For most businesses the job recruitment process is a costly enough exercise without the added expense of a lengthy induction process. What with advertising costs and the time invested by managers and HR staff in selecting and interviewing candidates, a significant outlay has been made before the new recruit even walks through the door. And that is why having a strong onboarding process in place is so important. It’s in everyone’s interests for the new employee to be up and running as quickly as possible.

A good onboarding process will not only ensure your staff member is assimilated and productive as soon as possible, it also helps with retention rates. You see, employees who have been through a positive onboarding experience are more likely to stay longer with the same employer.  In fact, research suggests that 33 percent of new employees decide to leave within the first 30 days.

Onboarding is your opportunity to make a positive and lasting impression on the new hire.  So, what makes for an effective onboarding process? What steps should you take to protect the investment you’ve made and make sure your new recruit has a positive introduction to the company? Let’s find out more.

How To Create A Structured Onboarding Program

Timing is important. In fact, some companies begin the onboarding process before the new recruit has even started by sharing key company policies and background information. The onboarding program certainly needs to be set up by day one so that the employee knows exactly what’s expected in those crucial first few weeks.

The consensus is that a 30-day onboarding program is sufficient for most roles. Though, longer may be required for more senior ones and 20 days is enough for some companies. Certainly, it’s best to avoid the mistake of having a new employee arrive on a Monday morning without even the basics of a desk and stationery set up for them.

There are two main elements to any successful onboarding program: general onboarding and job-specific.

“The end result of general onboarding is that the employee has a clear sense of the bigger picture and their contribution to it.”

1. General onboarding

Filling out forms is an inevitable part of everyone’s first few days in a new job. Whether it’s getting setup on the payroll system or company network, providing your personal details or booking a park in the staff carpark there’s a lot of paperwork that needs to be completed. Many companies have found a HR portal a useful tool in this context. New recruits can quickly and easily complete the forms online through the HR portal which then automatically routes the data through to the appropriate team member for action. As well as speeding up the process, it also reduces the possibility of errors creeping in as is often the case with paper or email systems.

General onboarding, however, goes beyond simply completing paperwork. It also involves instilling in the new staff member a clear sense of what the company is all about, who the key players are, why the company does what it does and how it does it. Important elements, therefore, will include:

  • A brief history of the organization
  • The company’s vision, mission statement and values
  • Key employee biographies
  • A product or service walk-through covering the basics of how, what and why
  • Departmental onboarding, in which each department provides a high-level overview of what they do.

The end result of general onboarding is that the employee has a clear sense of the bigger picture and their contribution to it.

2. Job-specific onboarding

Typically designed by the new recruit’s line manager or departmental head, this aspect of the onboarding process will vary from job to job. The aim here is to cover all the key responsibilities and technologies that the person needs to be successful in their job. And while general onboarding can be accomplished fairly quickly, job-specific onboarding is likely to take longer depending on the complexity of the role. There will inevitably be a certain amount of handholding and mentoring as the individual gets up to speed.

Onboarding new employees requires a detailed plan

Tips About Onboarding Delivery Mechanisms

Different people have different learning styles. It’s a good idea, therefore, to use a variety of media for imparting all the information necessary within the onboarding program. So, consider mixing and matching the following possibilities with more traditional written communications to have maximum impact and coverage:

  • How to videos
  • Podcasts
  • Wikis
  • Quizzes and surveys
  • Webinars
  • Simulations and games
  • Standard operating procedures
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Mentorship arrangements and communities of interest.

Many companies have found that an employee intranet ticks all the boxes. In a single platform, an employee intranet can deliver a comprehensive multi-media onboarding program plus a whole host of other business benefits. Intuitive to setup and simple to manage on an ongoing basis, an employee intranet makes onboarding easy.

And the cloud nature of the employee intranet means that changes and updates can be quickly implemented without the need for reprinting and distributing manuals or paper processes. What’s more, the onboarding program can be accessed anytime and anywhere and in today’s changing workplaces the flexibility offered by an online onboarding program has much to offer. For instance, the new recruit could be completing the program during their daily commute into work.

“It’s been estimated that the total cost of losing an employee is roughly 1.5-2 times the annual salary.”

Onboarding: Can You Afford Not To?

And if all this sounds as though it involves a lot of organization, expense and downright hassle, then consider this: what is the cost of not onboarding your employees? The truth is failing to have an effective onboarding program could cost you more in the long run in terms of:

  • The additional job recruitment process costs as you recruit, hire and train a replacement employee.
  • The extra work and negative impact on the remaining team members who will have to carry a vacant position.
  • The consequent drop in customer service as there are less personnel available to deal with customer queries.
  • The possibility that the departing employee may well utilize your organization’s ideas, products or services to their own advantage.
  • The likelihood that your preferred candidate may defect and work for a competitor.

The bottom line is that recruiting and retaining the top talent in the market is getting harder and harder. It’s been estimated that the total cost of losing an employee is roughly 1.5-2 times the annual salary. And for the average manager making $80,000 a year, that’s a surprising $120,000 to $160,000 in recruitment and training expenses.

An effective onboarding program will see your business quickly realizing a significant return on investment as new recruits achieve higher levels of productivity more quickly. It also means that you will retain the individual’s knowledge and expertise for longer. And a comprehensive, cost-effective onboarding program delivered through a cloud employee intranet could well be the simple, effective solution you are looking for.

Guest Writer:

Helen Borich is a member of the editorial staff of MyHub Intranet Solutions. MyHub is a cloud-based intranet software solution that provides businesses with a range of powerful business tools via their own secure customizable intranet site.

P.S. Efficient and emphatic recruitment process goes hand in hand with professional onboarding practices. TalentAdore can help you in the struggle of attracting top talents and at the same time, offering superior experience to each candidate. Want to know more about our Virtual Recruitment Assistant?