If a manager is lucky, then an employee will provide ample notice when submitting their resignation, allowing for the opportunity to hire a replacement and cross-train before the position becomes vacant. Unfortunately, this scenario is rarely realized. More often than not an outgoing employee will give two weeks’ notice or will be fired on the spot for infractions.
This, of course, leaves an employer scrambling to find a suitable candidate for the position. In the meantime, other workers are taking on the additional burden, or work simply isn’t getting done until a replacement is hired.
In other words, an employer will want to get new employees up-to-speed as quickly as possible. This could mean truncating or even foregoing the traditional onboarding process, which includes introducing new hires to the company, integrating them into office culture, and generally making them part of the professional family.
This, however, is a mistake, and one that could be costly. No employee wants to feel like a cog in the machine, but failing to properly onboard new hires gives the impression that an employer simply doesn’t care about whether or not employees are involved or invested in the business so long as they get their work done. This hardly engenders loyalty or inspires peak performance.
To encourage productivity, loyalty, and high morale, making a strong first impression is important. Along those lines, there are several onboarding practices that can be adopted to successfully integrate new employees into an existing structure.
If new hires are going to feel like an important and valued member of the organization, they first need to meet the key players, including their direct supervisors and other members of the team they are joining. They should also be introduced to peripheral contacts from departments like HR, Finance/Payroll, and Legal, just for example – groups that all employees may have to interact with at some point.
This is also a good opportunity for relevant VPs or even the company president to perform a meet-and-greet. Even if it is unlikely that a particular employee will work directly with these high-level executives, the fact that company leadership would take the time to meet every new hire says something about how employees are valued within an organization.
New hires are going to be overwhelmed – between learning their way around the office, meeting new people, understanding the company, and acclimating to their specific job, there’s a lot of information to absorb. Every employer needs to account for this.
Although it’s not a bad idea to talk about company values and goals, as well as go over important features of policies and procedures up front, it’s best to create manuals for employees to peruse at their leisure or refer to as needed. These tools will give new hires greater opportunity to learn all they need to know about the company and how they are expected to behave.
This is perhaps the least important part of the onboarding process, although it is essential to ensuring that employees know how to do their jobs. Training should take place with employees that are vetted, knowledgeable, and patient.
Those in charge of training should also be tasked with checking in frequently during the first few weeks and months to ensure that new hires are getting the hang of things and having no problems fitting in. Onboarding definitely requires some forethought and effort, but done correctly, the process could create a corporate culture that induces loyalty and spurs performance.