Onboarding Favors the Prepared

Carolyn Dorsey | Program Manager | People Factor, LLC

“New employees who went through a structured on-boarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years.” – The Wynhurst Group

Does your organization have an onboarding plan? -One that goes beyond getting a new hire’s HR paperwork filled out and leading them to their desk? The weeks leading up to and immediately following a new hire’s arrival are critical in making their transition smooth and productive. It’s also critical in their decision to STAY.

One of the most important factors on whether people opt to stay in their job is if they feel any connection to the company’s mission and values. Do they find meaning in their work? Are they connecting the importance of their job to what the company does? The first few days of a new employee’s life in your organization is the key time to paint the picture for them of exactly what your company does, why it does it and how their job contributes to the success of the company mission. Accomplishing this takes some planning. Onboarding a new hire is a key strategic process and will take advance effort on your part.

The first phase of onboarding happens right after the hiring paperwork has been signed. The new hire should receive a packet that includes all the information they will need to have a successful first day and week on the job. The packet should include things like parking information; lunch options; a map of the facility with crucial areas marked; a name and introduction of whom they will ask for when they arrive; and a welcome kit that can be anything from a card, to a fruit basket, to company swag. It should also include contact information for someone who can answer any questions they may have prior to reporting for their first day.

During the week before a new hire’s start date, prepare for their arrival by assigning a buddy who will welcome them, answer questions, and generally help them acclimate to their new workplace. They need someone they’ll feel comfortable asking where to drop mail or find supplies. Also plan ahead for banners to greet them or a welcome lunch with a group of co-workers. Prepare a welcome folder with things like the company mission/vision/values, an org chart; departmental contacts; protocols for sick and vacation days and other office procedures; and an office map with conference rooms, break rooms and rest rooms identified. A welcome gift on their desk is always appreciated too!

During their first week, set up small meetings or one on ones where they can be brought up to speed on the company history, current projects, and be introduced to teams and people they will come in contact with for their work. The better connected they are, the more comfortable they will feel from the beginning and the quicker they can be productive.

Make sure to check in with them 30, 60, 90 days and a year from their hire date. Give them opportunity to ask for help or give suggestions in the process of settling in. Onboarding done right will be a two way street with both sides spending time building respect and trust – resulting in that coveted high retention rate.