If you are going to go to all the trouble and expense of hiring somebody, it makes sense to ensure that their transition into the company is as smooth and seamless as possible. Poor onboarding experiences are one of the major factors in new hires not being productive or engaged and they are also more likely to leave the company within 12 months.

Companies need to think of onboarding in terms of a ship whose safe arrival at its destination depends on every member of the crew being good at their job and pulling their weight. Knowing that your life depends on the effectiveness of your crew is a great incentive for the captain and officers of a vessel to ensure everybody knows their role and performs it to the best of their ability.

While a company won’t hit an iceberg and sink, unengaged and unproductive new employees do pose other dangers – to the company culture and its profitability.


The benefits of onboarding

The Gallup “State of the American Workplace” report in 2013, showed that only 30% of US employees were fully engaged at work yet, “Organizations in the top decile of engagement outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share, and have 90% better growth trend than their competition.”

Creating engagement among new employees through an effective and ongoing onboarding programme can have many benefits:

  • It builds the company’s brand, positioning it as an employer of choice and creates enthusiastic brand advocates
  • It reinforces the company culture through exposure to motivated and engaged colleagues
  • It increases retention, reducing the disruption and costs related to high employee turnover
  • It increases productivity through better management-employee relations and the new employee having all their expectations met.

When you get all of that right it doesn’t just result in a happy employee, it means that the most important person in your company’s universe, your customer, will be exposed to a positive and consistent brand experience.


How to get onboarding horribly wrong

Just as a good onboarding programme can add to a company’s bottom line, doing things wrong can be very costly. It’s not that companies set out to do things in the wrong way but, if they set priorities that override the importance of onboarding, new hires suffer.

The first mistake is confusing orientation with onboarding. The kind of attitude that says, “Here’s your desk, you’re working with these 3 people, the kitchen is over there. Call me if you have any questions.”

Onboarding is an in-depth, ongoing process that ensures staff are imbued with the brand values and goals of the company and settle happily into their new position. Leaving them to their own devices after a short tour of the company is a sure way to deflate their first-day enthusiasm and have them questioning their decision to take the job.

Connected to the first mistake is the Relieved New Colleague Syndrome – “Thank God you’ve arrived! I can take a holiday now.” The new hire is expected to make an instant impact by immediately taking on a heavy workload without having any idea of how to go about it. Their onboarding process ends up being on-the-job learning through trial and error, assisted by occasional micro-learning sessions from their time poor colleagues.

Easy and low cost onboarding tips

People Place works with a lot of agile companies that require contingent management. Because these organizations are dealing with contractors, freelancers and consultants there is often the misconception that onboarding is an unnecessary expense. This could not be further from the truth.

Whatever the employment status of a person working with you or for you, if they don’t know your brand and they are not engaged, they won’t be giving you their best work. Just because they are working with you for a short period doesn’t mean that a few hours of your time to familiarize them with your company won’t reap benefits in the long run.

It could even be something as simple as a video overview of your company followed by a Skype conference call with the people the contractor will be working with.

And finally, here are 3 quick tips to create quick engagement for any new employee:

  • Set them up on your IT system with a username, password and email address before they start. This will make them feel welcome and appreciated.
  • Get their bank details and send them a small test payment on the first day. This will help allay any worries they might have about snafus on pay day.
  • Customize their workspace with little welcoming touches. For example, if you know they are a Manchester United football fan, buy a team mug and put it on their desk. If they are virtual employees, wrap it up and pop it in the post.

Happy onboarding 🙂

This post was written by HR guess blogger ,Martin Luxton for People Place.

Martin Luxton is a Presentation Trainer and Freelance Writer with a solid background in English Teaching and KET/PET Cambridge Oral Examiner years of experience. Martin contributes on regular basis to our Media Hub with top articles in the field of HR and Communications. To follow Martin blogging articles you can subscribe by clicking the box on your right or register with us.  


Media Hub Topics