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4 Strategies For Effective Onboarding

Did you know that approximately 3 million Americans quit their jobs each month? And that doesn't even include the number of layoffs, firings, or other involuntary terminations. Many workers leave jobs soon after starting. While some may leave for better pay or for other personal reasons, recruiters and hiring managers in the know understand that if you want to retain your best talent, you must learn that onboarding is more involved than just signing some paperwork and letting new hires loose on the job.

One of the top concerns for recruiters and hiring managers is making sure they can retain the talent they hire. If this is a goal of yours, you'll want to have a compelling and engaging employee onboarding plan that not only sets them up to do their job but also makes them feel assimilated to the company's culture and values.

Minimize Paperwork

When starting a new job, nobody wants to worry about a mountain of paperwork. While filling out some forms is unavoidable, one of the ways you can reduce stress and burden for new employees is to minimize the number of papers they need to fill out or send them to them well ahead of their start date so they have plenty of time to take care of it without cutting into the time they could be spending on onboarding. Provide them with electronic scans of everything so they can refer back to it later and also allow them to fill out PDFs and e-sign documents where applicable. Some companies are ditching paperwork altogether with automated paperless onboarding systems.

Make a Great First Impression

You can't expect new-hires to be fully invested on day one of their new roles. Building loyalty and rapport takes time and dedication, so you'll want to put energy and planning into making a positive first impression that will shape their expectations as they go through their first months on the job. Make sure their desk is ready and their email is set up when they arrive. You may consider having them fill out questionnaires to get a better idea of their personality and working styles to help set mutual cultural expectations between themselves and their new team.

Some companies have a first-day email that they send out to all new employees that asks them to answer fun questions such as where their hometown is, their favorite vacation spot, names of any pets, hobbies, etc. This helps to break the ice and get things off on the right foot. Keep in mind that these first impressions go beyond just day one, and will continue to evolve over the months working with a new team, so as a recruiter or hiring manager, be sure that you stay actively involved as new talent acclimates to a workplace.

Related:  August 2018 Jobs Report [Infographic]

Offer Ongoing Development

These days, talent expects that any desirable employer will have robust access to learning and development opportunities that will help them to further their on-the-job skills while providing enrichment. Learning and development have become part and parcel of a well-regarded employer brand. Don't let your company fall behind in this arena and make it clear during onboarding that new hires will have the chance to learn skills that will help them to make both lateral and upward career moves during their time at the organization. To underscore a culture of learning, an onboarding program should be actively engaging and feature learning and development activities that will help them succeed on the job through practical skills training.

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Integrate Team Activities

Setting up team-oriented social activities can be a great ice-breaker, especially if you have a bunch of new recruits coming in at once. However, even if there is just one employee, something as simple as a pizza party or a happy hour can be ideal for helping the new hire get to know his or her colleagues in a low-pressure, casual setting. Having friends in the workplace is shown to have an overall positive impact on employee performance, with many saying that social connections at work help them to be more engaged and passionate about the job they do. Remember that building a great team starts at the beginning of every employee lifecycle from day one, so your onboarding activities should reflect a team atmosphere that is collaborative and convivial. Besides the happy hour or pizza party, other onboarding team activities may include:

  • A trivia game where people learn about the new-hire
  • Taking the new employee out for lunch with their new boss
  • A team-led walking tour of the building they work in

RELATED: 3 HR Tips for Successful Onboarding

While onboarding may not always be top-of-mind for recruiters and hiring managers, it is an essential part of maximizing your retention KPIs and holding on to your brightest talent long-term. Reduce turnover and improve employee engagement by investing time and capital into this vital component of a thriving employer brand.

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Julie Briggs

Julie Briggs is an independent business and HR blogger based in New York City. She is a 2011 magna cum laude graduate of Purchase College with a bachelor's in Sociology. Her career has spanned internationally and across a diverse array of industries. She specializes in human capital, recruiting, leadership, and employee engagement.

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