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Why on-boarding is so important- First day impressions matter

 

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Have you ever started a new job and realised the day before you are going to start that you don’t know what time to show up, where to go, who to ask for and what to wear? Don’t worry you are not alone! If I had a dollar for every time a new employee would call me the day before they start a new job with these questions, well I wouldn’t be working and writing this blog. Kidding, I love my job!!!

Just as a new employee has one chance at a first impression so does the employer.

So when does on-boarding start and why is on-boarding so important?

On-boarding and induction often get confused however, they are two separate things.

Induction starts on day one, goes for several days and is an activity for a new employees only. Induction is essential for new employees and their understanding of the company and their role.

Onboarding starts much earlier. Some say it’s when the new employee signs their contract of employment and others say it’s during the recruitment and selection process.

Onboarding covers the pre-employment communications to the new starter, the induction process, company culture information, goals/KPI’s and basically everything the new employee needs to be ‘job ready’. Sometimes a buddy or mentor will be assigned to help with the on-boarding process. This means that it often extends beyond the probation period and will differ from employee to employee.

An on-boarding program can significantly improve the performance, fit, and willingness of every new employee in your organisation. As a result, on-boarding helps build, sustain, and maintain high-performing teams.

Benefits of on-boarding programs include the following:

• Increases employee engagement.

• Incorporates new employees into the organisational culture.

• Prevents future re-recruiting and re-training which is costly.

• Reduces new hire turnover.

Most companies have an induction program but fewer companies have an on-boarding program. It is extremely important to have both to ensure you are setting up your employees for success. From my years of experience in HR I have witnessed many employees resign from organisations within the first 6 months of employment. When I conducted exit interviews I found a common theme. The majority of employees resigned due to poor on-boarding ranging from not knowing what is expected from them in their role, poor communication, lack of leadership and other on-boarding related issues.Onbaording IMage 2

Managers, don’t forget it’s the little things that help make a great impression.

Call your new employee before day one and let them know where to go and who to ask for. Answer any questions or concerns the new employee may have.

  • On day one make sure the employees desk (if it’s applicable to their role) is set up with a telephone, computer with log ins and any tools of trade that are required for the role. There is nothing worse than a new employee starting and not having anything ready, they feel like a wally!
  • Introduce the new employee to the rest of the team.
  • Show the new employee where the bathrooms, tea rooms and fire exits are.
  • Meet with the new employee at the end of day one to ensure the day went well.
  • Be clear with communications and directions, remember a new employee is usually nervous and wants to do a great job.

These may seem like small things but they can make a HUGE difference for a new employee starting in your organisation.

Organisations would do well to create an on-boarding program to ‘on board’ new employees through more than just technical knowledge. Cultural fit is also extremely important for both new employees and organisations.

If you need help with your current on-boarding program or in creating one,  give HR Gurus a call and we can help.

Written by our resident HR Guru- Natalie Bol

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