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Back to Basics: Onboarding Effectively

Back to Basics: Onboarding Effectively
Recruiting and hiring new employees is a costly proposition involving a serious investment of time and money. Staff turnover can be highly disruptive and impacts the quality of the work being produced, as well as the morale of employees tasked with taking on additional responsibilities. Most employers know this yet in many companies the new employee onboarding experience is inadequate or non-existent.
Effective onboarding helps new employees adjust to the job and obtain the knowledge to perform the requirements of their position. It also makes them aware of the role they play in the company and how their position is integrated with the rest of the team. Equally as important are the social aspects of the company and the corporate culture that establishes accepted and forbidden day-to-day behaviors and activities.
Here are some best practices on how to provide your new employees with a SUPERIOR onboarding experience:
Offer the “Big Picture”
Most employers are keen to introduce new employees to the fundamentals of their position (more on that later!) and will provide them with job-specific training. Fewer employers, however, take the time to provide new employees with a substantive overview of their new company such as the company history, where it is stands today, and what the future might hold. Employees want to feel as if they are “part” of something bigger in addition to helping create a product or offer a service.
The Chain of Command Shouldn’t be a Guessing Game
New employees need an understanding of the company’s hierarchy and both the company and new employee will ultimately benefit from information on “who reports to whom.” One of the most difficult aspects of being a new employee is the lack of knowing how, where and to whom to address an issue. Lacking clarity may directly impact their job performance if essential information, for one reason or another, is closely guarded by upper management. Immediate supervisors notwithstanding, knowing the chain of command is always appreciated.
Create an Effective Training Program
A percentage of new employees will not be immediately successful because their onboarding experience did not include adequate job specific training. Forget about what was said during the interview. Employers must design a training program that includes all of the principal functions of the position, and if you find that a new hire has already mastered one of these you can spend less time on that particular function. Develop training exercises that are accessible, including group learning and shadowing, and create goals and a detailed timeline so that you can both assess new staffers’ progress weeks or months into their employment. The more specific the training, the easier it will be to gauge success in the knowledge transfer experience. Remember to look at their progress on a 30, 60 & 90-day schedule to help the new employee get accustom to the company and the position.
Make Them Feel Welcome
There’s nothing more intimidating than joining a company and, after the first day or two, being left to fend for yourself-not only on the job itself but at lunch and break times as well. I’ve known employees that have roamed around an office looking for the supply cabinet and too afraid of asking anyone because no one made eye contact and were apparently too busy to look up and lend a hand.
Establish a schedule so that the new employee has specific times during the day when they can debrief on what they have learned and experienced. Organize a team lunch schedule early on to provide them with companionship and social connection during the early days of their employment.
If you think this all seems like too much, just remember the amount of time, effort and cost it took to recruit and hire a new employee and then you tell me if effective onboarding is overkill or not.

March 6, 2018