Onboarding: 4 Tips for a Good Employee Experience

by: Dean Fulford

Your company likely grows by strategically hiring where the need and impact will be greatest. When filling these important roles, you need new hires to hit the ground running.

Unfortunately, many companies have no structured onboarding process so new employees get too little support.  Once they are shown their desks, they are pretty much left to “figure it out” for themselves.

Folks, that’s flirting with disaster!

The investment to recruit new talent is significant.  Yet the Conference Board of Canada tells us that average employee turnover runs at about 7% annually.  Turnover is expensive – at the senior leader level it can cost as much as 40 times base salary.  Nevertheless, 40%-50% of new executives fail within their first 18 months according to The Center for Creative Leadership.  Even the savviest new employee can be unsuccessful if left to just “figure it out.”

If their welcome is nothing more than an orientation to the company’s intranet and HR policies, new employees won’t be prepared to navigate internal networks, build relationships and meet objectives. New hires usually get about 90 days to show their stuff.  Here are 4 onboarding tips to help them make the grade:

  • Start during the recruitment process. Share information about the role, expectations and organizational climate during the recruitment process; an informed candidate can better assess whether he or she will fit in.
  • Clarify goals. Nothing unlocks an employee’s potential more then seeing a connection between their own work and company goals. Build a plan that includes opportunities for early wins.
  • Make connections. Ensure the new hire is introduced to key stakeholders, leaders and peers; an assigned mentor can help facilitate introductions.
  • Create a development plan. The new hire needs to have some accountability in the process of onboarding. Create a formal plan for development that includes self-directed learning, as well as mentoring, coaching and knowledge sharing.

Successful onboarding includes setting performance objectives, introducing new hires to colleagues to build internal networks, and helping them assimilate the company’s practices and values.  It just makes sense to protect your investment in new talent and ensure new hires are equipped, engaged and able to contribute quickly.  Trust me.  If you don’t put the effort into proper onboarding you might just be tossing your investment overboard!

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