Onboarding is a trending term in the world of HR, but not everyone knows what it is or how to do it.

What is Onboarding?
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, “Onboarding is the process by which new hires get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization.” Onboarding takes training and orientation programs to the next level. Unlike a traditional orientation program, onboarding is a systematic process that extends well beyond the first day of employment. The goal of the onboarding process is to cultivate a long-term relationship between the employer and the employee while fostering a feeling of belonging and an affirmation of making the right choice.

Why is Onboarding Important?
A study published in the Academy of Management Journal, found that the first 90 days of employment is a pivotal time period for employees to build rapport with a company, its management and their co-workers. Furthermore, according to a study by the Wynhurst Group, when employees go through structured onboarding, they are 58 percent more likely to remain with the organization after three years. When you share your company’s goals and values with your employees while simultaneously showing them how to do their jobs, everyone benefits.
How Employers Can Incorporate Onboarding
Employers may want to try to forget what they know about traditional new-hire training and orientation when hiring a new employee. The following steps can help employers create their own onboarding programs:

  1. Pre-board new hires by alleviating any stress that accompanies first-day jitters. Send a welcome letter or email along with essential HR forms, information about the company and any other useful first-day information.
  2. Be realistic about the job description. Companies that are more honest about their job descriptions have 50 percent less turnover than those that aren’t so forthcoming.
  3. Foster the manager/employee relationship from Day 1. Successful employees trust their managers and feel comfortable asking them for guidance. The first day is a good opportunity for managers to meet with their new hires, introduce them to other team members, take them out to lunch and make them feel comfortable.
  4. Consider a mentoring program. Assigning mentors to new hires can be highly advantageous to both parties. New hires know who to contact with questions, and mentors develop confidence and pride in their jobs.
  5. Communicate management expectations early on. It is important for the manager to communicate the department’s goals, as well as how the goals are tracked. This ensures that new hires feel like they are set up for success.

Benefits of Onboarding
An effective onboarding program provides employers with a solid starting point during which they can communicate their values to their employees and explain why they do what they do. It also helps new hires easily assimilate into company culture. An employee who has gone through a positive onboarding experience helps build a positive reputation for his or her company among talented job seekers.

Every business is different, so there isn’t one right way to handle the onboarding of new hires. Create a process that works best for your organization.

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