21 October 2022
How to onboard new employees the right way
An effective onboarding process is a key component of any organisation’s recruitment strategy. It is estimated that to replace a salaried employee it can cost, on average, between 6-9 months’ salary. A portion of this cost is caused by the amount of money lost through training costs, and how long it takes for the new person to get up to speed to become as effective as their predecessor.
While this lost revenue can’t be completely mitigated, you can minimise these costs by making your onboarding process the best it can be. A good onboarding process will help your latest hire to develop as fast as they can, feel comfortable in their environment and reduce the chances of them bolting — costing you even more money, as 30% of new hires leave within the first year.
So, with this in mind here’s some ways to better your onboarding process.
Prepare the team
Getting together with the team to discuss the new hire should be your first port of call. A new person invariably changes the dynamic of a group, altering partnerships and collaborative patterns. This can be both a positive and negative.
As such it’s important to talk to co-workers to discuss the arrival of a new person. This should include who the newbie should report to, how they should receive feedback and how the team may need to help them find their feet. It may also be good to let the team know that they have a responsibility to act inclusively and they need to try their hardest to be social and welcoming to the new person — we’ve all been in that situation of sitting at our desk on the first day and feeling like we’re invisible.
Time to translate
Every industry, profession, and yes even company has its own lingo but in the worlds of tech, manufacturing and IT this is especially true – from acronyms and abbreviations to bespoke pieces of software and even team member nicknames. Once you’ve been at a place for a little while they become second nature to you, but to fresh faces it can seem bewildering and incomprehensible.
It’s therefore a good idea to put together a short cheat sheet, of all this special terminology unique to your organisation which could make little sense to people on the outside. It might seem small, but it’s a simple gesture that can really help newcomers feel welcome and help them feel like they’ve got a better idea of what’s going on.
Timing isn’t just the secret to comedy, it’s an important consideration to mull over when taking on new staff. So, when would be the best time for you to take on a new person?
Many managers take the approach of ‘the sooner the better’. This is especially true if you’re in the midst of a busy period, with teams working double-time to hit a deadline, in the hope that the new person will be able to alleviate some of the pressure.
The trouble with giving your new starter this sink or swim, baptism of fire, type introduction to your company means it’s often not really that helpful for anyone involved. If you and everyone else are too busy to make time to give a new person the attention they need, they may find themselves either sat doing nothing for prolonged periods of time, or doing things wrong because no one’s had time to give them the inductions they need to do it right.
For this reason it can often be better to go against instinct and take the person on after a chaotic period of your business year, this way you can devote more time to helping them develop, and you’re less likely to spook them.
If you’re adamant you do need them to help you out with a big project, it may be better to take them on much earlier, perhaps while their predecessor is still there, so that they can find their feet before things get really hectic.
Give and receive feedback
Friendly feedback is of course a big part of any new hire. Let your newest employee know how they’re doing, what you’ve been impressed by and any areas you’ve noticed they still need to place some attention. However, you should also welcome back their feedback on you, the company and the onboarding process.
New starters look at the organisation with an outsider’s eyes and they are therefore uniquely attuned to spotting things that everyone else has become blind to. This will also help you finesse your onboarding process for the future.
Assign a mentor
Finally, and most importantly assign your new employee with a mentor who will be able to show that person the ropes, what to do day to day and most importantly who they can turn to if everything goes wrong!
Mentoring is a two-way partnership that is equally as beneficial to the development and progression of the mentor as it is the mentored. But remember to pick wisely! Not everyone wants to be mentor. It may be that your best employee simply wants to get on with their job and has no time or interest in helping others.