How to Reinvent Employee Onboarding

Gina Deveney
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Onboarding can set the tone for an employee's tenure at a company, for better or worse. In many companies, the employee onboarding process is left untouched for years at a time, resulting in systems that don't suit the evolving workplace. Reinventing your established procedures can transform the new-employee experience, making it more effective and ensuring that new workers get started on the right foot.

Employee onboarding is an excellent opportunity for your company to establish positive practices and prevent bad habits. An effective program starts your workers off on the right track, preventing costly complications and losses down the road. Perhaps more importantly, a powerful onboarding process helps new workers feel more comfortable, so they can get up to speed and become productive in less time.

Unfortunately, many businesses do not make a priority of employee onboarding. New employees are hurried through the process in a few hours or days before they are tossed into the workplace. As a result, an Aberdeen Group study found that 89 percent of new employees felt unprepared to do their jobs.

Reinventing employee onboarding is no small task for the human resources department. Organization is key to the process; without it, you may have new workers searching for an open desk or wondering who to approach with questions. Start by creating a list of the basic requirements for each new hire, such as office space, a computer, a phone line, an Internet password and an email account. At the very minimum, these items will prevent the employee from feeling ignored or out of place.

Human interaction is a crucial aspect for new people in a business. An effective employee onboarding program facilitates introductions and helps workers start to form relationships. Your new program should give each person the opportunity to meet with his manager, his colleagues and other new employees. If possible, schedule a casual get-to-know-you event to introduce new hires and create opportunities for conversation in a social setting. This step can make the transition process easier and less awkward. When your new employees start to build relationships, they may feel more comfortable reaching out for help or advice.

When the onboarding process is ineffective, employees may spend weeks searching for something to do. Clear direction can help workers hit the ground running, so they can get up to speed and become productive in less time. One way to facilitate speedy integration is to encourage each manager to provide a list of assignments or tasks. The list might include instructions to research the background of key clients, review past project notes or sit in on a new-client meeting.

With a restructured employee onboarding program, human resources professionals can help eliminate wasted time. An organized and well thought-out process can streamline the transition for new workers and help them become a productive part of the company in less time.


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