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Effective onboarding

Many companies, especially small ones, may not have come across the term “onboarding” before or know what it means. “Onboarding” is the process of integrating a new hire into your business and getting it right can make a huge difference. Having an effective onboarding process will make your new employee feel welcome, help them understand your business and expectations, and make them productive more quickly. Failing to integrate new hires means they are more likely to leave quickly, which can be extremely costly. 

SMEs may feel they lack the time or resources to create a formal onboarding programme but there are many things you can achieve without spending too much money or missing too much time from essential business operations. Firstly, don’t wait for your new employee’s first day before beginning the process. From the moment the job offer is accepted you can work on getting your new hire on board. Stay in touch with them while they are waiting to start – you can email them your employee handbook, include them in any company news and carry out compliance procedures through an online portal.

Before their first day make sure their work station is ready with IT logins set up and keys or access cards available. Offering an inexpensive gift such as a mug or cupcake or even just a “Welcome to our company” card will help your new starter feel valued. Make a plan for their first day – this could include office orientation, education on your company values, discussion of goals/KPIs, information about training opportunities, introductions to key members of staff and an invitation to lunch or coffee. This shows your new hire that you have made time to make them feel welcome.

Once the new employee has started consider asking a senior member of staff as a coach or mentor. Showing that senior staff are invested in them helps new starters to feel part of the team. Check back regularly to make sure things are going well and to gather feedback in case they are not.

Don’t stop the onboarding process too quickly. Regular check-ins with the employee over the course of a year demonstrates your commitment to them, helps them be more effective in their role and will encourage them to stay at your company.

Posted on Tuesday Apr 24