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  • Daisy Quelch

Successful Onboarding... A tricky feat?

Setting up new employees in your company correctly is vital to successful onboarding and employee retention. This is why it's essential to have a plan for each new hire's first day, week and probation period (if that's how your company works!).

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is welcoming new employees into a business, the process of getting them settled in with activities and training included. The activities can include things such as;

  • Taking them for lunch with the team

  • Setting up their desk with branded freebies

  • Assisting with paperwork, etc

  • Basic training courses

Although 'onboarding' refers to the first steps that occur in the employee's time at a company, it's thought that it should last at least a year to be successful. Depending on the level at which the talent comes in, usually determines the length of time this process takes.

What are the benefits of successful onboarding?

A solid onboarding process has many positive impacts, including employees feeling more valued by their employer, and increasing staff engagement and pride in the company, all of which lead to reduced attrition rates.

What is the timeline of onboarding?

Before their first day:

  • Send the candidate a formal job offer letter, expressing your excitement for them to join your company (some businesses like to attach the salary and job description at this point)

  • The first contact should also have details such as how to find the office, parking arrangements, surrounding areas such as shops etc and the dress code for the office... nobody likes a surprise "casual Friday"!

  • Prep their desk before they arrive- do you have a welcome pack? Leave it on their desk! Make sure their laptop is all ready for them to log straight into (if their job is to use one, of course!)

  • Let the other team members know that someone new is starting, to ensure they get the welcome they deserve

On the first day:

  • Ensure key staff members are around/in the office on the first day of a new hire, to greet them and welcome them to the business

  • Take them on a tour of the office, introducing them to key stakeholders on the way! There's nothing worse than needing to ask where the toilet is...

  • Invite them to lunch- it can be daunting starting in a new company, especially when you don't know anybody

  • Task them with something substantial but not daunting. You don't want them to be bored (or overwhelmed) on their first day!

  • Give them the company handbook or policies to familiarise themselves with

During the first week or two:

  • Training should take place in the first two weeks of the candidate starting

  • Assign them their first project, and check in on their progress as they go- don't leave them to it, but don't encroach on their thinking time... it's a balancing act of support and autonomy

  • Set up a meeting with a peer mentor (preferably someone who isn't in their team), to answer questions and provide support during the first few weeks in their new role

The first three months:

  • Track progress that has been made since they started, and share this with them

  • Encourage the employee to join in with events outside the office, to bond with their team

  • Communicate with them- ask them how they feel their first quarter has gone, if they need any help with anything or if there's anything new they'd like to try!

Bonus Tips:

  • Make sure each task related to onboarding a new hire has somebody responsible- imagine somebody starting and nobody knows who is responsible for them... EEK!

  • Be prepared for anything- being flexible to changing the way you train somebody or incorporate a new staff member is vital in making them feel welcome and accepted in their new workplace

  • Learn from previous hires- ask your current employees what was great about their onboarding and what needs some work...

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