4 must-do steps to successfully onboarding new employees

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So, you’ve just hired a new employee? You no doubt went to great lengths to source the perfect candidate, spending hours on interviewing and background checks, or investing in a recruitment agency to help streamline the process. But have you put the same effort into the onboarding process to which you’re about to subject your new star candidate?

It’s a fact that the first few months of a new employee’s time at a company are the most critical, yet many companies underestimate this period’s importance, especially the vital role it plays in talent retention.

Consider these three crucial factors: newly hired employees could still be receiving (attractive) job offers from interested employers; newly hired employees will, over the next few months, constantly ask themselves if they made the right decision joining your organisation; and newly hired employees are not yet loyal to or invested in their team or the company, making leaving easy.

Now think about your onboarding process for new recruits; does it do enough to welcome newcomers to the firm, to fuel their confidence in their decision to join the company, and to make them want to stay?

There are four areas where onboarding processes normally fall down, and that are most often responsible for new talent walking out the door before they’ve even seen their first staff Christmas party:

  1. First points of contact: In their first days, once the paperwork has been completed, new employees interact with a range of departments, from IT to training. It’s imperative that all these departments (not just HR) are service-oriented, helpful and focused on ensuring a positive and user-friendly experience for new hires.
  2. Workstation readiness: It’s surprising how often new employees (even those in senior positions) describe experiencing practical problems at their new company, like telephones, laptops or even entire workstations not being ready. That does little to inspire confidence in new arrivals. Make sure everything your new employee needs to seamlessly integrate into their team is ready from day one.
  3. An inherent culture of welcoming: New staff need to feel genuinely welcome and important. Dismissive or arrogant behaviour from long-standing employees can be demoralising. Aim to create a culture within the company that specifically focuses on welcoming new employees, and that includes defined expectations from existing staff. Also ensure new hires have enough one-on-one time with their direct managers to ask questions and raise concerns.
  4. Mechanisms for feedback: Aside from time with direct managers, new employees should have access to an impartial mechanism that allows them to talk freely about their onboarding experience. This allows you to quickly identify and rectify any potential negative experiences.

Just as important as perfecting the onboarding process is keeping an open mind when it comes to feedback on the process. It’s not always easy accepting criticism of the company from an ‘outsider’ and not holding their views against them as they proceed on their journey with the company.

But this is the feedback that will help improve and build a more robust onboarding process for your organisation. Given the significance of successful onboarding in retaining talent – which is only going to intensify in the future as the battle for attracting and securing top talent escalates – this input is invaluable.

Niteske Marshall is MD of Network Recruitment, which specialises in niche personnel placements in the local engineering, finance and IT sectors. The company has offered optimum recruitment solutions to both clients and candidates for 28 years based on its credo: ‘developing relationships, delivering results’.

For further information visit www.networkrecruitment.co.za

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