Everyone has jitters on the first day of a new job. Why not make that experience easier with an effective, organized, and compassionate onboarding experience? The onboarding experience is often an employee's first extended interaction with their new employer. It sets the tone for the rest of their time at the business. Optimizing the onboarding process as a hiring manager is a key strategy for improving your employer brand and recruiting better candidates, per ZOHO. By the time onboarding is finished, your new employee should have an in-depth understanding of your company’s culture and values, clear expectations for their work responsibilities, and set a foundation for long-term success at the company.
There are five phases to a successful onboarding experience. Each step varies in length, but solicitude is a common theme.
Pre-onboarding. This phase begins as soon as your candidate accepts the job offer and continues until their first day on the job. By lending a helping hand to new employees while they complete paperwork, and giving them ample time to do so, they will start to feel more excited about joining the organization rather than uncertain. Be mindful of any exit tasks they may be completing for their previous employer as well as assist in relocating, if possible. Even suggesting the better parts of town or your favorite restaurants are appreciated.
Welcoming new hires. During orientation, help your new employee gain a better sense of your organizational culture, and show them how your work practices are aligned with this culture. Discuss topics like time off, employee benefits, and payroll policies. Bring them on a tour of your office space to make them feel at home. After this, introduce your new hires to their teammates and other key stakeholders. During the end of the second phase, organize a check-in meeting to make sure they are comfortable and adjusting well. As most will be, hopefully, eager to get started, restrict this phase to less than a week.
Role-specific training. The training phase is one of the most important phases of onboarding, and it's directly correlated with how successful new employees will be at their jobs. Without formal training, your employees may not know what it takes to thrive professionally and may feel unsupported in their overall development, resulting in a high turnover rate. Learning materials should be stored in a place that employees can easily access and refer back to. Digital copies are a bonus.
Easing the transition to the new role. The next phase of onboarding is meant to help employees transition from the role of a new hire to one of a full-fledged employee. Set clear expectations so that they know what they are responsible for by establishing SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and anchored within a Time Frame.
30-60-90 day check-ins. Searchlight suggests conducting a review to recognize efforts so far and to help the employee improve performance by re-aligning on expectations. These scheduled meetings also allow for a connection to be made in this increasingly remote world. You can ask questions in these check-ins like:
Are the workload and expectations reflective of the job description?
What do you feel you are doing well, and what can we help you with to do even better?
Where do you see yourself six months from now in this role? SHRM reports that 86% of new hires make a decision to stay with a company long-term within the first six months.
Studies have shown that structured, clear onboarding increases time-to-productivity by 62% and employee engagement by 54%, as found by SHRM. Successful onboarding is essential for a successful organization, to help new hires adapt to organizational culture, values, and work. Otherwise, the chance of facing high turnover among new hires increases, and the time, effort, and energy spent behind recruitment are in vain.
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