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The Importance of a Strong Onboarding Process

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As a start-up company, we have learnt over the years just how important it is to nail the onboarding process.

According to a survey by Careerbuilder and Silkroad Technology, 1 in 10 employees have left a company because of a poor onboarding experience, with 37% feeling that their manager did not play a critical role in supporting their onboarding experience.

Neglecting the onboarding process can lead to a rise in the company’s turnover and a decline in productivity.

Discussions on this topic often yield a diverse range of experiences from person to person, varying greatly depending on the company in question.

I’m sure you’ve probably started a new role and thought wow that was a breeze- this company know exactly what they are doing! Other times it may feel like the days before starting, up until a few weeks in you are still slightly perplexed, wandering around the office feeling like a bit of a spare part. Hearing the words ‘relax it's your first few weeks, you’ll learn things over time' doesn’t really cut it! Companies with a poor onboarding system can and will quickly lose the confidence of candidates and are more likely to lose people in their first year!

So what can you do to improve your employee onboarding process?

Onboarding is usually done by the employer, supervisor, HR Executive or all three at different stages of the process. Having a main point of contact prior to joining and a place where you are frequently available to answer questions (our favourite is WhatsApp) is a great way to help the new starter feel more at ease and ready for their first day. If they have a notice period of a month or two be sure to check in with them, see how they are getting on (especially if they are relocating to a new country to work for you), keep them updated about flight plans, hotels etc.

Let’s take it back to the initial stages. A good way to get the candidate involved and already rooting for your company from the get-go is to get them talking to the people in your office during the interview process; employees that they may have commonality with. The people in the office that love your company culture. This may help the candidate get excited about your company, giving them a real feel of the office vibe.

 Fast forward and your candidate has accepted and signed the contract. Now it’s time to wow them with an informative, exciting document. Give them a glimpse into the heart and soul of the company- from its origins and vision to its unique culture and people. Don’t forget to include essential details like visa processes and of course, the amazing benefits that they can look forward to. Set the right tone for a fantastic experience from day one and let them know they’ve made the right choice!

Make a lasting impression on your new employee’s first day by greeting them with a fully loaded starter pack! From team swag to customized tech kits, go that extra mile to create a welcoming environment for your newest team member. Show them how excited you are that they have arrived. Some companies like to welcome the new team member with a breakfast morning in the office, while others go all out with welcome balloons, confetti and cake!

Next up on the onboarding list, we would recommend preparing a guide outlining the key plans and milestones for the new employee to reference from day one up to around day sixty. In the first week, it is crucial to provide a clear timetable that outlines the schedule of any activities, learnings and events so that the employee knows what to expect and when to prevent any confusion. Additionally, for the first few days, it may be a good idea to assign a peer to that person, maybe someone that works in their department to sit with/grab lunch with on the first day.

Some companies like to use gamification in their onboarding process for a more interactive process and to enhance the new employee's engagement/motivation. The idea behind this is to make the process feel less like a ‘going through the motions chore’ and more of an enjoyable learning experience. This kind of onboarding can make the company stand out, appear innovative and dynamic whilst appealing to younger generations of employees that value these exact traits.

We may not always get the onboarding process right, but by providing as much training, knowledge, support and resources to help your new employee succeed in their new position, will usually lead to a success story for both parties! Regular check-ins and one-to-ones with management will help to guide the employee and ensure they are on track to win in their career with you!

Our advice is to give your best shot at making your people feel valued and important from the initial conversation and throughout the process. Set them up for true success!


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