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5 Steps to Onboarding Great Team Members

In Hiring Strategy — by Erin Engstrom

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Onboarding your first hires is a challenge. The most important thing at stake – especially for small organizations – is employee retention. You’ve surmounted one big hurdle by recruiting great team members. Now you want to retain them. These tips will increase the likelihood that your first employees are with you for the long haul.

Onboarding is a process, just like recruiting

In this increasingly competitive talent market, it can be difficult to retain employees for long enough before they’re poached by your competition. By creating an onboarding process, you’ll give employees the opportunity to develop a deeper relationship to the organization. They’ll feel more engaged with the mission and people of your business.  Develop the onboarding program with an idea of what you want to achieve in the end – setting business goals, establishing organizational structure, etc. – with tools that can help you get there efficiently.

Tweet This: Set goals, establish structure, achieve onboarding greatness. Read how to nail employee onboarding:

Prepare ahead of time

Your new hires expect their new organization to be ready for them. If a company’s extending a job offer, that means they should be prepared for the new person coming on board, right? Unfortunately, at too many organizations, new employees’ initial experience is improvised and disorganized. This leaves them asking themselves, ‘What have I gotten myself into?”

Tweet This: New employee experience is generally improvised and disorganized. How can we combat this? Read this:

Employee turnover statistics are sobering: 57 percent of employees who left their jobs last year did so within their first 12 months. Of these, 72 percent were gone within the first six months. Don’t waste the time of your company or a new hire during the first few weeks. You want it to be productive for everybody involved, and you can ensure this happens by getting everything ready in advance.

Set expectations from the beginning

After they’ve filled out the appropriate paperwork, met their coworkers and are fairly assimilated into the team, begin establishing expectations with your new hire. This may mean giving them a project with a hard deadline, or demonstrating the level of quality required in their work. Whatever your expectations are, make them clear sooner rather than so your new hire has a chance to grow into their role. Frequently there’s a learning curve.

Tweet This: Don’t delay delegation of responsibilities with new hires. Establish expectations early on like this:

Set milestones every 30 days for the first few months to ensure your employees are on track throughout the onboarding process. By checking in on their work, you can keep record of their integration into the company culture.

Elongate the onboarding program

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is job mastery. Day 1 all the way to day 90 should be part of the onboarding process. Break your new hire’s first three months into 30-day benchmarks. The first 30 days should be primarily dedicated to laying the groundwork of the new hire’s role and their understanding of the company. From then to day 60, managers need to take the next step by giving new employees more responsibility – either in the level of project or more tasks. At day 90, novice employees should be at least somewhat accountable for their work.

Onboarding isn’t just paperwork

Although there are always the legalities and hoops to jump through, it’s important to keep in mind that onboarding doesn’t stop at the dotted line. It’s an in-depth and involved process that requires cultivation in order to produce a successful employee. Socialization, training and bonding with coworkers are all vital to the entire onboarding process. Natalie Fix, communications coordinator at TriNet, said:

“Consider the experience from the employee’s perspective, and then make an effort to make it fun, interesting, and as simple as possible. This will help make your new employee feel valued, welcomed and excited.”

Onboarding employees, even your first 50, doesn’t have to be challenging. Following these five steps can get you on the right path to a successful onboarding program. Just remember, proper onboarding goes way beyond filling out paperwork and getting computers set up. When done correctly, your onboarding process will take months, not days. And in the end this time will be well spent because your company will grow with team members who are with you for years.

About the author
Erin Engstrom is Recruiterbox’s outreach manager. You can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Recruiterbox is considered the most user friendly hiring software on the market. If you’re ready to take your recruiting and hiring to the next level, request a Recruiterbox demo today.