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12 Jan 2022

The perfect onboarding strategy for new talent

Businesses across Australia are coming to grips with the new world of remote and hybrid working. Whether your business has shifted to remote work exclusively or has employees working at home part of the time and in the office the rest of the time, one thing that has certainly changed is the employee onboarding process.

In September 2021, there were 97,200 fewer unemployed people than in March 2020 and the unemployment rate sat at 4.6 per cent, which is the lowest it’s been for more than a decade [1]. With such a low unemployment rate, Australian businesses need to make sure they stand out from the crowd when it comes to attracting and, most importantly, retaining top talent.

This is important because 636,000 Australians have indicated that they intend to change jobs in the next year [2]. While not concerning in itself, this statistic sits against the backdrop of the so-called ‘great resignation’, which has seen 41 per cent of the global population plan to leave their current role within the next year [3]. This could mean that Australian employers are about to face significant upheaval, which will mean hiring and onboarding new staff at increased rates.

Onboarding staff successfully is about much more than just saying ‘hi’ to new colleagues. Technical introductions, important people to speak to and outlining first steps at your new workplace are all key in helping new team members assimilate into the business. Similarly, there is also more to hiring new employees than signing the paperwork. There are several aspects to consider when starting the journey of a new employee to create a sense of belonging and productivity from the outset.

A successful start to a new job determines how well an employee integrates into the team, how they find themselves within the company and how productively they end up working.

Definition: What is onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of introducing new hires into a business, but that definition doesn’t just mean the first day at work. Many companies take it to mean the entire period from signing the contract to the end of probation.

Aims of employee onboarding:

When business leaders are looking to onboard staff, there are a number of aims to keep in mind. These include:

  • Ensuring new hires feel well received and integrate quickly into the team.
  • Providing opportunities to network and quickly making new contacts including across different departments.
  • Encouraging new hires to fulfil their work-related and personal expectations at the workplace and are neither overworked nor under-burdened.
  • Ensuring that new employees are retained and think back fondly on their first day and first impressions of the business.

What phases of the employee onboarding are there?

A well-structured employee onboarding process can be divided into three phases: the preparation phase; the orientation phase; and the integration phase.

The preparation phase begins before the first day at work. Most people remember their first day for a long time afterwards and it can inform their overall perception of an organisation. Therefore, the first day at work should be a positive experience for new hires, providing an opportunity for leaders to ease any anxieties new employees may have.

When a new hire enters the company, the orientation phase begins. New employees must find and understand their place within the corporate structure and be integrated into the team, so that they feel personally welcomed.

The final phase of employee onboarding is full integration into the business. During this phase, new hires internalise a company’s values and encourage them to identify more closely with their own work at their new workplace, a significant factor for employee retention.

Preparation phase: creating the right conditions

To reduce any potential anxieties for new staff, certain tasks on the onboarding checklist need to be ticked off before the first day at work:

  • New hires must be informed in advance about how their first day will proceed and are given information about dress code at the workplace.
  • Reception should be informed about new staff members and should welcome them accordingly. They should also know which team new hires belong to and take them there.
  • The new workplace should be ready to use, clean and friendly. This includes complete, functional technical equipment. The paperwork that the payroll team needs should also be ready.
  • A welcome package should ideally include information about the company’s mission statement, an organisational chart, and an induction plan. Some companies even include a small welcome gift.
  • For workers looking to start a remote working role, a breakdown of key events during the day will assist in timekeeping and provide a structure to the day.

Orientation phase: personal welcome

The first few weeks at a new workplace aren’t just about getting work done but introducing new hires to the team and setting them up for success in the company. Some more personal actions that can be taken to improve the orientation experience could include:

  • A tour of the company and key products to give new hires an overview of the entire working environment.
  • Providing new employees with an opportunity during the onboarding process to get to know members of management and all the departments in person.
  • Inviting employees to lunch together will help them get to know their new team. It is especially important that their immediate managers are included in this process.
  • A mentor serves as a constant point of contact and can guide new employees to anyone else they might need to speak to. This will help them get to grips with their work and their new subject area.
  • A manager acting as a coach is always much better at conveying a company’s aims and philosophy than a set of guidelines.

Integration phase: identifying with the company

Once the trial period comes to an end, it’s important to define aims for the development of new staff in an induction plan. Plans like this can give staff members a goal to work towards that is achievable and can be acknowledged by their managing teams.

Additional developmental opportunities such as team building, training, and offers of an internal exchange of knowledge will make the company more attractive to any employee and actively increase the chances of new talent retention.

The HR department should also be open to questions from new hires on the first day. Their feedback about the onboarding process will help to evolve into the best version of itself.

Advice for a smooth beginning

A good onboarding strategy does not take a lot of money; however, it does require time and organisation to execute well. An induction plan helps to define all the important principles as well as clear responsibilities for everyone involved in the onboarding process, while checklists and schedules will keep important tasks front of mind and ensure that onboarding activities are sensibly organised.

Additional onboarding software can help those responsible for human resources and other managers with the process of integrating new employees. From shared calendars to eLearning applications, these additional tools let existing and new staff members increase their knowledge and participate actively in the onboarding process.

Most importantly, businesses must remember that people are all different and will learn at their own speed. It may take more time for some and less for others to wrap their head around new processes, so the onboarding process should be flexible enough to allow everybody to participate.

Find out how Konica Minolta can help you achieve the perfect induction.

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