4 Steps to Build a Great Onboarding Process

The first few months of employment are crucial to a new employee’s future at a company. Previous research has shown that employee turnover in the first 45 days could reach 20%. That means that 1 out of 5 employees quit within their first month and a half in the new job.

If you are running your own business or working in the HR department of a company, you know how many resources (time AND money) go into hiring a new employee. And if your new hire leaves before they have even properly started – well, that means that you will have to put in the resources AGAIN to find a replacement.

While making sure that you are hiring the right people to the right roles is crucial, there is another factor that can help you make your new employees successful and reduce new hire turnover: a carefully crafted onboarding process.

An onboarding process that fits your company’s needs and culture and focuses on setting your new employees up for success from day one can help you reduce the risk of new hire turnover. Here are four basic steps to follow when building your onboarding process:

1. Set Your Goals

Just like any strategic plan, your onboarding program needs clearly defined goals. The goals of your onboarding boarding need to fit in your overarching, long-term talent strategy.

When setting your goals, you might want to review your current employee retention data. How long do your employees stay with you, on average? Why do they leave (you know this if you conduct offboarding interviews)? What is the current turnover rate within the first 30, 45, and 90 days of employment? Reviewing the data will help you understand what issues might be causing employee turnover and how your onboarding process can help you solve them.

2. Get Feedback from Your Team

No one knows better the pros and the cons of your onboarding process (or the lack thereof) than the people who have been through it – your current employees. Before starting to build your onboarding program, gather feedback from your team to understand what they liked about their onboarding process, what they were missing, and what they would add to it.

In addition to just collecting feedback from your employees, you could involve them in the process of building the new onboarding program. You could organize for example a series of workshops for generating new ideas and invite all the employees who are willing to participate. In addition to getting valuable insight straight from the users of the onboarding program, involving your employees in strategic projects shows them that you value their opinion and input.

3. Build and Document

Once you have set your goals and gathered feedback and generated ideas, you will need to organize all the information and put it together into a consolidated process. You will need to think what are the steps and actions in your process that help you reach your goals, when they are going to take place, and who is responsible for them. For this task, you are going to need someone detail-oriented and process-driven to make sure that the entire process follows a logical order and gets documented correctly.

Documenting your new onboarding program is important so that you make everyone involved in it accountable for implementing the process. Ideas are easily forgotten unless your detailed and documented process explains what actions are taking place throughout the process, when, and who is responsible for them.

4. Implement, Measure, and Adjust

When you have clearly documented your onboarding program, it is time to implement it. Make sure that everyone involved in the process understands what their role is and set up a way to track all the actions throughout the process. This could be done for example with the project management tool that you use.

Once you have implemented the process, you will have to measure the results and make necessary adjustments. Gather regular feedback from the new employees that participate in the program. You will also want to analyze the retention data to detect any changes on employee turnover. Measuring the results of your new onboarding program periodically will help you to identify any issues early on and to make the necessary changes.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to onboarding processes and many companies make fundamental mistakes when onboarding new employees. To avoid new hire turnover, you will need to build an onboarding program that fits your organization and sets your new hires up for success from the beginning. At The Happy Works, we help you to design the right onboarding program for you. Set up a free first call here!

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

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