Employee onboarding is crucial to the success of a company. HR specialists link strategic onboarding with a higher level of employee engagement, decreased adaption time, and decreased turnover. Adaptation can take six months or even longer in some cases. Generally, it’s recommended by HR professionals to have a 3-month onboarding programme. This helps newbies to learn and understand a company’s dynamic, leadership style, get to know their colleagues properly, and to adapt their own work style to the company’s.
Onboarding in smaller organisations can be difficult due to a lack of time and resources. Here are some tips to help those in this situation:
Simple things, such as walking your new team member around the office and showing them where everything is, including coffee cups and showing them, for example, how the coffee machine and microwave works is a great starting point to building a trusting and open professional relationship. Small talk helps to reduce a new employee’s anxiety and helps to make them feel like they’ve joined a friendly company.
2. Be clear about your expectations for the trial period and to offer support.
Point out that you understand that they’re on a learning curve and be flexible to allow for this adaptation phase. If you have KPIs, make a point that they’re not expected to reach them immediately and that their KPIs will be different to those of the employees already working in the company for a long time. Do, however, communicate your expectations for them as a new employee clearly. People naturally want to perform well, however, they may struggle in the beginning to adapt to your way of working.
3. Talk to new employees about their experience with the company at an early stage.
Is everything clear to them? Or, do they may require extra training in some aspect? Is there someone they could shadow for a day or two? There are options which are cost-free and can be very effective.
4. Focus on people, not on paperwork.
We are all humans and we all have feelings. We also have skills and experience which differs from one to another. Some personality traits such as High Neuroticism and Introversion are associated with more ‘worrying’ and a less proactive approach in terms of seeking support. These people can be some of the best workers, but they may just require more support in the early stages of a new role.
5. When you decide to prepare an onboarding programme think about 1) the goal of the business and your current situation; 2) the processes and policies you have that new employees must know; and 3) where and how a new hire can access information independently and learn more about the company or the work.
6. And last, but not least, make sure that the desk, laptop and work email, and any other software has been set up prior to them arriving on their first day of work. You should want to make a good first impression on a new employee, as they will surely be trying to do the same for you.
Negative onboarding experiences can quickly lead to employee disengagement. In contrast, after completing a structured onboarding programme, employees are far more likely to remain with a company for three years or more, according to the recent study.
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