When onboarding a new employee goes wrong, and how to avoid it

When onboarding a new employee goes wrong, and how to avoid it

The first days on a new job are critical. Often the spotlight is on the new recruit, as companies and managers eagerly anticipate the new employee settling in with ease. However, the need to make a good first impression works both ways. Companies need to consider the impression that they are giving to their new recruit.

As a busy manager, it’s easy to skip a comprehensive onboarding process for the new recruit. However, there are inherent risks involved with this. Here are the four biggest risks to your business if an optimal onboarding is overlooked:

  1. Loss of productivity. The new employee could flounder, and take many more months than expected to work effectively.
  2. Impact to the company’s reputation. Seek found that more than half (51%) of the Australian population have felt that a company didn’t live up to their initial impression. Negative word-of-mouth can impact on your ability to secure top talent in the future.
  3. Loss of the new recruit. According to a recent Australian study by PWC and LinkedIn, 23% of new employees leave their job within the first 12 months.
  4. Impact to company culture. Consider the emotional impact to your team if a staff member leaves too soon. In a recent AHRI survey, more than half (58.5 per cent) of respondents believe turnover levels have a negative impact on workplace performance.

It’s crucial that your new employee is set up for long-term success with a comprehensive onboarding process. Investing the time up front will help ensure your new employee not only gets onboard, but soars to new heights which will only benefit the company.

Onboarding checklist

Before the new employee starts: The prep work

  • Reach out. Contact your new employee before they start and share important information to help them feel prepared - like what time they need to arrive on their first day, dress code, parking instructions, and any other details.
  • Connect the tech. Reach out to HR and IT to set up the new email account, voice mailbox and computer equipment. Have all the login information, company ID and security key cards ready so your new employee can enter the building and get started.
  • Prepare the workspace. Make sure the new workspace is clean and has the essential tools such as a phone, computer, chair and stationary. Personalise the workspace with a nameplate - seeing their name will help make the new employee feel welcome.

Day one: Allay first-day fears

Make introductions: Send out a welcome email to the team and/or the business that morning. Ensure the receptionist knows to welcome the new employee. Make personal introductions to key departments and colleagues. Gather the team for lunch or coffee for bonding in a social setting.
Give an orientation: Give the new employee an orientation - from where to find stationary and meeting rooms, to where to find the best coffee.

Week one: Give the blue-print to success

  • Revisit goals and responsibilities. You will have touched on this during the hiring process, but now go into detail about assignments and expectations. Also discuss the evaluation process and scheduling of the performance review.
  • Give a business induction. Your business may have a formal induction - if not, create one. Provide an overview of the company’s vision and mission, values, products and services, organisational chart and functions of various departments.
  • Schedule training. According to an independent survey by Robert Half, 27% of Australian office workers identify subsidised training/education as one of the most important employee benefits. As part of the onboarding process, engage with your new employee which new skills he or she feels they may need training on. Explore and book in relevant internal training, conferences and webinars. Establishing employee training as a priority for the business can not only help you secure the candidate, but retain them too.

Month one - and beyond:

  • Remember that successfully onboarding a new employee takes several months. Check in often, and schedule regular catch-ups to give new hires the opportunity to air any concerns. Take the time to observe them and ask questions - do they understand the business and their role? Facilitate any additional training on systems or processes, and be prepared to give extra feedback.  
  • Consider a mentoring program. It can help to appoint a mentor to the new employee. This will give them a ‘go to’ person who can answer any further questions and be a positive influence.
  • Recognition: Keep the employee motivated and engaged by celebrating success. It could be as simple as noting the new employee’s achievements in a team meeting, or you could establish an awards program to acknowledge and celebrate high-performing staff.

First impressions count. Instead of thinking about what first impression the candidate is making on you, consider what first impression your company would like to make. Invest the time upfront in effectively onboarding the new employee to help retain and motivate your new hires.

Contact us today if you need more information on how to efficiently onboard a new employee.

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