Employers are failing to build an effective onboarding program into standard business processes, which means they are losing the perfect opportunity to instill their values and corporate culture, and are at risk of stifling employees’ excitement and enthusiasm, according to Kelly Services Australia.
Penny O’Reilly, general manager, Kelly Services Australia, said, “After the selection process, onboarding is arguably the single most critical step to ensuring the success of new employees.”
O’Reilly said that while even the most successful onboarding programs don’t eliminate unwanted turnover, an outstanding onboarding program can help reduce the volume of new hire turnover, which is costly and time consuming.
As such, employers should remember that other than the recruiting period, orientation is the first image an employee has of the company – and is a picture that will likely stay with the employee throughout his or her tenure.
Kelly Services said companies that tap into the full skill set of the new hire as well as igniting his or her excitement and enthusiasm during onboarding are better placed to retain the new staff member.
To reduce employee turnover and help new staff members adopt a great attitude, O’Reilly said employers should consider the following step-by-step process for implementing a successful onboarding program:
1. Coming attractions. Before the new employee reports on the first day, send them a package that provides an overall picture of the organisation and conveys your excitement about them coming on board. Keep it light.
2. Make it hands-on and face-to-face. Start by replacing the company orientation manual with human interaction. On-boarding processes that incorporate human interaction enhance effectiveness, satisfaction and retention.
3. Start the program with the most important issues. Everyone is more alert at the beginning of the day or program.
4. Promote communication. Generation X and Y workers, in particular, seek one-on-one communication with a supervisor who is approachable and appreciative. A hands-on manager or supervisor will help new employees understand what’s expected of them, and where/how they fit into the big picture.
5. Position managers in key on-boarding roles. Managers should play a key role in the new employee’s on-boarding experience. By setting understandable expectations on both sides, employees know what they need to accomplish and, equally important, they also know what to expect from their managers.
6. Don’t overwhelm new employees with too many details or introductions at once. Even the brightest new employee can be overwhelmed with data, information, and new people if they're presented in ‘machine gun’ fashion. Space out your program to keep it interesting and digestible.
7. Use a buddy/mentor system. Having an experienced employee serve as an orientation mentor for the new staff member accomplishes a number of positive goals. This action can relieve new employee anxiety, provide a primary source of information after orientation, and offer a ‘buddy’ to help the new employee start their tenure in the right direction.
8. Make it last. Most employees need to know they’re doing a good job, so keep the feedback flowing after the first few weeks on the job.
9. Establish reachable goals. New employees want to contribute to their workplace as quickly as possible. Give them real work that can be completed within the first few weeks. Getting these employees “up and running” as soon as possible gives a new employee a sense of being a valuable and necessary member of the team.
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