Onboarding: An easy way to add value

Onboarding: An easy way to add value
Posted Thursday April 7th, 2011

If no one else is leading the onboarding process, why not do it yourself?


The other day, we posted an article about how recruiting is changing, and how today's recruitment professionals face both great opportunities (to become recognized as more strategic players) and great challenges (delivering demonstrable ROI).

One great way to do both?  Grab the reins of the onboarding process.


Onboarding is the most crucial factor in the success of a new hire

The right onboarding process can make a huge difference in the long-term performance of a new hire:  Leverage a new employee's initial enthusiasm and excitement while setting high standards, and you'll end up with a fantastic long-term employee.  Dampen that initial enthusiasm at 9:05am on their first day, and you never get it back.


Ultimately, the new hire's long-term performance reflects on you

You're probably being measured on cost-per-hire and quality of hire.  Keep in mind that a great onboarding process will reduce cost-per-hire (by reducing turnover) while increasing quality of hire (by ensuring that a new hire hits the ground running and starts making a contribution quickly).

Which means that taking some time to create and help deliver a fantastic onboarding program won't just make the new hire look good - you'll look like a rockstar, too.  It's a good way to demonstrate you see the big picture, and aren't just approaching the recruiting process transactionally.


It's easier than you think!

Creating positive onboarding experiences isn't difficult - it just requires a little thought and a little advance preparation.  Here's how to make sure your new hire has a great first day:

1.  Create a checklist, and start getting it ready as soon as you have a start date for the new hire

Include everything from computer password and operational workstation to assigning an official greeter (which may be you). 

2.  Create a first-day schedule and make sure everyone has it in their calendars

Speak to the new hire's manager about what s/he plans to do on the first day.  Develop an hour-by-hour schedule, assigning specific 'minders' to each hour.  Then - since your office probably uses Outlook or some other scheduler - make sure these times are in everyone's calendars. 

2.(b) Make sure there's a lunch plan!

There is nothing more uncomfortable than being in a new job and watching your new co-workers leave for lunch without inviting you along, or feeling awkward because you don't know whether to eat at your desk or get a sandwich or what.  So make sure you have a lunch plan for the new hire, even if it's just an invite to Starbucks to get a sandwich.

3.  Assemble the relevant materials

This may include a company handbook, marketing materials, security manuals, health and safety guides - whatever.  Get them all together in one place (either ready on the new hire's desk or on their desktop).  It's hard for a new employee to get the hang of a new job if everyone keeps saying "Oh, yeah, I should get you that handbook - remind me next week..."  (Don't forget to include the company social media policy!)

4.  Have business cards ready

Demonstrate that you're willing to invest in a new hire, and you'll find they'll be quick to return the favour.  Business cards aren't expensive, but they make a big statement, and make a great impression.  (And if your new hire isn't worth the $50 - or less - the cards will cost you, you shouldn't have hired them in the first place.)

5.  Create a "wow factor" moment

Ad agencies often give new hires a gift bag filled with products from the clients whose advertising they handle; consulting companies often greet new hires with a flower arrangement on their desk; some recruiters we've worked with create a 'survival kit' basket containing snack foods, a Tim Horton's gift card, and maybe a company t-shirt which is waiting on the new hire's desk when they arrive.  The key here is to do something that makes the new employee think, "Wow, that was nice/cool/thoughtful!"


It's really all about setting a good example.

When you indicate to the new hire that you've invested some time, effort, and even a little money in welcoming them to their new job, you're setting a standard:  You're demonstrating that they've joined an organization that believes in going the extra mile, not being slapdash, and investing in their people because they're in it for the long-term. 

And aren't all of these the kinds of characteristics you'd like to encourage in your new employee?

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