As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is true for so many things, not the least of which is making a great impression on your employee’s first few weeks of employment with your organization. An effective employee onboarding process is the best way to achieve this.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it costs over 25 percent of an employee’s annual salary to replace them. A Forbes article cited that HR industry studies show that a great amount of staff turnover (possibly as high as 20 percent) can happen within the first 45 days of employment. And while there can be a variety of reasons employees quit shortly after being hired, a successful onboarding program can help prevent this costly turnover. An effective onboarding program not only provides a warm welcome for them, but it also trains new employees, setting them up for success. In addition, it sets your company up for success - better trained and engaged employees provide better service to your customers.
What makes a successful onboarding program? According to Dr. Talya Bauer from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), successful onboarding involves proactively covering the Four C’s - compliance, clarification, culture, and connection.
Compliance - learning the basic rules and policies of the organization, as well as filling out all necessary paperwork.
This is the time to review the employee handbook, explain company policies and procedures, and confirm the employee has completed all the necessary paperwork to be a fully-functioning employee of your organization.
Clarification - ensuring that the new employee understands their roles and responsibilities.
This is the time to make sure the new team member understands the expectations of their role and how it contributes to the overall success of the organization. Review upcoming projects and initiatives they will be participating in, as well as the key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics the employee’s manager will use in determining the level of success the employee is achieving in their role.
Culture - explaining the norms for the organization.
This can be accomplished by giving the employee a tour of the facilities, describing how things work, and explaining how they fit within and impact the larger organization. This is also the time to educate the employee on the company vision, mission, and core values, how team members interact, and the formal and informal expectations and interactions within the organization.
Connection - helping a new employee develop relationships with the other members of the organization.
Introduce the new employee to as many of their coworkers as possible! Encourage team members to explain what they do and to include the new hire in formal, as well as informal activities, such as going to lunch together. Assign a mentor who can be readily available to answer any questions, and who can bridge the gap between the new employee and their coworkers.
If one of the 4 C’s is not met or considered during the onboarding process, the new employee is likely to be missing some aspect that is crucial to them fully contributing and committing to their new role, ultimately jeopardizing retention.
Some Other Tips for Successful Onboarding Programs:
Remember, a successful onboarding program begins BEFORE the employee’s first day. Make sure you reach out to the employee before his/her first day of employment. Once again, express excitement about them joining the team and provide all the important details that will help the new team member feel less anxious on the first day. These details would include information on:
Parking - is there a designated parking lot for employees to park
Entrance to your office - is there a designated door they should enter on their first day
Lunch plans - If you plan to take them out to lunch for their first day let them know, so they don’t have to worry about whether they should pack a lunch or find a place nearby to grab a quick bite
Quick overview of the day
Have the following prepared on the first day:
An agenda for the day
An employee handbook and org chart
Documents that need to be reviewed and signed such as payroll forms, employment verification forms, etc.
Training schedule for the first two weeks
A cleaned and dedicated workspace
Supplies/equipment required to do the job, such as a laptop/computer, work uniform, phone, key/key fob to the office
The employee’s email set up & the phone connected
List of log-ins for email, wifi, and any software platforms they’ll be using
Wow them with a warm welcome! Be sure to introduce the new employee to the team and encourage team members to stop by to say hello. However, if you really want to WOW them, have your team send an email to the new team member before their first day, so that when the new team member logs into his/her email for the first time, their inbox is inundated with emails from their colleagues welcoming them!
Take them to lunch on their first day, or even better, invite your whole team to lunch, so everyone on the team has the opportunity to meet and interact with the new team member. It’s important to begin building connections immediately!
Last but not least, touch base with them towards the end of their first day. Make sure the first day went smoothly and be available to answer any questions they may have. And, of course, confirm they have everything they need for a successful Day 2 and beyond.