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Onboarding: It Lasts More Than a Day

In an increasingly competitive hiring environment, employers spend a great deal of time and resources trying to find the right candidates and convince them that their company can provide the best career opportunity. As a result, many companies invest in recruiting technologies that offer a simple, streamlined and all-around less cumbersome application process in order to deliver a more positive and rewarding candidate experience. However, after such a smooth recruiting process and hearing nothing but great things about the company, new hires who accept offers of employment are often subsequently met with a less-than-ideal onboarding experience. Most of the time, new hires are simply greeted with a slew of paperwork on their first day and not much else.

Clearly, there exists a growing disconnect when it comes to transitioning individuals from candidates to employees. One of the biggest mistakes companies can make in this regard is to end the onboarding process after the new hire’s first day. Instead, it is more effective to view onboarding as a fluid process that lasts six months to a full year after the start date. This concept is backed up by recent research showing that the vast majority of organizations believe a new hire makes the decision about whether to stay with a company within their first year of employment. However, very few companies have onboarding processes that last a year, let alone the first six months.

Rather than wowing new talent with a high-level recruiting process aided by advanced technology and followed by delivery of a flawed – and often manual – onboarding experience, companies can benefit from integrating technology into their onboarding process, too. However, technology is only part of the solution. True success will depend on using the technology to define and drive the process in a consistent manner, all the while retaining a human touch. Remember, people are the most important resource you have for guaranteeing a successful onboarding experience.

To ensure an effective, people-focused onboarding process, and build loyalty with your new hires, consider the following strategies:

  • Ensure the work station is ready to go on the new hire’s first day. This may sound silly but it’s an important and often overlooked component of the onboarding process.
  • Socialize the employee by introducing him or her to new colleagues. Or better yet, implement a mentoring or buddy system for new hires to help them become acclimated with the workplace.
  • Set clear expectations and discuss how their role is critical to the success of the entire organization.
  • Ensure managers are actively involved in the experience to make new hires feel valued as important additions to the team.
  • Discuss advancement opportunities up front so new hires can feel they have a future with the organization.
  • Ensure that learning and development are part of the onboarding process.
  • The process should be consistent for all employees
  • And lastly, understand that the onboarding process should last at least the first 90 days, but it will be much more effective at six months to a year.

>> Five Steps Toward Successful Onboarding Technology Implementation <<

Onboarding technology is one of the most misunderstood and undervalued solutions available, and most of that confusion stems from the fact that employers rarely extend the onboarding process beyond an employee’s first day. Onboarding needs to be viewed as more than just filling out paperwork, but rather as welcoming a new member onto the team. Understanding that onboarding is a people-focused process that requires an investment of time, and recognizing how technology can help to facilitate – but not substitute for it – is necessary. Once that happens, the company will benefit from a successful onboarding process that engages employees from their very first day.