference,” 12 percent said they wanted to be “recognized for [their] unique contributions,” and 9 percent said they wanted more attention from the “manager and co-workers.”

Done right, a new employee on-boarding process can:

  • Create a positive work culture to attract and retain top talent
  • Foster employee engagement and productivity
  • Build trust and communication
  • Create connections between employees

It is actually quite easy to create an effective on-boarding process. To ensure your new hires stay-and succeed-here are some best practices:

Before Your New Employee Starts

  • Contact them to let them know that you are excited that they will be joining you, offer to answer any questions, and send them information to read about your company. Include information on your dress code, directions, parking, and who to ask for when they arrive.
  • Sent them paperwork to complete before they arrive so that the first day is not spent just filling out paperwork (boring!).
  • Schedule meetings with key staff.
  • Assign the new employee to a buddy.
  • Set up the new employee’s work station with office supplies, phone extension, email address, etc.
  • Send a company-wide email to introduce your new employee.

The First Week

  • Give the new employee a tour of the office including their work station, bathrooms, copier, etc.
  • Schedule a company-paid lunch with the new employee’s teammates.
  • Schedule a meeting between the new employee and his/her supervisor to discuss how to work together, company culture, performance expectations, the employee’s role and how it relates to the company’s big picture, etc.

The First Three Months

  • Schedule any required training.
  • Schedule regular meetings between the new employee and his/her supervisor to give and get feedback and answer questions.
  • Be patient. According to an article in Training Industry Quarterly, it can take a year or two before an employee is “fully productive.”
  • Ask new employees to complete an anonymous survey about their onboarding process. Use that data to make improvements.

Effective employee onboarding programs increase employee performance and retention. What other best practices in new employee on-boarding have you experienced?

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