How to create a successful onboarding experience

“I truly believe that onboarding is an art. Each new employee brings with them a potential to achieve and succeed. To lose the energy of a new hire through poor onboarding is an opportunity lost.”

As part of my CIPD studies, I recently wrote a piece about the importance of the onboarding process and how crucial it is to get it right.

Have you ever started a role full of excitement and potential, only to find a few weeks or months later the spark just wears off? Well research suggests that without adequate support or a comprehensive induction, employees often don’t end up staying with the company past four months if the onboarding process isn’t thoroughly carried out.

For employers, a failed onboarding process can be equally frustrating, time consuming and not to mention expensive!

Beyond the traditional company induction process, research and experience tells us that successfully placed employees have a clear understanding of the role they applied for (how many times do we hear the job isn’t what I thought it was?) they also have a clear development plan in place and lastly, they know how they fit into their new environment; an understanding of the company values and culture.

Many companies are already aware of the benefits of carefully planning the onboarding process instead of an on the job training approach. By involving different departments and levels of employees; after all they know the roles better than anyone! Tailoring the induction process to the specific job role and involving managers directly (that’s right, it’s not just an HR process!) by engaging support from managers and senior leaders, new employees are more likely to feel more positive within their new role and be more productive as they are aware of the standards and expectations from day one.

Here are some things you could consider as part of your onboarding process:

Creating a clear structure

The most successful onboarding experiences are those that are clear, encompass the company values and are transparent across the business. A great onboarding experience is one where the employee has a clear, authentic and transparent view of their role, organisations can achieve this by planning in advance and including what the organisation stands for and its values.

Tailoring your approach

For example, you may want to tailor your experience to groups like returning parents, graduates, apprentices, part time employees, office and production etc. It is important to engage with key stakeholders to create a comprehensive process, one size fits all simply doesn’t work for everyone so do keep this in mind.

Mentoring

It may seem a bit over the top, but internal mentoring can really help to support the new employee into the ways of working in the business, it acts similar to how coaching works except it is specific to your business. More employers are considering this as an option to support with retention and talent development. Additionally by giving the new employee someone to talk to and discuss thoughts and ideas, it can help support positive working relationships. Mentoring can also continue beyond the onboarding process and work towards continuing professional development.

Engaging with the culture

One key issue with onboarding can be misalignment with company values, therefore by emphasising these or even using them as a foundation, this can really help to aid understanding and ensure they are reading from the same page as soon as they start working.

With so many new and innovative ways to induct and onboard new starters, what are your experiences? Let me know your thoughts below!

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