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How to onboard a new employee

by Ross Bennett

Welcoming a new starter to the team? This is your chance to win the heart and mind of your new employee, securing their loyalty by bringing them into the mission from day one. They may be through the door already, but the last thing you want to do is lose their interest early on.

According to figures from PwC’s Adapt To Survive survey, one in three new hires in the UK leaves their role within a year, with a further 22% of these employees leaving within the first six weeks. More often than not, this results directly from a lack of proper onboarding.

Keen to minimise disruption and keep productivity levels high, employers rush through the on-boarding process, either adopting checklist-approach or shrugging off the responsibility to the HR department. However, skipping past this essential stage can leave your employee feeling stressed and vulnerable, uncertain of their duties or how they fit into the team.

1.       Make a plan of action

While both you and your new recruit may have a clear understanding of the task at hand, nobody can walk into a company and “hit the ground running” without some form of induction. Start by drafting a rough plan of how you envision the first few weeks of employment for your new starter. What will their first day look like? Their first week, or month? What do you want them to achieve in this time? How will you train them on your systems and orient them on their responsibilities? Once a plan is in place, gather together the resources you will need to ensure your employee starts with a sense of direction.

2.       Engage in pre-boarding

Businesses commonly leave onboarding until the last minute, preparing paperwork just before an employee shows up for their first day. In truth, onboarding should begin long before the employee arrives, as this is when they are likely to be at their most anxious about their new role.  There are several things you can do to help “pre-board” your employee: you might send them the company handbook via email, meet up with them in a casual setting to discuss the plan you’ve made for their first week or even just promote the company’s social network profiles to build their understanding of the brand and marketplace. Ultimately, your aim is to reduce their nerves and welcome them to the team ahead of the big day.

3.       Hold meetings, not introductions

Successful onboarding goes further than a simple induction. It’s one thing to know the names of your colleagues, but a seating plan won’t help your new employee understand what role they play in the business. Rather than rushing your new hire through a set of ‘“introductions”, book some time in their diary to meet with key members of the team and learn about their primary functions and responsibilities. This will allow them to connect with their colleagues from an early stage and help to shed a light on the entire eco-system of the business – not just their job.

4.       Keep your new starter engaged

When it comes to onboarding, first impressions are everything. However, while your ‘Welcome Pack’ of goodies may have left your new starter feeling warm and fuzzy, there’s only so far that a branded notebook and box of chocolates can go. Beyond the excitement of the first week, a new employee must feel that they are comfortably integrating into the business. A simple way to achieve this is to ensure they have actionable items to deliver on: by giving them clear goals to work towards, you invite them to contribute to the wider business objectives from the moment they arrive.

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by Ross Bennett, Sales Director at Heat Recruitment