It goes without saying that turnover of staff is a high cost, estimated, according to Harvard Business Review, to be anything from 100% to 300% of the replaced employee’s salary.
This is, naturally, something that all businesses will want to avoid. We also know that, on average, unless processes are in place, around 20% of new recruits will leave within the first two months, 30% will be looking for a new job within the first six months and 23% are off before 12 months are up.
One way is to have an effective onboarding process in place. But what is effective onboarding, and does it apply to all businesses?
Despite us finding the ideal candidate for your vacancy, it’s said that without effective onboarding in place, it could take up to 12 months for a new recruit to settle in. However, put an onboarding process in place, and it’s estimated that recruits are 60% more likely to remain with the company for three years or more.
In fact, businesses that invest in an effective onboarding process are proven to have reduced staff turnover and greater employee involvement and consequently increased profitability.
To start with, onboarding is much more that an enhanced induction scheme. In fact, it starts with the recruitment process. The more the prospective candidate knows about the company – its vision, goals and what makes it unique, along with your expectations of them, the more they will buy into the position from the start.
The business that spends time and effort in ensuring the skills and attributes of the candidate reflect the culture of the business, the more cost effective the recruitment process. This means, new recruits hit the ground running, get up to speed quicker and start contributing sooner. As a result, they are 18 times more likely to be committed to the organisation over a longer period.
As we said earlier, onboarding is not simply a one-day induction course, it starts as soon as you confirm the appointment, and can last for a whole year. It’s your responsibility to ensure they want to stay. Your task is to make them feel welcomed and special.
If you remember your first day at work, you will know how daunting and exciting it was – both at the same time. Nothing has changed – it’s still a worrying time for most people, with many wondering if they have made the right choice.
Potential recruits can, nowadays, discover a great deal about your company from your website, social media postings and even job review sites. So, make it easy for them by sending links to your notifications. You might even have You Tube videos – once again send a link.
It’s imperative that candidates can gauge the type of organisation they are joining from these pre-emptive messages. This could include a cheery personal welcome letter telling them how pleased and excited you are that they accepted your offer, possibly even a ‘welcome to the team’ video, and even a company branded item such as a pen or mug for their desk.
Naturally, it will depend on the type of employment, but this pre-start package gives you an opportunity to outline relevant information such as nearest transport links / stops, parking arrangements, company address details, including your email and direct phone number.
You may also want to include specific contacts such as HR / Union rep / Health and Safety etc. This will enable the candidate to make contact direct if necessary.
In addition, a welcome pack might also contain details of what type of equipment they will be using, such as computers or manufacturing tools. This will enable candidates to familiarise themselves with specific features and once again reduce the time spent getting to know their environment.
You may also use this opportunity to make them aware of social events, both past (link to photos / videos) and future (dates / venues). At the same time, you will also be preparing the formal paperwork such as contract of employment, payroll, first day induction programme etc.
The welcome pack should also clearly state your expectations, the company’s vison and mission statements, key company policies, as well as safety in the workplace (with health and safety being covered in more detail during on site induction).
Therefore, the effectiveness of this pre-induction activity undoubtedly sets the tone for the future employee / employer relationship.
The key is to keep it personal from day one. During the first few weeks of employment, it’s important that that they feel part of the team, are involved in discussing your future plans and know that they are more than just a number.
On the first day, following a welcome briefing (and at the end of the day, a de-brief) that includes a formal induction (with H&S forming a major part) some of the time should be used to introduce new recruits to fellow work colleagues.
It’s also a good idea to encourage social interaction with these colleagues. A team quiz always works well here, as it highlights the competitiveness of team members as well as specific interests of those they will be working with.
It is also helpful, at this stage, to provide an aide-memoire of key players including their photo and job description. Some organisations already do this on their website – job done.
Their first day with you imprints the culture of the company on them. It should, therefore, be fun and enjoyable, not daunting and overwhelming – especially if you want them to turn up for work the next day.
During this initial induction period, you may also encourage them to ghost or shadow other team members so they can obtain an honest feedback as to what the job entails. You may also use this as an opportunity to assign a ‘buddy’ to oversee them during this critical period.
Positive onboarding is all about creating a mix of anticipation with results-based feedback (from both parties). It’s also a chance to discover what training needs may be required, and even encourage the adoption of a formalised Continual Personal Development (CPD) programme. This may also include on the job training (OJT) and structured ‘learning by experience’.
The length of the induction process is largely down to the size and type of organisation, and complexity of the role involved. And although it’s an ongoing process, the first ‘settling in’ phase will probably last around 3-4 months. During that time, it’s imperative that you have ongoing communication with the new starter and encourage them to give you honest feedback – especially in respect of the onboarding process.
Within the probationary period, you should be able to assess how successful your onboarding has been and be in a position to consider the next phase. This will include regular review meetings, informal ‘water cooler’ chats, training success and ongoing work achievement results.
With a mix of projects, assignments and goal setting, the final phase will then pave the way for a formal staff review, a discussion of future aspirations, the setting of further goals, as well as considering potential promotion opportunities.
Recruitment is not just about attracting the best talent; it’s about keeping them. Employees who quickly leave of their own volition are not only expensive to the business but do nothing to promote a positive marketing message to the outside world.
That’s why it’s so important to get onboarding right from the word go, and that means at the recruitment stage. We can offer advice on creating an effective onboarding process that is vital for attracting high calibre staff that want to grow with the company.
Finally, it’s said that job satisfaction is 30 times higher for employees who have experienced a positive and effective onboarding process. They are the ones, after all, who stay and help you grow your business.