Has this ever happened to you? Does it sound familiar?
Let’s paint the picture…
You have just spent the last few weeks going through a lengthy and robust professional recruitment process to hire a new team member. You are very pleased with your decision to hire, the individual is due to join the team soon and will be a welcome addition. You are sure you have hired a superstar, they are keener than mustard to get started and show all the promise in the world that they will integrate in to your established team like a duck to water.
So from day one when they commence work all of your worries will be over? They will just get right down to work and you can expect a loyal hardworking employee for years to come? Right?
They are unlikely to ever last the distance!
For a long time now many companies have realised the important of employee ‘onboarding’ or ‘induction’ programs. Missing out on this vital part of the hiring process can be a recipe for disaster.
What is ‘onboarding’ you may ask? This term refers to the process of inducting or integrating new hires into the company, preparing them for job success and helping them to become productive, committed and engaged employees of the company and also a genuine ‘team member’. This includes far more than the initial orientation process, and often includes continued review over the ensuing few months while an employee gets “up to speed” in their new organisation.
Make sure you train:
While more companies are realising how important this process is, many companies still simply hire a new employee, give them a quick tour of the office then show them their desk and expect them to start working and immediately producing outcomes. They have been hired to do a job which they are skilled and trained to do, so what else do they need? Clearly this approach is a big mistake and is destined to result in an unhappy and disengaged new employee.
I often hear from job seekers that the reason they are looking for a new job is because they are unhappy in their current role and they feel undervalued, that their boss does not have their best interests at heart, with no clear path for them to follow. Often they felt this from the outset and there was no clear understanding of expectations around the role, organisation or the direction they are all heading in. I have even heard comments suggesting many broken promises that were made in interviews, or a lack of investment and time for professional training and development.
So what should be included in a comprehensive induction program? There are many things that should be included – each company may be different in its approach due to the nature of its business however as a bear minimum the following should be covered:
- Introductions and meet the team
- Getting to know people and spending some quality time with key employees/management
- Company structure, knowing who is who in the zoo
- History and background of the company
- Company vision and values
- Review of all lines of business and company offerings to its markets
- Company policies and procedures, OH&S
- Review of the new employees ‘Position Description’ and setting expectations
- Role specific training, including setting out any formal/external training plans
- Overview of employee annual appraisals/reviews, what to expect.
- Systems overview including any internal intranet sites or role specific systems
- Payroll and personal details
- Site / office tour.
This whole process should not be completed in a few hours on the morning of their first day, parts of it may be, but much of it should be planned and executed over the first few days, weeks and even months of the employees tenure within your company. Plan ahead, fill their diary with invites to sessions covering all of the above, it is such a positive message for that employee to receive on their first day, knowing they have a comprehensive and structured process ahead of them.
Questions to ask before you hire:
Some questions to think about in advance of your next hire.
- How did you onboard your most recent hires? And what does your company onboarding process look like?
- Day One – When your new hire heads in for their first day, are they aware of what time, who and where to report to? Are they aware of the appropriate dress code for the job? Have they been told what they should bring with them on the first day?
- Does your company make new employees feel welcome? Do you take time to introduce them to the business by having a special sign, welcome messages or a welcome lunch? That first day is a critical moment – it’s important that your employee feels like they are being properly and formally welcomed and valued from the outset.
- Have you established who will be responsible for the delivery of the induction for the employee? Is the employee’s manager (you) looking after this or is an HR professional taking responsibility? Or both? How long will the induction last and what will be covered? Have you planned all the parts in to their diary?
- Does your onboarding program inspire company pride? – Your onboarding process should make employees feel like they made the right decision in choosing to join the company. Do you inspire pride in your employees? Show off what makes your company great, and involve those individuals who accurately represent all the positives you have to offer
- Do you show that ‘new hires’ matter? – Inspiring company pride is not enough. You also need to show employees that they really do matter to your business. Taking an individual and tailored approach to this process will show that they aren’t just on a merry-go-round of new employees, but are individually of value to the company.
Having a solid, structured onboarding program will make a difference and engage your new hires from the start. When you show you’re willing to invest in your employees, you’ll make them feel that they are joining a great team, making them more likely to stick with the job.
Effective ‘onboarding’ is time and effort well spent, a loyal and effective team is the ‘nirvana’ of management, and will significantly reduce your time spent looking to hire more new employees!
Author: Paul Simms is an executive recruiter with 15 years of experience across the Australian and UK markets. He is the founder of Wright Executive a specialist business within the Accounting and Professional Services sector.