Despite a large amount of research showing that the development of an onboarding process works wonders for companies with retention issues, lots of small businesses haven’t started developing their own onboarding processes.
Making a good first impression is crucial for new hires when interviewing with your company, and now it’s your turn to give a good first impression back to your new hire. Creating a good onboarding process serves as your new hires first impression on how your company conducts business.
According to an Aberdeen Research study in 2012, 90% of companies believe their new hires make the decision to stay with a company long-term within their first year of employment. But in reality, 90% of new hires decide to stay or leave a job within the first six months, and according to ERE Media, a third of new employees actually quit within the same timeframe.
This gap in understanding retention between your small business and new hires should dramatically shift how you hire and onboard new folks.
Specifically, there are two common onboarding mistakes to avoid that when taken seriously, will put your small business above competitors recruiting from the same talent pool.
Starting the onboarding process on their first day
More often than not most first-day-on-the-job situations end up feeling like an awkward middle school dance. To quote our CEO, Craig Bryant, on this feeling, “why do so many companies treat their employee’s first day like it’s the first time they’ve even considered getting their new hire plugged in, informed and productive?”
Consider providing your new hire the red carpet treatment to make them feel welcomed, and that carpet should begin unrolling before the first day on the job.
From the moment the candidate accepts your job offer, it’s off to the races. Your response to their acceptance should include all of the paperwork your new hire needs to fill out and return to you.
New hire paperwork is nearly the same forms from new hire to new hire, pending any job-specific needs. At the minimum, have these files zipped in a folder and ready to send to new hires. Want to take your prep a step further? Fill out the areas you’re responsible for (and that stay the same across all new hires), and never need to take that time again!
Give your new hire instructions on what to fill out, where to sign, and when you’d like the paperwork returned by. Here’s the secret key, set a due date that is before their first day on the job! If you can, put a system in place that allows you to keep track of their paperwork process, and keep it organized. The worst thing you could do is get the paperwork back in your email, but miss it with the hundreds of other emails that day.
This gives you a good amount of time to answer any questions prior to your new hire’s start date and also provides time to put all of their information into the system in time for their initial walk through the front door of your office.
“I’d argue for thinking of the onboarding process as a team-building exercise rather than simply a time to get all the necessary forms filled out properly.”, says Meghan Biro, founder and CEO of TalentCulture, in a Forbes write-up about onboarding. If your company is big on team building (and it should be), send your new hire the paperwork in advance for their review and schedule an hour or two where they can stop by the office before their start date to fill out the paperwork together.
Welcoming your new hire with a pile of paperwork isn’t something either party is looking forward to. Get this work done and out of the way of one of the most important areas of onboarding, assimilation.
Just because you got all of your new hire’s paperwork done before their first day, doesn’t mean your job is done. There is one more major mistake to avoid.
Ending the onboarding process on their first day
Paperwork, check. The first day, check. Time to keep onboarding!
Just how long should the onboarding process last? The answer differs. Some say 90 days, others up to six months, whereas few call for a full first year to be considered part of their onboarding process. What works best? Well, look at your company culture and consider the areas of business each new hire would need exposure to and learn about before simply saying a number.
There are other questions to answer as well. Does your company work remotely? Remote companies typically have some unique challenges to culture and would require a different outlook.
Answering these kinds of company identity and assimilation questions will put you and your team in a place to develop an onboarding process that extends past the honeymoon phase of their job.
Lou Dubois, a marketer who focuses on small businesses, writes for Inc.com, “You can do a lot of different things to increase an employee’s comfort level and productivity in the first ninety days, from lunches to meetings to introductions and more.”
Schedule regular check-ins periodically during the first year or so to do a temperature check on new folks you’ve hired. 30 days, 90 days, 6 months, and part of the annual performance review process are the most common check-in periods. Not during a run-of-the-mill performance review, but paired with performance review best practices.
Outside of a formal check-in and performance review process, show your new hire how involved your company will be in their job by working to develop a career development plan.
While there are a number of career development stages and the process continues throughout your new hire’s life, taking a stake in their direction proves to be a positive motivator.
“Career development helps with retention because employees can develop a sense of loyalty for employers who are willing to invest in them.”, says Monica Gomez, a writer for the Association for Talent Development. She continues on, “Likewise, when it is time to hire new employees, career development programs can be attractive to job-seekers.”.
It’s time to break out the thinking caps and put together a career development plan that raises employee engagement and is at the forefront of your onboarding process.
Not the first or last
Onboarding is an ongoing process. It sounds kind of funny, but it’s true to life. A new hire at your company might not be exposed to an area of business or a particular practice your company has until long after your current onboarding process is over (if you have a process).
What is key here, though, is creating a company culture that fosters ongoing communication, where an onboarding process and regular check-ins with your folks blur the lines between being a new hire and an experienced employee.
After all, your company is only as good as your staff is. Put your new hire in a position to succeed by avoiding these costly and common onboarding mistakes.
Has your team redeveloped your onboarding process? Tweet us @Kin_HR and tell us your story.
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