How to effectively onboard new staff

How to effectively onboard new staff

6 May 2022

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“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”, a phrase we’ve all heard, we’ve probably all told ourselves, our family and friends and perhaps even our children and yet many companies pay little or no attention to making that first impression count when onboarding a new employee. Too often, day one is the first contact that a new starter has with their new employer since their offer phone call – depending on notice periods this can mean a gap of at least four weeks.

So how can you make onboarding successful? The onboarding process should start from the point a job offer is accepted. Between then and their start date, a new recruit should be made to feel part of the team so that when they walk through the door things already have a sense of familiarity. There are a various ways to onboard your new starters effectively and your HR software can play a part in this.

Communication

Keep in touch with your new hire during their notice period. This can be as simple as a quick call once a week to confirm arrangements for their first day, to tell them that their laptop and phone have been ordered or to check their shoe size for that all important PPE. If your HR system has the functionality then you can send the new starter their contract directly from the system, it might also allow you to send them a link to capture their personal details so those all important new starter forms are done and dusted and on day one they can actually get on with real work. Using HR software in this way gives the new employee a positive, professional introduction to your company and the system from the outset. In addition, you might have a team WhatsApp group that they can be added to in the week before they start or you could share with them a few details about some of the work they will be getting involved in so that they know what to expect. Ideally having one point of contact and communication helps so as not to overwhelm the new starter, so decide on who is taking ownership and start building that relationship.

Culture

Every company has its own distinct culture and values, ideally you will have already touched upon this at the interview but making sure a new starter understands what lies behind the day to day work of their new employer is important. Your HR software can be useful here as by giving the new starter access they’ll start to get a feel for how things work. You might also share things like your vision and values or important company messages through your HR system so again if you can get them set up to use the system before they start that will improve their onboarding experience. You might also have a shiny website or cutting edge social media output, if so let your new starter know so that they can follow the right accounts and bring themselves up to speed.

Commitment

By engaging your new starter before they come through the door you are already building their commitment to your organisation. According to a Glassdoor report the average cost per hire for a new employee in the UK is £3,000 and so it is important to make sure that this money isn’t wasted. New hires are more likely to stay with a company in the longer term if they experience a positive start to their employment and delivering an engaging onboarding experience, using your HR software wherever possible, also demonstrates a commitment on the part of the employer that the new member of staff is valued.

Check In

Onboarding doesn’t stop on day one, it simply morphs into induction and orientation. Make sure that your new starter has the basic tools to do their job and that there is a documented plan of induction for at least the first week or two, upload a copy of the plan to their documents section in your HR system ready for day one and update it as you go. Make sure that they are familiar with how to navigate around your HR system so that requesting a holiday, logging an absence or finding an important form in the knowledge base quickly becomes second nature. Don’t forget to cover basics too like the location of the toilets, where they can go and get a drink and what to do in the event of a fire alarm, allocating a buddy is a good idea and always check in at regular intervals so that there are opportunities to discuss what is going well and nip any concerns in the bud.

 

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