First impressions count. Make sure the early days of the employment relationship are positive and this will reinforce the belief that a good choice has been made on both sides. Increasingly, organisations ensure the induction process starts from the moment the formal offer of employment is made and bring all activities together under the umbrella term of 'onboarding'.
The aim of onboarding is to bring new recruits into the company and get them up to speed as quickly as possible. Missing the opportunity to use the momentum generated by a new recruitment – on both sides – can have long-lasting negative effects.
Here are some tips to get new joiners off to a flying start:
- check that you have onboarding and induction guidelines: according to PersonnelToday, 38% of companies worldwide do not, while 22% of new recruits are put off by their onboarding experience and don’t take up the job
- ensure you issue terms and contracts promptly – new recruits may pursue other offers if they’re kept waiting for a contract
- communicate regularly to make sure new employees are engaged and feel valued as part of the organisation. Use technology to support your onboarding messages
- bridge the gap and engage your new employee in your organisation’s news immediately – it’s far harder to overcome any negative engagement further down the line.
Just as technology has changed the way we work, it is also streamlining the onboarding process. Dedicated online platforms and apps can replace traditional methods that have proved to be too slow, inconvenient and out of step with the organisation's style of business.
For example, creating an onboarding website that includes everything needed for the first day at work gives new joiners a base-level awareness of the company, its principles, policies and some key information. It can include a video welcome from a senior director, as well as the offer letter and the contract (which can be accepted online) making the process more dynamic and more reliable than a paper pack sent through the post.
An online information hub can also provide all the information that new recruits need, such as orientation into work, schedule, availability, payroll, work record, training records, employee benefits and news.
A major part of onboarding is the induction programme to help new employees settle in and become familiar with the organisation. The article ‘getting to know you: the induction’ sets out how to design successful individual and group induction processes.
Even when budgets are limited, the onboarding process helps new recruits to feel 'at home' from day one. Suggestions for a successful onboarding process include providing:
- basic information about the company, such as an organisation chart or a guide for technical language
- some tips to help new starters settle in, such as your dress code, good places to get lunch, and arrangements for teas and coffees
- a checklist for what they'll need to bring on their first day
- links to company social networking groups – that way they'll get to 'meet future colleagues’ before they start
- access to the latest company news, which helps new starters to understand the culture
- a dedicated feedback function or a 'buddy', to enable new recruits to ask questions.
Ensure IT for new recruits is up and running before they arrive; and if you regularly use agency workers, sub-contractors and freelancers, extend the relevant parts of the onboarding process to them, too. If you invite new hires who are on a longer notice period to social events, they get to meet their future colleagues in an informal setting.
Induction is ongoing
To make sure your onboarding is effective, ask existing employees what would have made their lives easier, and implement those suggestions into your induction process to keep it effective and relevant.