Onboarding as a philosophy and a process is often viewed differently by different organizations. Some companies spend more time, energy, and effort than others and some make it more of a priority than others.
Of course, those companies that make it more of a priority and focus enjoy more success onboarding their candidates or newly hired employees. However, they also enjoy more success retaining those same employees, and that’s because onboarding is the first step of an effective retention program.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with onboarding, and there are two distinct phases associated with onboarding.
Phase 1: Acceptance to Employment
The first phase actually begins when the candidate accepts the company’s offer. The initial phase of onboarding typically involves the two-week period between the time the candidate accepts and the day they start employment. This phase is important for two reasons:
- Some hiring managers don’t realize that this two-week period is part of the onboarding process.
- Since the new employee is not physically at the company, the process becomes more difficult.
During this two-week period, the candidate must be reassured that they’ve made the correct decision. That’s because the candidate is susceptible. Their current employer might make a counter-offer to them, or if they’re interviewing with multiple companies, another employer could make an offer. There might be other factors at play, including family considerations.
To help combat this, company officials, including the candidate’s future boss, can make phone calls to the candidate to welcome them aboard and express their excitement about their hire. Organizations need to go above and beyond to make a candidate feel wanted and to assure them that they’ve made the correct decision. Even sending emails to the candidate will make a difference.
Phase 2: Start of Employment
Like the first phase, this phase involves giving the employee what they need. This includes all of the paperwork and housekeeping details associated with bringing in a new employee. The candidate should have access to everything they need to be successful at their job. This includes all hardware and software tools, a parking permit (if applicable), a map of the building, etc.
There are three ways that employees should be engaged once they begin employment during this second phase:
- They should receive any and all training that’s necessary, including what’s specific to their job requirements, as well as training that’s specific to the company itself.
- They should be interacting with as many of their co-workers as possible, especially those with whom they will be working closely. Not only will this help them to get up to speed more quickly, but it will also help them to assimilate more easily into the company culture.
- The employee’s manager should be working closely with the employee and letting them know exactly what’s expected of them, both in the short term and the long term. At the same time, they should be discussing and setting goals for the employee, once again both in the short and long terms.
Engagement holds the key to an effective onboarding process, and as mentioned above, it requires an investment of time, energy, and effort.
Those organizations willing to make that investment and fully engage candidates during both phases of the onboarding process will enjoy more success with it.
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