Hiring new employees is often a source of frustration in many organizations. Jobs take longer than usual to fill, people may find it hard to settle into their new roles and there is generally a loss of momentum on key projects as staff cycle in/out.
This however often has very little to do with the qualifications, skills or experience of the staff member involved. In fact, this entire process can be streamlined by optimizing the employee on-boarding process.
On-boarding refers to the process of inducting new employees into your company. But it should go well beyond just a welcome pack and overview of the company’s products/services and history. A successful on-board process also ingrains the company’s culture into new staff.
Benefits of Having an Employee On-Boarding Process
Having a formal on-boarding process for new staff isn’t something you should ignore. It’s easy to assume it is just another “thing” HR have to do. But adopting this mindset will set you on the wrong path from day one.
Successfully on-boarding new staff is critical to the success of that new employee and by association your team and company as a whole. Successfully on-boarding staff when they commence a new job allows them to settle into their role with greater ease, begin to adopt the company culture and understand who and where to go to with any questions they have.
Ultimately, a successful on-boarding program helps align staff with the broader company goals and shows how they fit into that overall picture.
This underscores how vital it is that you impress company values and policies to employees right from the start. Here is how to on-board new staff:
Step One: Have an Employee Boarding Process
The first step should be creating a standard process that all new employees must follow. This isn’t something that should be left to chance or individual teams to manage. You need the company all on “one page” and the only way to do that is to formalize your employee on-boarding process.
If your company doesn’t have an on-boarding process yet then a good strategy is to seek input from your existing employees. Understand from them what worked, and what didn’t when they first joined the company. Where there critical questions they had that weren’t answered appropriated?
You then need to give appropriate thought to balancing the on-boarding process across that employees need to understand their role and responsibilities with the broader mission of the company and how company culture also plays its part in determining the success or otherwise of the organization.
Step Two: Focus on Company Culture
One cannot overemphasize just how important it is to ensure that new employees understand and follow the already established company culture. After all, isn’t your company culture a foundation for all your operations?
It is not enough that your new employees know what they are expected to do: make sure that they also know how to do it. What is unique about the way you carry out business? Make sure that they know what it is, and that they follow it as well.
For instance, team work could be an integral part of your company culture. Perhaps you encourage your employees to work together as a team, as opposed to a servant-leader approach.
Whatever it is that is valued most at your company, ensure that you impress it to employees who join you. It will serve as a guiding compass to them for the duration they will work for you.
Additionally, being able to follow a certain culture gives people a sense of belonging. And knowing that they fit in can work wonders for the productivity of your new employees.
Step Three: Set Goals
Setting goals should also form part of your on-boarding process. Goals provide a compelling sense of direction, and achieving them can go a long way in boosting the confidence of new employees.
When setting goals you also have the opportunity to further articulate how that employees role feeds into the broader mission of the company. As such their individual goals should align with the strategic direction of the company.
During the on-boarding process it will be difficult for the new employee to determine just how much they can get done in their first 3, 6 or 12 months of employment. Therefore you should highlight that these goals are designed to guide their performance initially. In time, you can then firm up the goals to be more specific and time bound.
Step Four: 1 on 1’s Meetings
As a leader, it is important that you take time to support and mentor your employees on a regular basis. While no one wants to be bogged down in needless meetings, they do form part of the ongoing on-boarding process for new employees.
Why? Well one on one meetings provide a chance for the employee and manager to get used to each others work style, to monitor and evaluate performance show by the employee and to assist with any questions or concerns they have. You never want an employee to feel as though they don’t know what to do, or who to turn to when they have a question.
It is easy to think that asking for weekly reports or simply evaluating your employees’ progress through email saves you time and money, but the contrary is actually true. Put aside at least fifteen minutes each week to sit down with new employees and discuss how their various projects are coming along. It will prove to be worthwhile in the long term.
Step Five: Build Their Internal Network
It is also important to put a plan in place that allows new employees to meet other employees both within and outside their immediate team. Not only does this allow them to build an understanding of other critical functions within the business but it also strengthens the sense of team and a shared goal.
It is also a good idea to go the extra mile and introduce them to key stakeholders outside your company and even key customers. This not only makes them feel at home, but it also makes it easy for them to carry out their functions better. After all, how often does an employee in a company get to work all by themselves?
Step Six: Continue On-Boarding
It is easy to stop on- boarding once a few months have passed, but this should not be the case. Make sure that you follow up on the new employees long after they have settled in your company.
On boarding helps employees to feel valued. This shouldn’t stop after a few months: in fact, it should be an ongoing process that carries on way after employees have ceased to be considered new.
You would be well advised to put in place an on-boarding program that encompasses both the very new and the not-so-new employees. It should aim at boosting the confidence of your employees as well as making sure that they have all they need to succeed and grow in your company.
Essentially, you always want your employees to feel as though they are growing and have an opportunity to learn more and develop their skills further. You can only do this if you consider the entire life cycle of an employee, not just their first few days, weeks or months.
On- boarding is an extremely important process that shouldn’t be simply overlooked. It has been shown that companies which have a solid on-boarding plan in place also have an lower employee turn-over and a clearer mission that employees understand and can get behind.
Take the time to develop a good on-boarding policy. Make new employees feel good about joining your company. Make them feel valued and important, and they are bound to stick to your company for a long time to come.
Also published on Medium.