Replacing an employee in a management position is an expensive proposition. Inc.’s “How Much Employee Turnover Really Costs You” notes that estimates for replacing an employee “run as high as 150 percent of annual salary.” An effective onboarding program reduces employee turnover, potentially saving your firm significant time and money each year.

Understanding the Purpose of Employee Onboarding

As is the case with all your business initiatives, having a clear understanding of your objectives will help you design an employee onboarding program that is effective and successful at training and retaining your valuable human capital assets.

BrightHub’s “The Importance of Effective Onboarding for New Hires” sums up the basic purpose of onboarding in this way: “The purpose of a new hire onboarding program is to introduce new employees to their job, coworkers, and the organization so they have the resources necessary to successfully produce the desired organizational outputs. At a minimum, a comprehensive orientation program includes information regarding the company’s mission and values, expectations, products, services, policies, procedures, compensation and benefits rationale, and inherent organizational culture aspects.”

What is the payoff for designing a great onboarding process? Effective onboarding:

  • Increases the likelihood that the organization will develop a competent, informed, and competitive workforce.
  • Decreases role uncertainty, thus improving employee satisfaction.
  • Reduces employee turnover.
  • Increases employee commitment to organizational goals and objectives.
  • Encourages a team-focused approach to work.

Considering the advantages afforded to your organization by a formalized onboarding process, it makes sense to examine ways to improve your onboarding practices.

Best Practices for Effective Employee Onboarding

It is important to note that onboarding new hires is more than a simple orientation and training process. Effective onboarding immerses a new hire in your company culture with the aim of integrating the hire seamlessly into his or her new position. How can this be done?

Best Practice Number One: Start before Day One

Without a clearly defined plan, Day One for a new employee is chaotic at best. The Bloomfire Blog suggests a way to ensure you and your new hire start off on the right foot together, saying: “A sure-fire way to help your new hire feel they are contributing to, not inhibiting, your success is to create a detailed itinerary for the new employee’s first week on the job. This itinerary should include time allotted for all necessary paperwork, explaining parking procedures and dress code (these are often overlooked but crucial to making a new member of your community feel comfortable), shadowing the new hire’s future boss and coworkers, team-building activities, and any other training elements specific to your industry.”

Having a detailed itinerary helps your new hire feel comfortable about what to expect and eliminates initial awkwardness for everyone involved.

Best Practice Number Two: Include Self-Paced Learning

In addition to the standard meet-and-greet sessions in the first week of onboarding, it is a good practice to arrange time for your new hire to engage in self-paced learning about his or her role in your company. Assigning specific reading and tasks for completion in the first week will ensure that your new hire understands your requirements and expectations, becomes more immersed in your company culture, and begins the process of making the job his or her own.

Best Practice Number Three: Include Job Shadowing Early On

Telling someone what his or her job entails is good. Actually showing him or her what the job entails is better. Scheduling time for job shadowing serves a two-fold purpose. First, it gives your new hire additional insight into the realities of the job. Second, it involves other staff members in the onboarding process, thereby encouraging unity and collaboration and strengthening your company culture.

Best Practice Number Four: Onboard Continually

Once your new hire begins the actual tasks for which he or she was hired, it may be tempting to leave well enough alone. Resist that temptation by remembering that onboarding is not a once-and-done process. Rather, it is a process that should occur over time.

In the first 90 days of employment, check in frequently with the new hire, offering and accepting feedback. Schedule both formal and informal sessions for performance review and assign a senior employee mentor to touch base with the new hire regularly as well. In this way, your new employee will feel valued and appreciated, not set adrift in the vast sea of your organization to flounder around alone.

The Bottom Line

Effective onboarding is an essential component of your overall talent management strategy. It reduces employee turnover, ensures that new hires understand their role in your organization, and promotes smooth integration into your company culture.

Onboarding starts even before the first day, as you design an itinerary that will help your new hire start with a clearly defined purpose in mind. Incorporating self-paced learning, job shadowing, and a continual cycle of feedback and performance review are all considered best practices for employee onboarding.

To discover how an effective talent management solution incorporates robust support for your employee onboarding initiatives, contact us to schedule a demo for Thrive TRM today.