The importance of new employee onboarding – shortcuts never pay

Human Resources 17th June 2019

It’s Monday morning. You have a spring in your step. Your new staff member starts today and you’re sure you’ve made the best choice. The recruitment process went like clockwork, with your recruiter delivering a promising batch of candidates. Each arrived at their interview armed with more-than-adequate qualifications and the right skill-set. The interviews went well and you made an offer to the best candidate. He readily accepted and this morning, with positive references in place, he makes a start on what will surely be a long and mutually fruitful relationship. What could possibly go wrong? Well, if you fail to provide a considered, structured onboarding process … plenty.

Don’t cut corners with onboarding – it never pays

Think about it. Recruitment isn’t cheap. Of course, when carried out thoroughly by an expert recruiter, this will be money well spent. But, it’s quite staggering how many businesses jeopardise their recruitment investment by not providing a proper onboarding process. Do these companies appreciate the very real risks of leaving onboarding to chance?

It’s all very well expecting a new team member to eagerly create a favourable first impression. If this relationship is to be successful, these first impressions work both ways. In other words, your company needs to impress your employee too.

The first days are critical. It’s possible that everyone in the department has been busy with the extra workload that’s built up while you’ve been recruiting. But this is no excuse for skirting the vital onboarding process.

Just look at the risks if you don’t take onboarding seriously –

1. A drop in productivity – Your new recruit might struggle, taking months to catch on to your processes.

2. A negative impact on your reputation – a survey by Glassdoor showed that, after six months, 31% of UK employees claim to be disappointed by their new job. The inevitable negative word-of-mouth could seriously affect future attempts to attract top talent.

3. Risk of losing your new recruit. If you fail to support your new employee from day one, make them feel valued, and make their role and responsibilities clear, you risk losing them. They may well start looking elsewhere. Imagine the cost and inconvenience of going through the recruitment process all over again.

4. Impact on morale. If they do leave, how will that impact emotionally on the rest of your team? A survey by CIPD concluded that over 70% of employers believe employees’ departure from the organisation has a negative effect on performance.

Employee onboarding checklist

So, you can see – a comprehensive employee onboarding process is vital. Investing the time up front will help your new employee to achieve, even exceed, their and your expectations. Everyone wins.

Here’s a basic, but not exhaustive, onboarding checklist –

Before the first day at work:

• Get in touch – Contact your new employee before they start. Help them feel prepared and excited about their new job by sharing important information – what time to arrive on their first day (perhaps make it mid-morning, so their colleagues can leave space and time in their schedules to welcome them) who they should ask for at reception, dress code, parking instructions and so-on.

• Make sure they’re ‘connected’ – Arrange for HR and IT to set up an email account, voicemail, computer equipment and important login details. Don’t forget company ID and security key cards, so your new employee can enter the building without having to make embarrassing phone calls to be allowed access.

• Workspace – Make sure your employee’s new workspace has the essential tools such as a phone, computer, chair and stationery. Maybe arrange for a nameplate on their workspace.

Day one – Avoid first-day fears:

• Make introductions – Does your receptionist know that the new employee is due in? Make personal introductions to key departments and colleagues. Make sure their new colleagues included them during coffee and lunch breaks. Distribute an email to the team. Give some background about the new team member. This can help break the ice during early conversations.

• Orientation – Give the new employee a thorough orientation – where to find stationary, how to book a meeting room etc.

Week one:

• Roles, goals and responsibilities – These will have been covered during the selection process. Now’s the time to go into detail about key assignments, expectations and accountability. Discuss also your evaluation and appraisal process. Schedule a performance review.

• Deploy a carefully prepared induction – Use a formal, structured, written induction process. Include your company’s vision and mission, values, services, organisational chart and departmental functions.

• Training – Find out from your new employee which new skills they will need to be trained for. This simple act will go a long way to making them feel valued.

The early months:

• Check often with your new employee – and not casually as you’re passing in the corridor.  Regular, scheduled catch-ups are vital. Arrange for a senior employee or a Director to take them out for coffee or lunch. Encourage them to air their concerns. Ask questions. Are they beginning to understand your company and their role in it? Facilitate any extra training. Give them constructive feedback too.

• Recognition – Keep the employee motivated and engaged by celebrating success. It could be as simple as noting the new employee’s achievements in a team meeting.




Here to help

As experts in Employee Engagement & Retention, we understand the importance of proper structured, well-thought out onboarding.


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