New hires who step into a new workplace have a lot going in their heads from acclimatizing to a new work environment to acquainting themselves with company policy. In addition to that new hires are not familiar with cultural norms and they are expected to integrate smoothly into company culture and also make necessary connections within the organization. Given the fact that employees form the backbone of any business, it’s sensible in the interest of the organization to give new hires the best possible onboarding experience. This is important so that new hires don’t feel left out or lurch in the dark when they commence work at the new workplace. First impressions do matter and go a long way in setting up new hires for success.

Since there is a high probability that the new hires might switch firms (1 in 4 according to statistics) within the initial stages of their employment, the HR department must provide an ideal onboarding experience to improve new hire retention. Also, keeping in mind that onboarding can be time-consuming and expensive, it is vital to get your onboarding strategy right from the very beginning. We list out few suggestions to streamline your onboarding process.

  • Choosing the right type of onboarding

The HR department needs to choose between 2 types of onboarding plans for their new hires- informal and formal onboarding. In the former method, the new hire is left to figure out everything for themselves without any structured assistance or aid from their managers or colleagues. This method being the easiest to implement however doesn’t yield positive results as the new hires find it difficult to gauge the right understanding of the company culture, goals, and their role within the system. They generally tend to ‘call it quits within a year.

In the latter method, there exists a step-by-step roadmap that explains in detail the new hire’s role as well as company policy and what is expected of them in the larger scheme of things.

  • Understanding the needs of the new hires

An effective onboarding procedure helps you meet the essential needs of the new hires to bring them up to speed and at par with expectations. This revolves around 4 key elements that you need to incorporate into your onboarding strategy and how you manage them decides the efficiency of your onboarding program. These 4 areas include:-

• Compliance– Compliance training is about educating your new hires on the policies, regulations, and procedures to be followed at the workplace. These policies and procedures are often job or industry-specific.
• Clarification- This step gives much-needed clarity into the new hire’s job description and his role within the organization. The purpose is to declutter the complex elements of the job and provide answers to new hire’s doubts as and when they arise.
• Culture- Understanding culture helps the new hires understand work ethics and other unspoken codes of conduct that are expected to be followed.
• Connection- Communication is key when it comes to any workplace and the new hires must be able to make necessary connections with team members. The onboarding process should focus on helping the new hires build the right connections within the organization.

A company needs to have a solid onboarding process that incorporates all the 4 C’s to improve the chances of new hires succeeding.

  • Plan proactively and begin onboarding right from the recruiting phase

The new hires must be able to perform the tasks assigned to them and perform as per expectations. Thus it is imperative to hire a candidate that fits the bill and has the necessary skillsets to excel in the role. That’s why it’s stated ‘A good onboarding begins right from recruiting phases’. Make sure that the applicants that you hire would be able to deliver and meet company goals.

Making new hires understand what is expected of them during the recruiting stage is a great example of a good onboarding process. Ensure the new hire’s “First-Day” in the company is as memorable as possible. Proper planning is essential and one can’t jump straight from the recruiting phase to the new hire’s first day at the office.

The following steps need to be adopted to make the new hire’s “First-day” more productive.

1. Have them complete all the necessary paperwork and forms like Form I-9, handbooks, and tax forms electronically before the first day of employment to make their new hire’s more productive.
2. Schedule one on one sessions with mentors to check on new hires and track their progress.
3. Keep your new hire’s workstation ready before they arrive. Ensure their workstation is clean with necessary equipment including a computer and a phone, along with other essentials such as an onboarding kit, business cards, nameplate, and employee handbook.
4. Schedule meet-and-greets and ice breaker sessions with managers, team members, and colleagues from other departments so that your new hire can interact, network, and build relationships.
5. Assign a mentor to each new hire so that they get the right counsel and don’t get overwhelmed by too much activity during their initial days at the office.

The prime objective for any onboarding procedures should be to bring the new hires up to speed as quickly as possible. Due diligence has to be taken not to overwhelm the new hires with too many tasks as it might demoralize them right at the outset. An effective onboarding program is vital to mold the new hire so that he is equipped to handle the challenges ahead.