Last updated: 16th July 2022 at 18:39pm

Victoria Smith writes about the onboarding process and how to get it right.

Onboarding is the term that is more recently used for welcoming new employees into a company and helping to familiarise them with your values, culture and business operations.

It is becoming a critical part of the employee experience. This process begins as soon as the candidate has accepted the job and is there to ensure that the new employee feels welcomed and part of the business as soon as possible. Where onboarding takes into account the employee experience, it will give the new starter the confidence that their decision to join is absolutely the right one.

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Transitioning to a new company

Making the decision to join a new company can be an exciting but daunting experience for some. Once an employee has made the decision to leave their current employer, the notice period can feel like a strange time for them. During this period, it is key to keep in touch with your new team member. Knowing you haven’t been forgotten helps to build great foundations; it also helps to support with any potential counter offers that their current employer may put forward.

Being a new member of the team at MAD-HR, I can honestly say, it was all the little things that really made the difference for me. The little gift and card through the post, a telephone call just to check in and the emails to update me with what the plan looked like for my first week. It really made me feel part of the team and gave me an insight into what a great company I was going to work for.

Small, but important, touches like these help to reassure your new team member that the company they are going to work for hasn’t forgotten them and ensures that they are just as excited about joining the team as you are. It also helps to start those building blocks and for someone to begin to get a picture of what the company is like to work for by getting a feel for your culture and values.

If you happen to have a team event or training session before they join, invite them along. This will help make someone feel included and further along the onboarding process. I attended one of our monthly catch-ups before I started, and it was great being able to meet the team I was going to be working with ahead of my first day.

First impressions

When you have someone new join your team, their first impressions will make a big difference to the success of their employment with you. This starts from the moment they are offered the role.

Employee onboarding statistics claim that a good onboarding process increases staff retention by 82% and productivity by 70%! Those that have a poor onboarding experience are twice as likely to look for a new job.

So those first impressions really do count!

The first week

Finally, your new employee has arrived! They are likely to need a lot from their onboarding experience: for example, some training to know what is to be expected of them in their new role, and some help settling into the new office culture. Sometimes, it is all those small things that you take for granted that can help this process, for example, when and where to take a lunch break, how to use the photocopier and where to get a drink.

During the first week, it is a good idea to have a combination of things for your new employee to go through, such as introductions to team members, information about the company, and what the role entails – this could include training, compliance and health and safety matters – ensuring all paperwork is complete and returned, showing them any tools they will need to carry out their role and giving them a few first tasks to help ease them into their role.

It is easy to then think onboarding is now complete, but remember, this is all new to someone and it is going to take time for anyone to be fully embedded into your company.

On average, onboarding can take between four and eight weeks. During this time, you will need to establish some long-lasting processes that will transition into day-to-day operations. The more you invest in this process, the more you will get out of it.

It is just as important to get feedback from your new team member about how they feel things are going. Gain some understanding from them about the process and joining the team. This will help you onboard future recruits.

The benefits of a great onboarding experience

A well designed and thought-out onboarding programme can make a real difference to an employee’s experience when joining their new company and can have a big impact on engagement and retention too.

Recruiting the right person into your business takes time and is expensive! According to the 2021 XpertHR survey on key recruitment metrics, the average cost per hire is £2,234. This rises to £10,401 for a Director’s position. These figures exclude costs for HR and managerial time!

You want to make sure you are getting that return on your investment. In a lot of cases employers want someone to “hit the ground running” but that is often not realistic. Having a positive onboarding experience gives new employees an understanding of what is required of them. Onboarding gives your new team members the resources to perform effectively, and encourages them to feel motivated. This will mean they will be productive and effectively quickly, working to their potential and putting in the maximum effort.

The risk of not doing this means you are likely to lose people after a short period of time. It also affects the reputation of the business and the morale of existing team members who may feel frustrated.

If you would like any help with your onboarding process, please feel free to contact a member of our team.