5 Onboarding Best Practices

New career ahead arrow in streetHow does your organization help new employees integrate into a new job and workplace? I’ve heard numerous stories where a new hire was thrown into a position without any training or background knowledge. If you’ve been going with the baptism by fire model, then you should consider taking a different route. Statistics show that new hires who went through a structured onboarding process were 58 percent more likely to be with the organization after three years. It’s evident that a structured onboarding program can reduce turnover rates.

So what are the best practices regarding onboarding? It should come as no surprise that transparency ranks among the highest, but below I’ve outlined the five major onboarding best practices—those you certainly want to consider when bringing in your next new hire(s).

Representation

There are only a few things that can deflate that new job buzz faster than realizing that the job you thought you had applied for really isn’t the job that you are going to be doing.  An incredible 76 percent of new employees say that their job description was drastically different, or not as originally described when they started. One company I interned with provided me with the job description and required duties during the interview. Yet, once I accepted the position and got into the groove of things, I quickly realized that my actual duties were far from what I expected.

Go over the responsibilities of the position with a fine-toothed comb, in black and white if possible, and have the employee initial the job description. This will make the boundaries and duties very clear and prevent any miscommunication in the future. Believe me, no one likes to get duped and this is especially true in the workplace.

Paperwork

Calling to different departments, printing forms the first day of work and running around looking for files is not a good way to start things off. Make sure that all relevant paperwork is ready the day before, preferably in a professional manner such as a manilla folder or portfolio, so that the employee can go through the paperwork, fill out each form and quickly move on with the onboarding process..

Also make sure that the employee’s office or workstation is filled with the tools he or she will need for the job, right down to the very last pencil or package of copy paper.  It will not only make the new worker’s office feel homier, but make him or her feel more comfortable and welcome. Every new hire desires to feel like the company is expecting and anticipating his or her addition.

Introductions

Although this part is quite simple, many employers neglect to do it. While sending an introductory email is always a good idea, it should not be the first and only step. Physically introducing yourself, giving the new employee the lay of the land, showing him or her where the bathrooms and break room(s) are and introducing the worker not only to their superiors, but to their peers as well is the best way to help new hires get acclimated.

Technology

If you have specialized software, you will need to send the employee to a one-or-two day training course (either internally, or externally) so that he or she has a chance to familiarize him or herself with the software systems. The worst feeling as a new hire is not understanding how to operate a company’s system and no one being available to teach you.

Stay Connected

You will need to be ready to answer a barrage of questions from the new employee, so stay available. Whether it is by email, phone or in person, you have to employ an open-door policy. Schedule regular weekly progress meetings for the first month, which gives new hires an opportunity to open up and be detailed about where they are thriving and where they are struggling. Based on their progress, provide feedback and decrease (or increase) the frequency of the meetings as times goes on.

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Shala Marks
Shala Marks is an online editor and writer for Recruiter.com. Marks’ stories have also been published in a variety of newspaper, magazine and online formats including The Arizona Republic, The Daily Herald, Arizona Foothills Magazine and various classroom magazines of Scholastic Inc. Service is her passion, writing is her platform and uplifting and inspiring the community is her purpose. Marks received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University.
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