Onboarding for success

Onboarding for success

Did you know one-third of new starters quit in their first 6 months?

Quite shocking, isn’t it?

All that time, energy and resource spent on advertising the role, searching for the right candidate, and then you finally secure them! Then a matter of months later, you’re back to square one. There cannot be anything more frustrating, for you – the hiring manager, the recruiter, the team member, and even the MD.

A successful induction and onboarding process can improve employee retention by 82%.

So, what makes a ‘successful onboarding’?

First thing’s first, induction doesn’t start on an employee’s first day. How many times has a candidate accepted a role and then weeks go by, and you hear nothing? Or they withdraw with no (seemingly) good reason? The induction starts from the moment you offer, and the candidate accepts. In fact, the picture the candidate is building of your company has started long before this point – from the moment they read your job advert – but that’s a topic for another blog.

As soon as the verbal acceptance has taken place, the recruit should receive all their formal paperwork – an offer letter, contract of employment, and even a copy of the employee handbook is a great way to engage the employee from the get-go. Some candidates may have a lengthy notice period in their current role, so be mindful to keep in touch with them leading up to their start date. The last thing they will want to feel is forgotten.

Talking of which, to help your recruit feel valued, you can send them a welcome gift or have something waiting for them on their desk, so they feel as if their impending start date has been well considered and looked forward to.

Day 1 comes around, and the dreaded ‘induction’ begins. However, it doesn’t need to be so dreadful! Historically, inductions would involve completing piles of paperwork and reading endless policies and procedures, all whilst looking thrilled and enthusiastic to start your new role. Nowadays, we are so familiar with doing things online, we can make the induction process much more efficient, and even fun! Consider implementing an LMS (Learning Management System) for an online induction that can include engaging infographics, videos from the MD and interactive Q&A sessions. That being said, your new recruit won’t want to be left like Baby in the corner, on their laptop with just the LMS for the company. Think about breaking up the necessities of health and safety policies with coffee with their colleagues or arranging a team lunch to socialise in a more relaxed and informal way.  

It goes without saying, that a 1-2-1 with your new team member is essential when onboarding. It’s probably been some time since they have seen the role they applied for, and in practice, it may feel quite different. Sit down with your employee and have a chat about the role, what their first few weeks and months will look like and set the expectations. Provide the employee with details of key contacts in the business and encourage them to arrange introductions to begin building rapport. Ensuring the employee has awareness of contacts in the business lays good groundwork for effective communication. Moving forward, the employee will know exactly what is required of them and where their focus should lie. Schedule your 1-2-1s on a reoccurring basis so you have regular touchpoints with the employee and can support them to be successful in their role.

A few weeks into an employee’s onboarding – yes, it’s not just a 2-week plan and then they’re magically fully onboarded! – take some time to gather feedback on their induction process so far, so you can continually improve the process for future recruits, and address any knowledge gaps the employee may have. Conducting a training needs analysis at this stage is also helpful in directing their development and showing your investment in them to grow their career whilst in your business. Set some mini objectives and commit to enrolling them in training programs to support their integration into the role.

Remember, onboarding and induction are not a one-size-fits-all approach. You need to tailor the process to the individual based on their role, their skills, and capabilities. An employee’s onboarding is the first encounter they have with how you do things, so be inspiring, be engaging, and be available. The sooner your recruit is integrated, the sooner they can contribute to the business, and when an employee understands your vision, they will be engaged, productive, and drive profitability.

That is why onboarding is not just for the recruit’s success, but for the success of the business.


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