Keys to an Effective Onboarding Process

Studies show that nearly half of new employees fail to reach their 18th month.  The Wynhurst Group estimates that the cost of losing an employee in the first year is at least three times salary.  A study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that, of the 6 million injured on the job each year, 40% are employees who have been with the company less than one year. Those who went through a structured new employee onboarding process were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years. So don’t leave your new hire onboarding to chance.  See below for 5 tips on how to improve your new employee onboarding process.  

1. Use a team approach to onboarding new hires.  Your new hire isn’t just the responsibility of HR or the hiring manager.  Yes, those two team members should provide leadership in the onboarding process.  However, it is also important for other leaders and department team members in the organization to support the onboarding process via welcome emails, periodic presentations to groups of new hires, coffee, and other encouragement.  The process should inspire the performance you are seeking.
2. Familiarize new hires with the culture and the team.  New hires are the future of your business.  Make new employees feel welcome, socialize the company culture, and introduce them to important team members.  Avoid overwhelming them with too many names, and instead focus on starting to forge the relationships that will be most important to their success.  The bottom line:  integrate new hires so that they feel as though they’re really part of the team, have clarity in their roles and expectations, and have an overall sense of belonging.  
3. Increase Manager interaction with the new hire.  The leader / employee relationship is vital to long-term success and is likely the most important relationship a new hire needs to establish. Create opportunities for managers to interact with new employees starting on day one, and throughout the on-boarding process. Likewise, mentoring helps new employees acclimate to their new jobs, which in turn helps reduce employee turnover rates.
4. Use straightforward communications from the start.  Your industry likely has many abbreviations and advanced concepts.  While your new hire will likely have some exposure to these ideas, they may not be fluent in the most complicated concepts.  Be sure to demystify these concepts by simplifying your presentation of these concepts and making sure that they truly understand the key points.
5. Raise awareness of safety.  As mentioned above, the 6 million individuals who are injured on the job every year cost US businesses more than $125 billion annually.  Nearly all jobs have safety risks, whether it is a potential breach of confidential information or bodily harm.  If you are in an industry where costly injuries are a workforce risk, focus on providing information and training that will prevent avoidable safety issues.  The most advanced organizations provide training via customized material, and then test that the team members have learned this material. This will lead to better workforce safety and an increase in productivity.
Use a well-thought-out employee onboarding process that focuses on the critical first few days and extends for approximately 90 days, which is the amount of time most new hires have to lay the foundation for success in their companies.  A successful onboarding process will result in better employee performance that is sustained for the long-term.  In the long-run, a successful onboarding process will save money by increasing retention, encouraging teamwork, improving culture, and maximizing workforce safety.