The Importance of Onboarding New Hires

15 June, 2018

By Hans Warmerdam, Haselhoff Group (Netherlands)

Several studies show that roughly 33 percent of employees decide to stay with a firm or leave within their first 30 days of employment. Given this, you’d think companies would work to put their best foot forward with new hires through effective onboarding programs.

Surprisingly, however, many firms treat onboarding like a burden, sort of like dirty laundry. To them, it’s a necessary evil, something to get over with before an employee can become productive. For most organizations, onboarding is a matter of shutting the new recruit in a room by him or herself or with other lonely souls in a conference room, reviewing and filling out mountains of paperwork. They give them a laptop, introduce them to new colleagues and if they are lucky their manager will spend a few hours explaining what he expects from the new hire.

The onboarding process is often even worse in smaller companies or the satellite offices of larger firms. These locations may not have an HR presence, so the onboarding role usually defaults to the receptionist, administrative assistant, or worse, whoever draws the short straw. (“Hey Susan! It’s your turn to greet the new hire and help her with her paperwork!”)

The fact is, effective onboarding is the key to capturing the attention of new hires and keeping them engaged.

An effective onboarding helps new hires grasp the firm’s culture, history, customer base, performance expectations, job requirements, communication expectations, and more. The best onboarding programs are well planned out in advance and should start as soon as the new hire signs the contract. If a new hire will start one month after giving notice to their former employer, then from that moment on the new hire should begin the onboarding process.

We see several steps to effective onboarding:1. Pre-boarding – before the effective start – show that you care
2. Onboarding

  • On the first day, help the new hire feel welcome by the manager, by taking time and assigning a mentor
  • During the first week, stay in touch to check the progress
  • End of the first week, meet with the new hire and the mentor and team manager to evaluate the first week and make a plan for the next weeks
  • During the first month, monitor the new hire and mentor with short talks about how things are going
  • After the third week, meet with the new hire to hear what his or her experience is, what he or she needs, and whether they are ready to fulfill the job. Does the new hire need additional coaching or accompaniment?

3. Use your people management techniques for the further onboarding of the new hire after this crucial first month

If the new hire arrives from an outside recruiter, they should be able to help with onboarding coaching and will likely offer it as part of the search assignment. The results of the kickoff meeting with the recruiter can be used as input for the on boarding coaching of the new hire.

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