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Making the Most of New Talent: Improve Your Onboarding Tactics

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6519243191_741d785bf5_bIn recruiting we take into account ways to attract the most talented, suitable and hardworking candidates, but onboarding is as important as the hiring process that precedes it. Orientation and onboarding will help new staff become productive faster and improve retention rates.

Onboarding, or organizational socialization, provides new employees with the right tools, skills, behaviour and knowledge to become insiders. It increases the likelihood of them becoming effective new members of your work force by helping them integrate at an organizational and social level. In short, it helps new hires become successful at what they do.

In The First 90 Days Michael Watkins says “Transitions are periods of opportunity, a chance to start afresh and to make needed changes in an organization. But they are also periods of acute vulnerability, because you lack established working relationships and a detailed understanding of your new role.”

Here are some tips on how to better integrate and also retain your newfound talent as best as possible in those first 90 days.

Start early: incorporate business culture and needs into the hiring process to avoid surprises and first-year-turnover

Last week it was mentioned that stimulating a sense of shared visions, goals and views amongst an organization helps increase Employee Engagement. Create an early synergy and avoid misunderstanding by incorporating company values into the hiring process. Define your company’s work ethic before you start asking applicants about theirs in order to align the two.

If you’re hiring for a new position, quickly perform a check of your organization’s core competencies: ask yourself what core skills are currently missing and adjust your vacancy to them. By doing so you ensure early on that new hires are essential to contributing to an existing work force.

Stay ahead: connect new staff with relevant colleagues and content before they start

Allow your new hires to get to know the people they’ll be working with closely. Familiarization will put people at ease. Allowing new hires to study their new team in advance avoids uncomfortable situations on the work floor. It also means they’ll know who can, and should, provide them with the right information and documentation to get started on their first tasks.

Familiarization is also a two-way street. When a friend of mine recently started his new job and walked up to new colleagues to introduce himself he was met with recognition. A memo had been sent round to inform the team of his arrival, skills and potential future contributions. He was happily surprised to already have been so thoroughly established as a colleague on what was only his first day.

Inform: don’t allow new hires to learn the hard way

Flaunt your benefits by informing new employees of what they’re entitled to in advance. Avoid situations in which they grudgingly miss out on the advantages of the job. Do not only inform your new team members of their responsibilities, but also of the perks that come with them to create a happier work force.

Also inform them of social conduct on the work floor. Does your company demand a business or casual dress code?

And be clear on behavioral values. If your hiring process is sound, company work ethics should be clear to all parties from the start. Make policies and procedures more concrete by sharing information via e-mail, intranet or simply the web. Social media can be a great ally here.

Think simple: informal connections are as important as formal ones

When a friend of mine started her first job as a university teacher, she was anxious about meeting new colleagues in time before classes started in fall, and worried she wouldn’t feel in place when her colleagues had just come back from summer break, only to find ‘the new girl’ sitting in one of their seats.

Needlessly so.

Two months before her official first day of work, she was invited to informally meet the new team she’d be working with at end-of-the-year drinks. As a result, she had already socialized with the most important members of staff and got to know them at both a professional and personal level long before she had started. 

Emphasize employee socialization early on.

Onboarding can help you reduce first-year-turnover and improve retention, save time by cutting the road to production, and increase efficiency.

And remember, first impressions last!

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