Onboarding Best Practice for the New Year

BlogHR Advice Posted: Thursday 8th December 2016 by

Staff turnover costs UK businesses well over £4BN every year and it’s easy to understand why with the average cost of replacing an employee topping £30K. This is made up of recruitment and absorption costs, as well as loss of output, with new employees in SMEs typically taking 24 weeks to reach optimum productivity.

The good news is that this can be minimised by an effective and efficient onboarding process. First impressions really do count, so here are our top tips for onboarding best practice and accelerating your new starter’s learning curve.

Don’t confuse staff induction with staff onboarding

Filling out forms, reading company policies and a quick tour of the office might constitute an employee induction, but onboarding is a longer-term and much more valuable exercise. Onboarding best practice focuses on assisting new employees to understand their role and its expectations. It also helps to build crucial relationships, and supports the new joiner in connecting to the organisation.

Prepare their colleagues

Ensure that the new starter’s immediate colleagues are aware of the employee’s start date. You may want to discuss the position, including short-and-longer-term expectations, performance measures and projects, with a supervisor or manager. Teams should be fully briefed on the new starter and their role within the organisation.

Avoid on-the-day delays or frustrations

As part of your onboarding best practice, make sure that the new starter’s desk and work station is fully equipped. This may mean that you need to order all furniture, computer and peripherals in good time, and check that telephone and desk supplies are working as expected. Ensure that all relevant email accounts are set up, and that they have access to document management, expense management and HR systems as relevant to their role. Schedule in that office tour, too!

Organise important meetings

Your new starter should spend a good proportion of their first day or two with people, and these meetings should be pre-arranged. Ensure that line managers and supervisors are available on the day and aware of their role in explaining a new joiner’s responsibilities and deliverables. Lunch with the colleagues they’ll be working most closely with is always a good idea, alongside meetings with colleagues of other relevant departments.

Choose a Sponsor

A buddy is a very effective way of ensuring your new starter settles in quickly. They can answer questions about the work environment and culture that aren’t always articulated in policies and procedures, and will also help the new employee socialise quicker. They can also provide informal feedback on an employee’s early days. Make sure you select someone who has the time available, and is well-regarded for their performance and attitude.

Build a Training Plan

As well as getting your employee up to speed with your company’s practices, systems and culture, training and development is one of the most effective ways of making your employee feel valued. Develop a training plan that not only covers all the basics of ensuring they know what to do and how to do it, but also demonstrates a long-term investment in their future at your organisation, such as a 12-month schedule of learning and development.

Plan it

Last but not least, develop an onboarding best practice plan for your organisation. It should span pre-arrival, first day, first week, first 90 days and first 12 months. Make sure it’s an active document and one that grows in scope and breadth as your organisation does.

For support onboarding best practice, or other employee engagement initiatives, get in touch with our expert team.

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