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How to build an onboarding program for your new hires

Onboarding New Hires for Success

Do employees who appear eager to join your company, move on to new opportunities that “can′t be passed up”  after just a couple months after joining? Do your new hires stop showing up after a week or two? Let′s get to the bottom of this mystery.

Employee turnover will happen, but an eternal employee is a rare unicorn. No matter how great of a company you are, people will come and go, but each time you need to replace an employee  it costs your company 16-20% their salary.

If you have noticed that practically only senior staff are the only bodies in your office, you have a problem. Growing a company (that is your goal, right?) requires a consistent influx of new blood. If you are struggling with getting new hires to stay for long enough to groom them into team leaders and managers, you need to change something.

About Onboarding

Onboarding is the set of tools, techniques, and methods used to acclimate new hires to your company. Effective onboarding requires more than just an office orientation for new hires.

Whether you know it or not, you already have an onboarding program. Nobody just shows up to work on their first day knowing exactly what to do and what everybody′s name is. The key difference is whether or not you have a slipshod approach to orientation or a structured, comprehensive onboarding program. Employees that experience a structured onboarding program are  69% more likely to stay for more than three years.

Here′s how to build a world class onboarding program to help your new hires feel right at home:

Begin onboarding before the first day

According to one study,  83% of the most successful companies  begin onboarding  before the first day of work  for a new hire.

One technique that has proven consistently successful is to have the HR department email new hires a “first day guide”  attached in a company-wide email welcoming them to the team. However, do not fall into the trap of making the guide portion of the email entirely professional and dry. Help break the ice by including casual language and humor along with standard operating procedures, directions, and what to bring with them to the office on their first day.

Comprehensive walk-through

Before their orientation meeting, guide your new hires through your office and meet the  entire team.  76% of new hires believe that socialization  is the most important component to feeling acclimated to a new company. So, get them to meet everybody. New hires should not be limited to being onboarded in isolation within their specific department and immediate supervisors. They should have the opportunity to get to know the whole team on a first-name basis.

Pre-onboarding with social media

The majority of new hires have already done research on your company checking social media. So, if your LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram profiles are transparent regarding your company′s culture and employee expectations, new hires will already go in with an understanding of what your company is all about. Take a look at how IBM is using their  Instagram account  to promote company culture.

Additional tip: feature a new hire section on your company′s social media, with the personal profiles of team leaders and department managers welcoming questions from applicants and new hires. Not only does it show that your company is transparent (which is becoming highly valued by new recruits), but it affirms that your organization is made of people first, workers second.

Never start on Monday again

There is a reason why people sometimes have a “case of the Mondays”  but you never heard of a “case of the Fridays” : people love Fridays! The office dynamic becomes more whimsical, management doesn′t have such a short fuse, and new hires leave their first day feeling excited to go out and boast about their new job.

Here is a  testimony from a successful tech company  that has been starting orientation on Friday for two years to wonderful success. Once you start group orientations on Fridays you will never go back.

What′s your favorite candy?

Orientation, personal introductions, and pairing up with a mentor for long-term training are important for effective onboarding. Starting on Friday helps with leaving a lasting, relaxed first impression. However, if you want to know a hidden onboarding secret, try doing something similar to  what HR Vice President Erika McGrath does – asking recruits during their interview what their favorite candy is.

When they show up on their first day, she already has a bowl of their favorite candy on their desk. It only costs the company a few bucks, but it demonstrates to new hires that the C-level team supports a culture of personal investment in their staff. It shows that they care not only about a job well done, but that they value their employees as  people  first.

It′s onboarding, not onboard

Now that you have an insight to some of the savviest, world class onboarding practices, keep in mind that onboarding is an ongoing process.  New hires need, on average, eight months  to become fully productive and feel confident at their job.

The more that you invest in your new recruits, the greater your ROI will be year after year when you get them to stick around for the long run.

We covered some onboarding techniques in this article, however we know that there are many more out there. What does your onboarding process look like and how is it working out for you? Comment below to share!


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