Onboarding-A Complete Guide for Employers Printer friendly format

Whether you are leaving college and entering the world of employment or choosing to leave a negative job behind, starting in a new role is one of the most exciting experiences around. Despite this, over 15% of new employees choose to leave their job before the 1-year anniversary. Shockingly, a whopping 4% leave a new job after just one day in the role.
Nowadays, employees need to feel valued and this makes sense because we spend more waking time at work than anywhere else. As an employer, this means that you have a responsibility to make your employees feel as though work is a “second home”.
If you can do this, you will have a more engaged workforce and will reduce the cost associated with employee turnover. With this in mind, to avoid the common pitfalls usually associated with early turnover, a meaningful and thoughtful onboarding strategy should be created.
The Difference Between Onboarding and Orientation

new employee

Mistakenly, many people use these two terms as though they are interchangeable but they are actually very different. Onboarding is the process of communication from the moment the candidate accepts the job offer right up until they reach one year in the role. Over the first year, a new employee will need to feel supported with tools and resources that are needed to obtain and develop the knowledge, skills, and the abilities required to become a successful member of the team.
On the other hand, orientation is a much smaller amount of time for which the new employee is welcomed to your organization. For example, it could be a 1- to 3-day event that gives employees an opportunity to get to know the culture of the business along with their colleagues.
During orientation, new employees will have the opportunity to grow bonds and relationships with the people they will spend the majority of their time with while at your organization. Additionally, orientation also allows new hires an opportunity to become inspired so they feel a real attachment to their work when they start completing real tasks. If employees are allowed this time period, they are more likely to value their work and stay beyond a week, a month, and even a year.
What Makes for Successful Onboarding?
Technology—After accepting the job offer, you will need to make the transition to your organization for the employee as smooth as possible and this includes using technology wherever possible. For example, have them sign all the pre-hire paperwork online rather than having to travel to the post office or to your office every other day.
Fun Orientation—When starting in a new role, it is natural for employees to be nervous because they are outside of their comfort zone so you have to help them find it again. To help with this, having a theme around your orientation is a fun and innovative way to help employees realize that they have joined something special. For example, Google calls their new employees ‘Nooglers.’
Furthermore, you should eliminate lecture- and presentation-based orientation models and replace them with engagement and interaction. Incorporating games, treasure hunts, and dialogues always results in memorable experiences. Another common mistake or misconception is that orientation should be led by the Human Resources Department when in fact all leaders and even peers should have a role in orienting new employees.
Ongoing Onboarding—When your new employee arrives at your department after orientation, you should be well prepared for their arrival. This includes having their workspace ready and e-mail and computer set up. Additionally, assigning the employee a buddy is also helpful for a new employee to become acclimated with their department.
Feedback—Many organizations make the mistake of ending their onboarding process at orientation. Employees should have the opportunity to provide feedback about their experience at your organization throughout their first year. While some organizations check in with their employees at the 90-day mark to give them feedback about their job performance, your new employee should also have the opportunity to give you feedback about your organization’s performance as an employer.
These feedback sessions should be conducted incrementally throughout the first year. Feedback can be given either electronically or in person. Although the latter can be time consuming, it will provide you with optimal results. Some sample questions you can ask are:
1.    What do you like the most about your new role?
2.    What do you like least in your role?
3.    Do you receive feedback often enough?
4.    Do you feel as though you have the resources and support to succeed with the company?
With these four questions, you will receive all the information you need to know. Amongst other things, this will encourage honesty and it promotes healthy growth.
In conclusion, if your organization is struggling with retaining employees, you should evaluate your onboarding program to ensure it contains all the components outlined here. Investing in your onboarding and orientation programs will not only increase retention, but it can also increase engagement and productivity.

Reprinted with permission from BLR.