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How to Effectively On-board New Employees

Many companies spend tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on hiring new staff each year. Given the cost of finding and acquiring new staff it is important that you have a plan in place to effectively on-board new employees.

If you get this employee on-boarding process right you can:

  • Ensure staff start providing value to your organisation quicker
  • Reduce turnover of staff
  • Improve performance through appropriate training programs
  • foster a stronger sense of culture amongst new hires.

If you fail on on-board new employees correctly they can be a drag on the organisation and negatively effect employee turnover, morale and productivity.

Proper procedures should be put in place to ensure that new employees get a full picture of their organisation and their role when they first join an organisation. As a result the best time to put employees on an on-boarding program is immediately after they are hired.

If anything, your on-boarding process should actually start before this, even during the interview stage. When hiring new staff it is important to make sure they are the right fit for the organisation and you can start developing an awareness of a companies culture during these very first conversations.

Once a candidate is then hired, the formal on-boarding process can start. This process can be summarised by following the “4 C’s” which we will discuss below.

Employee On-Boarding – Understanding The Company

How to Effectively On-board New Employees - The Company

Given the importance of company culture to the long term success of an organisation providing you new hires with background information on the company, it’s vision, strategy and goals is an ideal starting point.

This allows the employee to understand why an organisation operates the way it does and where it sees its short, medium and long term future. An employee who is able to buy into this vision will be better prepared to make informed decisions that align with this vision and have a clear understanding on how the company is expected to grow and develop overtime.

This part of the employee on-boarding process is more “facts and figures” based. It should focus on the nuts and bolts of the organisation and how it operates. A new employee should come aware for this part of the on-boarding process knowing who does what within an organisation, and how all of its moving parts come together. We will discuss the importance that culture plans in effective employee on-boarding later in this article.

Employee On-Boarding – Career Development

How to Effectively On-board New Employees - Career Development

Most employees join a new company with a clear goal on where they want to take their career over the next 3, 5 or even 10 years. As they have chosen to join your company chances are they see their future their. This makes it an ideal time to showcase how your organisation supports the ongoing growth and development of their staff.

Career development can take the form of employee training, career planning and advancement. Successfully on-boarding an employee shouldn’t be seen as a one and done type of thing. You should constantly be selling your employees on the value they can bring to the organisation and the value your organisation can provide to them. Having a strong career development program is one way to achieve this.

Employee On-Boarding – Fostering A Sense Of Culture

How to Effectively On-board New Employees - Culture

In addition to understanding “how” a company operates a new employee must successfully sold on “why” an organisation exists. It is easy to push this concern aside as “fluff” but research shows that companies with a strong sense of company culture outperform those that don’t have one.

Culture is an ongoing process but it is important to build the foundation correctly from the start. Culture is a shared set of principles that govern how people within the company operate. Culture often forms naturally so it is important that management are aware of the culture that is taking hold in an organisation and make sure they steer it in the right direction.

To successfully on-board an employee in regard to your company’s culture you should look to help them foster relationships within and across teams, highlight the environment and social outcomes that are important to the organisation and articulate why this is the case.

Employee On-Boarding – Building Connections

How to Effectively On-board New Employees - Connections

As you may have noticed through out the initial part of this article an underlying theme across the on-boarding process is the importance of relationships. Staff can only successfully on-board with your company if they are able to build relationships with their colleagues to understand the how and why a company operates.

During the on-boarding process you should create programs that help share and create connections amongst both new and existing staff members. To successfully execute on this part of your on-boarding process needs to help facilitate both formal and informal connections within the workforce.

This essentially provides new employees with an avenue to learn more about the company, acquire new skills and successfully be ingrained with how the company operates on a daily basis.

What Happens Next In The On-Boarding Process?

Organizations should understand that on-boarding is an ongoing process. It does not really end when the employees have already adapted to their new work environment.

To ensure that your employee on-boarding process continues to remain relevant for your organisation you should regularly review new cohorts of employees to see how they have adapted to their new roles and the extent to which they have embraced the company’s culture.

If you continually look to refine and improve your employee on-boarding process it should continue to remain relevant to all staff for many years to come.