Onboarding new recruits

Onboarding a new colleague to a business is an exciting time and should be a very positive experience. Weeks have been spent advertising and interviewing. An individual who can deliver the performance the organisation needs at a price that’s right for both recruiter and recruitee has been carefully selected. And both parties have waited patiently for the start date. 

So, the hard work is done. Right? 

Well, not necessarily. Onboarding is often overlooked as a critical process. It’s at this stage that employees really get a feel for the role and organisation and make that crucial decision about whether to commit.

From the new starter’s perspective, it’s very important that the onboarding process reflects what they expected and agreed to when they signed the employment contract. But these views can sometimes be very different. 

From the organisation’s perspective, it’s vital to get a new employee up to speed on the company and allow them to start doing their job as quickly and effectively as possible. 

It’s critical to manage this process well. According to a YouGov survey commissioned by RSM, onboarding for a single hire takes on average 16 days and can cost up to £7,000 on average. If a new employee decides to leave, the recruitment process must begin again, generating yet more cost in time and money, especially for more senior roles. 

There are some simple steps organisations can follow to reduce this risk.

Due diligence

Poor due diligence can lead to reduced engagement from the new recruit from the outset. And it leaves your organisation open to administrative risk. Also, while keeping records of the recruitment and onboarding process is important to a business, it is often overlooked. Organisations should ensure that they:

  • have effective and disciplined record keeping; 
  • check all references (where relevant) and a formal offer has been signed; and 
  • share the start date and a short bio of a new starter with relevant teams as well as adding their data to the employee system. 

Create a 100-day plan 

An employee’s first 100 days in an organisation is vital. This is when they get a feel for the organisation and whether it’s the right fit for them. Organisations should create a 100-day plan that covers the period between offer acceptance and start date, and the first three months in the organisation. This will give the new recruit confidence that their role is thought out and gives them immediate activity. A good plan will immerse the employee in the organisation in a representative and positive way.

Examples of areas to cover in a 100-day plan are:

  • positive messages and any relevant information that the new starter may appreciate;
  • a plan for what the first three months looks like, including information about their key activities; 
  • pre-booked meetings with managers, peers and stakeholders; and
  • allocated time to complete necessary tasks such as computer based training etc.

Reinforcing the company strategy and linking this to the employee

Communicating the mission, goals and values of the organisation to the new recruit is just as important as communicating the role itself. Yet our survey found 23 per cent of companies saw this element as less important than others or not important at all. 

There are some easy wins here. Think about these steps to ensure engagement and clear communication from the start: 

  • ensure that the company mission statement and goals are communicated clearly – not just in a written document but in face-to-face meetings with line managers; 
  • listen to the new employee’s personal goals and motivations – see how these can connect with the company goals; and then
  • revisit the job description and manage expectations on progression and development.

Having a simple, robust process that focuses on engagement and compliance will save all parties time and money in the long run. It’s important for organisations to do everything in their power to make new starters feel welcome and to be aware that this process should begin before the start date. Those who don’t may fail to retain their best talent before they get a chance to perform.

To find out how we can guide you through all aspects of the employee lifecycle, from recruitment, onboarding and retention through to performance management and training, please contact David Gibbens or Steve Sweetlove.

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