Branding/Marketing/PR Magazine Thought Leadership

How to effectively onboard a new employee

Written by the Editorial Team

It is often said that people who are an organisation’s greatest asset, and it is true. Yet all too often we see organisations struggle to retain their best employees, losing them to a key competitor.

There can be a range of explanations for this, but one of the biggest reasons is the failure of employers during the onboarding process.

‘Onboarding’ is the buzzword that has been doing the rounds within HR departments up and down the country ever since the recession and relates to the way in which employers integrate new starters into their organisations.

Some see onboarding as something that only happens in larger companies, but it’s just as important for small and medium sized businesses too.

Perhaps the single greatest reason why onboarding has come to prominence is to stem the tide of staff jumping ship and swimming the seas to where their career nirvana lies in wait with the organisation’s competitors.

As the economy continues along its upward trajectory, more opportunities in the job market means employees are more susceptible to the possibility of moving elsewhere for better prospects. It’s a trend that is set to continue – unless of course it is nipped in the bud.

To do this requires shifting the focus away from the so-called ‘hygiene’ factors (salary, benefits package, working environment) and balancing them with the employee’s ‘emotional’ factors (career ambitions, motivations, influencing ability). Hygiene factors will help you to win the battle for the right talent, but it is the emotional factors that will win you the war and enable you to keep hold of that talent.

Think of it like this: The process of recruiting a new member of staff is rather transactional in nature – an offer is made, terms are negotiated, and a contract is signed.

Of course this is not such a bad thing, its just business. Trouble is, if you fail to really ‘get’ what an employee is all about early doors, you risk losing that member of staff.

So how can you ensure that you satisfy both the hygiene and emotional factors of your employees? Here’s a few key recommendations:

  1. Gain employee ‘buy in’: Employees who can identify with the organisation’s values and goals will feel that they are ‘making a difference’.
  2. Big-up their role: Having a job description is one thing, but new starters need to see how their role fits in with the rest of the organisation and the difference they can make to the future direction of the business.
  3. Enable two-way communication: Employees who feel they can easily approach their line managers are more engaged and feel part of the decision-making process.
  4. Keep employees in the loop at all times: Whatever it is, keep your employees informed about what is happening in the business, whether you’ve won a new contract or even if the company has featured in a magazine like this one! Share your news and stimulate dialogue throughout the business.
  5. Encourage ideas: By developing a supportive and knowledge-sharing corporate culture, employees will feel empowered to discuss, share and contribute ideas that can have both a direct and indirect impact on how the organisation performs.

Integrating new employees is never easy, it is a challenge. But get it right and you improve the chances of your new employee getting off to the best possible start.