How to ensure your onboarding process works from day one

How to ensure your onboarding process works from day one

An effective onboarding strategy is unfortunately something that businesses don’t pump enough resources into.

With the country’s GDP continuing to tumble, the importance of recruiting and maintaining the best talent on the market is growing in importance for businesses who want to remain competitive in 2013.

So, when you have been through the recruitment process and found your perfect hire, you need to think carefully about how your onboarding strategy is going to help a new recruit settle in for a fruitful future with your business.

As I approach my 40th birthday, I’ve witnessed at first hand many companies who understand onboarding and those who quite clearly haven’t got a clue.

A new employee’s first day in a new business will set the scene for the remainder of their time in that business.

For instance, plonking me down for a day in front of a PC to read the companies website over and over, followed by a myriad of bewildering manuals to read doesn’t really create the right impression.  Straight away I will feel overwhelmed with the amount of information I am expected to take on board and isolated from the rest of the business.

It also creates a very negative view of the business and will probably leave me questioning whether or not I’d made the right move.

So what can you do to avoid putting your new recruit through the same torture and just what is a good onboarding strategy?

Onboarding: Start the process before Day One

With a first day often being quite daunting for a new recruit, why not ease them in gently by contacting them prior to their commence date and giving them a low down on what they can expect on their first day?

And if its feasible, why not have the new recruit come into the office to fill out the necessary HR paperwork and get them set up with IT?  You could even buy them lunch and introduce them to a few of their team members.

Onboarding: Engage your employees on Day One

It’s true that every position has its share of mundane tasks, but day one isn’t the time to bombard them all at your new recruit.

Just as the new employee will be keen to make the right first impression on their first day, likewise as a manager you should ensure that you give them a good first impression of you and the company.

Many people will decide whether to stay with a company long-term during their first days in a new job.

Therefore, try and give them a task on their first day that will get them using their grey matter and one that taps into their creativity.  This could be from something as simple as a bit of research or taking them along to a meeting and involving them in some brainstorming.

This will demonstrate to the new recruit their importance to the business and that from day one you are valuing their contribution.  It should begin to inspire some productivity and loyalty towards your company.

Onboarding: Mentoring and building relationships

It may sound a bit leftfield, but a new starters’ first day lunch is one of the most important experiences to get right for the new recruit.  Their experience will solidify that they are a cultural fit or may illustrate that they are not.

To encourage the former, set your new recruit up to have lunch with colleagues or if it is appropriate, take them to lunch yourself.  After day one, regularly ask the new recruit about their working style and how you can support them in their position. Let your new employees get to know you too.

When it comes to mentoring, this is a two-way relationship.  When you act as that mentor for your employees, particularly your young professionals who may be in their first job, you are inviting them into the company family.

Onboarding: Summary

You have the opportunity to create a significant, long-lasting positive impact on your new recruit by following these simple and effective tips. The most important thing is that you start it by day one!

If you are confident that you know exactly what your strategies for making day one a success for your new recruit and that you can get your newest employee oriented, integrated, and delivering results efficiently, effectively, and energetically, then your onboarding strategy sounds like a winner!

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