Organisations are constantly competing for talent, for experience, skills and knowledge that new hires can add to their workforce. The companies that do this faster and more effectively can gain a significant competitive advantage.

According to LinkedIn’s Global Recruitment Trends 2016 report; 33% of talent leaders see employee retention as a top priority. Considering that two thirds of new hires fail to complete their first performance milestone, and that companies are losing 25% of new hires within a year, something doesn’t quite add up.

If you’ve ever started a new job, only to find the company completely unprepared for your arrival, you will know how important onboarding is to the employee-employer relationship.

Looking back at my own past experiences I remember one example quite clearly; I’d applied for a job using a slick careers site that allowed me to upload my details directly from my Linked in profile, pretty cool. The interview process was challenging but insightful and at times fun, and then the news I’d been waiting for, I’d got the job.

Now onto the onboarding itself. I remember the feeling during the days in the run up to starting my new job quite clearly. Excitement, determination and enthusiasm for the challenges that lay ahead. Staring dewy eyed with pride at the logo of the corporate “welcome pack” that had just arrived in the post, which was actually little more than a stack of paperwork to complete and return by post, eurgh! I remember feeling nervous and a little daunted, wondering what my team would be like and hoping I’d done enough preparation to make it through the first day without making myself look a fool. And then I remember my disappointment when after introductions were made and a whistle stop tour of the facilities and fire exits, I was shown my desk and telephone, assigned a couple of mind-numbing online courses to complete and that was that for day one. Hmmmph!

More recently, with SAP SuccessFactors, I have been fortunate to see exactly what a great onboarding experience can mean for individuals and organisations alike;

Think about what you’re new hires need and what you can do to enable them;

  • Is all pre-hire documentation in one place where it can be managed and returned easily? Do you support eSignature technology?
  • How your new hires might be feeling. Joining a new company can be daunting, people can naturally feel overwhelmed or anxious. What can you do to counteract this?
  • Pre-empt questions they’ll have i.e. who are their team members? Exactly what is expected of them on day one?
  • Can you automate any processes to simplify the experience?
  • Does the technology you use provide the best user experience? (see my previous post Employee 2.0)
  • Agree with your new hire on their training plan for their first 30-90 days
  • Assign a mentor to help your new hire get the lay of the land
  • Use the onboarding process as an opportunity to collect more data on your employees. Find out what motivates them, what aspirations they have, whether relocation is of interest to them, any suggestions they might have to improve your recruitment and onboarding processes.

The benefits of putting these small actions into your onboarding process in the days and weeks before your new hires even start working are huge. If you can help your new hires to understand your organisations culture, clarify exactly what is expected of them, have the compliance documentation wrapped up, and make them feel comfortable in their new surroundings and with their new team mates, then you in turn will enable your employees to be productive at a faster rate, they’ll be more likely to stay loyal and committed to your organisation, all while decreasing turnover. So what are you waiting for?

To learn more or for further information please feel free to email me – sam.thatcher@sap.com

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