The Onboarding Process: How to Keep Your Employees

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Two men shaking hands during the onboarding process.

The Onboarding Process: How to Keep Your Employees

One of the most interesting aspects of hiring a new employee is the onboarding process of welcoming them. It can be very daunting to throw yourself into a new job, and so making an effort to properly integrate and accept fresh hires is important. Otherwise, your employee might not even show up on the second day of work.

The onboarding process does not just cover the first few days of a new hire.  It is considered to be an involved process that can last up to 12 months, which is why it is critical to establish a clearly defined plan of action.

Fortunately for you, we’re here to help. Let’s get started!

What Is an Onboarding Process?

Onboarding is a term primarily used by the human resources industry in order to refer to the process in which a new employee is welcomed and integrated into the workplace. Without onboarding, the employee is bound to feel confused and without direction, making it likely for them to perform less than expected.

A new hire must be able to understand the requirements of their job and their responsibilities. This takes time, especially if the job has high expectations or a high degree of difficulty. The solution is to put the employee through a period of what is called “organizational socialization” in order to help them acclimate to the environment.

Studies prove that a solid onboarding process tends to have a thoroughly positive effect on the performance of new employees as well as the duration of the time they will spend with the company. Making them feel important as well as accepted and appreciated is one of the best ways of winning their loyalty and dedication.

Lori Goler, Vice President of People at Facebook, said, “If we have 10,000 people who work at Facebook, you would have 10,000 people tell you that they own the culture. We hire people who are like that. We express it to them during the hiring process and the recruiting process. We talk about it on their first day and their first week.”

How Long Does Onboarding Last?

The general consensus is that the onboarding process starts as soon as an employee accepts a job offer and ends when they are fully integrated within the workplace. This means that their performance should be what is expected, which is one of the primary reasons for holding an onboarding process in the first place.

HR professionals from around the world tend to agree that the onboarding process should naturally last between 90 and 100 days. On rare occasions, however – or depending on company culture – it can last for as long as 12 months. Don’t draw out the onboarding process if not needed, as the goal is to familiarize the employee with the workplace.

How Can I Implement an Onboarding Process?

Before getting started on developing a plan for your onboarding process, you should ask yourself why you want to do it in the first place. The reason is obvious – to acclimate your new hire – but the more you consider the question, the more you will intrinsically understand the concept behind it.

Thankfully, we’ve done some of the work for you. You should ask yourself and your team the following questions as a starting point:

  • When is onboarding going to start?
  • How long do we plan for it to last?
  • In which way are we going to gather much-needed feedback?
  • What impression do we want to give to new hires?
  • How will we ease them into their workload?

These questions should be carefully considered by upper management and ideally answered during a meeting or conference in order to share thoughts, opinions, and approaches. Drawing a battle plan with the movers and shakers of your company is an integral aspect of setting up an onboarding process.

Organization is Key

Being properly organized is the first building block to a successful onboarding program. You should consider all of the resources at your disposal and how you can use them to improve the onboarding experience of a new hire. For example, many businesses choose to create employee handbooks to help brief them regarding company culture and ethics.

Each company is different. Have you heard of “subject-matter expert” before? That’s a very common term used to refer to an employee that is particularly experienced in an area – a sign that they will always perform well when taking care of tasks related to it. Well, your company might call a subject-matter expert a “superuser” instead, whether because of preference or a need to be unique. What are you going to do when your new hire doesn’t quite understand the role of the position, though?

This situation can be avoided if you were to offer your new hires a glossary of terms that are frequently used within the company. Such resources make it infinitely easier for a new employee to become acquainted with how the company operates. This greatly reduces the manpower needed to brief them.

One aspect of the onboarding process that absolutely cannot be stressed enough is how important it is for the employee to arrive at an office that has already been set up. Imagine coming to work on your first day and being told by your HR specialist that you weren’t even expected and that your office isn’t ready! Such an experience can lead to the quick loss of a potentially valuable employee.

You should make sure that all of the minutiae of hiring someone is taken care of before their first day of office. This includes the employee’s computer, email address, login details such as username and password, and so on. Don’t waste valuable company time by getting this done during the middle of their first day.

Wake Up and Smell the ROI

A properly conducted onboarding process could mean a wealth of difference when it comes to the performance of your new employees. Without one, they are not likely to quickly catch up on company culture and work ethic, which means that their level of efficiency will be far below what is expected.

Do your research, set up a plan for an onboarding process, and apply it! Your business will thank you. If you need to read more about onboarding, then click here!

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