Benefits of a formal onboarding process

Benefits of a formal onboarding process

Years ago, “onboarding” a new employee meant a quick tour of the workplace, brief introductions to a few co-workers and a stack of forms to fill out. But, today, many employers are catching on to the benefits of a well-planned and fully featured onboarding program.

This is something we have implemented and continuously work to improve at hb&k.  In order to have the best new-employee experience possible, we have an internal committee dedicated to working on onboarding.  A few of their tasks are to ensure we prepare the workspace before the employee starts, create a plan for the first few days, and host an end-of-quarter group training for all new employees.  Mentors and coaches are established early in the process so the employee has someone to check-in with and ask questions. Check out how these techniques can make new employees more prepared and successful at your workplace.

Employment deliverables

Onboarding refers to “[a formal] process of helping new hires adjust to social and performance aspects of their new jobs quickly and smoothly,” according to the Society for Human Resource Management. A comprehensive onboarding program focuses on a number of employment deliverables, including:

• Stronger performance and productivity,
• Higher job satisfaction,
• Deeper organizational commitment,
• Reduced stress, and
• An enhanced sense of career direction.

It also provides the employer with the opportunity to be clear about compliance procedures, HR policies, and compensation and benefits offerings.

3 general phases

What does a comprehensive onboarding program look like? Specifics depend on the size, industry and nature of the employer in question. But, generally, an onboarding program can be segmented into three phases:

1. Prestart preparation. The onboarding process should begin before a new hire starts work. This involves steps such as discussing his or her specific acclimation needs, choosing and preparing a work space, and designating a coach or mentor.  This will create a smoother process for the new employee to begin training when they arrive.

One of the unique things hb&k does for new employees is to prepare a folder of information that includes a “Get to Know” booklet.  This contains a picture and lists areas of expertise and interesting facts for all employees. If the new employee has a specific interest or question, they will know who to connect with to talk about it.

2. Start date procedures. As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” An onboarding program might involve an itemized start-date schedule that lays out everything for the first few days.  This can include who will greet the new employee at the door to what paperwork must be completed to a detailed itinerary of meetings and one-on-ones throughout the day. Ensure those who are working with the new employee are available to train and assist with questions in the first few weeks.

3. Poststart coaching. Even a great first day can mean nothing if a new hire feels ignored thereafter.  Establish continuing check-in meetings with the employee’s direct supervisor and coach/mentor.  These interactions may be more frequent at the beginning of employment and can decrease over time.

An important concept

“Onboarding” may sound like jargon. But a failure to respect its importance can result in higher employee turnover, lower morale and weaker productivity. Please contact us for more information on boosting your bottom line through smart employment practices.

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