Great recruitment isn’t just about finding and hiring talent, it’s about making sure the best people want to stay with your business long-term. If high staff turnover is the norm, and you expect new hires to leave within the first 6–12 months, then you’ve got a problem. But what can you do to improve this? Having a solid onboarding process in place is the most effective way to increase employee tenure and ensure your new hires are productive – these guidelines will talk you through what steps to include.
The real issue with retaining talent
When you’re interviewing candidates, it’s all about selling them the dream, highlighting all the benefits of the role and showing them why it’s a great opportunity. But problems start to arise when you’ve overpromised to a talented candidate.
If a new employee’s experience of working at a company doesn’t match up to their expectation or the image you’ve portrayed, they’re likely to become demotivated, feel cheated, and ultimately want to leave the business. This not only impacts your ability to retain talent, but damages your employer brand too.
Honesty is the best way forward. If talented employees are oversold a role and aren’t treated well, they won’t stay out of some blind loyalty to the business – loyalty is earned, not a given. Talent is in hot demand; there will always be plenty of interested recruiters hungry to snatch them up. Let’s look at how to create an effective onboarding process to keep your best people loyal and motivated.
The ingredients for a successful onboarding process:
Information prior to starting
Starting a new job can be daunting, so keep your new hires well informed before they start to reassure them. Help them to feel prepared for their first day by providing details like: start time, where they need to go, and who they need to report to.
Make sure they have a copy of your staff handbook with information about the dress code (or uniform, if one is required), and answers to commonly asked questions – policies, procedures, rules, company culture, holiday, pay, legislation, lunch, breaks.
Help your new recruit to feel at ease and welcomed into the business by giving a full tour of the office and their workspace. Introduce them to the rest of the team and other departments, and explain how their role interacts with the wider business.
Let employees know how their day will be divided up. This largely depends on how your company works, and what the management style is like – some managers will rigidly dictate schedules, whilst others may be happy to allow employees to organise their own time, as long as the work gets done.
Set clear expectations and goals
Discuss what is expected of your new hire – make their daily duties clear, explaining what the priorities are in their role and overall for the business. Set out a clear method for assessing their progress by using performance plans with measurable goals to work towards.
Communication is key
Communicating clearly and continually is at the core of successful onboarding. Keep in contact and engaged with new hires from before they join the business, right through their first days and beyond. Make sure they know who to ask if they need help with something or have any questions.
Be realistic with your own expectations
Even the most talented people need time and guidance to be successful in a new role. Don’t expect too much from them too soon – this only adds unnecessary pressure and demotivates people. Give your new hire plenty of time to settle in, get to know how the business works, and understand how their role fits into the bigger picture.
One of the most important things for promoting engaged, loyal employees is to ensure the people you hire are a good match for your company culture. Be sure to communicate your company’s values, beliefs, mission and general way of doing things throughout your hiring and onboarding process.
Plan beyond their induction
A great onboarding process isn’t just about a new hire’s first few weeks; it can be as much as 1–2 years to successfully onboard an employee, through continual feedback, communication and measuring performance. Think about your long-term onboarding strategy and nurturing the talent in your business throughout their employment. It’s no good having a great induction week and then going silent – sometimes problems will present themselves a few months into a new role. Regularly check-in with your new hire so you can gauge how they’re coping and generally how they’re feeling – that way you’ll be able to address any issues as and when they arise, rather than letting things fester.
There’s no denying that onboarding plays a vital role in boosting your employee retention and saving you money having to rehire staff. But the benefits of a successful onboarding process go way beyond this – you’ll promote happier, more engaged and more productive employees who will want to stay with your business for many years to come.