Effective onboarding needed for staff retention

by 27 Oct 2011

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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  • by Jane Herring 31/10/2011 11:43:33 AM

    Why not impress your candidates with a personalised web based onobarding experience? Technology such as HROnboard can completely eliminate paperwork involved in onboarding of staff, whilst creating a professional, user friendly and tailored onboarding experience for each staff member.
    Your new starter will be sent a personalized site with your corporate branding, which they enter to download their letter of offer, which they can legally accept online. They only have to enter their information once which will pre populate all of their new starter forms, which can also all be approved online. You can also include marketing material, videos, letters from your CEO and all your policies and procedures, to ensure that a new starter really understands your company and culture before starting.
    Information is then sent to IT and payroll, which means that everything a new starter needs on Day one can be set up and ready for their first day.
    The onboarinding experience can impress your new starrer and reinforce to them that they are joining a leading edge company that cares about their staff and embraces innovative technology.
    Some of the key results that Brookfield Multiplex achieved through using this technology have included:
    - Reduction of over 85% in total cost per welcome pack
    - 100 page new starter pack is now an entirely paperless process
    - Achieved an ROI within 1 year
    - Roles redesigned to avoid non redundant admin tasks and focus on value added tasks
    - Streamlined and automated, consistent process to send personalised offers to employees
    - Complete audit trail for employment online (SOX compliance if audited)
    - Comprehensive tracking and reporting to manage IT and payroll and their KPI's for helping onboard new starters
    - Enable a quick turnover time (including approvals and receiving offers - 10 days down to 20 minutes!) and reduced vacancy time per role.

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